Autos

Some top electric cars miss quoted battery ranges by almost a THIRD


Even some of the best-rated electric cars on the market today are missing their claimed battery range figures by almost a third, according to real-world test results revealed on Wednesday.

A test of ten of the latest EVs in showrooms revealed that some fell just 3 per cent short of the quoted ranges, while others missed theirs by as much as 29 per cent, according to What Car? magazine.

While a new £25,000 Fiat 500 was furthest shy of its official range in terms of percentage points, a £50,000 Ford Mustang Mach-e – which has a tested range 20 per cent less than advertised – posted the biggest disappearance of miles.

With a claimed range of 379 miles and calculated real-world measurement of 302 miles, it means 77 miles is wiped off what the sales brochure says it can do on a full charge – that’s around the same distance to drive from London to Southampton.

Electric cars tested: On average, these 10 highly-rated battery-powered vehicles fell 14.8% short of their official quoted ranges when driven under real-world conditions, according to new figures published on Wednesday

Electric cars tested: On average, these 10 highly-rated battery-powered vehicles fell 14.8% short of their official quoted ranges when driven under real-world conditions, according to new figures published on Wednesday

The tests were conducted as part of the auto title’s Electric Car of the Year Awards 2021.

Topping the test was the ultra-expensive Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus.

It was voted the Best Electric Performance Car, but doesn’t come cheap, setting buyers back a whopping £88,710.

What Car?’s test team found it could cover 281 miles in the real world, which was just 3 per cent – or 9 miles – less than the quoted 290 miles. 

The test was conducted on closed roads on a 15-mile route consisting of 2.6 miles of simulated stop-start urban traffic, 4 miles of steady 50mph driving and 8 miles of driving at a constant speed of 70mph, to simulate motorway journeys.

Each of the 10 vehicles was fully charged and left outside for 15 hours, before being fully charged again ahead of the test. 

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The cars were then driven until they ran flat, with on-road position and driver changes at the end of each lap.

The range achieved was then compared to the official, Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) that is used by manufacturers for their quoted figures.

WHAT CAR? ELECTRIC VEHICLE RANGE TEST RESULTS
Make / Model  Usable battery size Official (WLTP) range Test range Shortfall (%) Shortfall (miles) Miles per kWh*
Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus 83.7 290 281 3.0% 9 3.4
Mazda MX-30 SE-L Lux 30 124 115 7.1% 9 3.8
Kia e-Niro 64kWh 3 64 282 257 8.5% 25 4
Renault Zoe R135 GT Line 52 238 208 12.4% 30 4
Audi Q4 e-tron 40 S line 77 308 266 13.6% 42 3.5
Volkswagen ID.3 58kWh Pro Performance Life 58 264 226 14.2% 38 3.9
Skoda Enyaq 60 58 254 207 18.3% 47 3.6
Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range RWD  88 379 302 20.2% 77 3.4
Tesla Model 3 Long Range 70 360 284 21.1% 76 4.1
Fiat 500 42kWh Icon 37.3 198 140 29.2% 58 3.8
The test was conducted on closed roads on a 15-mile route consisting of 2.6 miles of simulated stop-start urban traffic, 4 miles of steady 50mph driving and 8 miles of driving at a constant speed of 70mph, to simulate motorway journeys

The test was conducted on closed roads on a 15-mile route consisting of 2.6 miles of simulated stop-start urban traffic, 4 miles of steady 50mph driving and 8 miles of driving at a constant speed of 70mph, to simulate motorway journeys

Each of the 10 vehicles was fully charged and left outside for 15 hours, before being fully charged again ahead of the test

Each of the 10 vehicles was fully charged and left outside for 15 hours, before being fully charged again ahead of the test

The cars were then driven until they ran flat, with on-road position and driver changes at the end of each lap

The cars were then driven until they ran flat, with on-road position and driver changes at the end of each lap

The Porsche Taycan 4S beat the Mazda MX-30 SE-L Lux into second place, with that falling just 7.1 per cent short of its quoted 124-mile range – also a loss of 9 miles. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Fiat’s 500 42kWh Icon was farthest away from its official range, falling 29 per cent shy of its 198-mile WLTP figure, translating to a missing 58 miles. 

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Meanwhile, the Ford Mach-E Extended Range RWD fell 20 per cent short of its official figure, but achieved the highest outright test mileage, covering 379 miles before its battery ran out – which is 77 short of what Ford says it should do.

On average, the 10 vehicles tested achieved a shortfall of 14.8 per cent from their quoted WLTP range.

A similar test of nearly 100 petrol, diesel and hybrid cars earlier this year – also conducted by What Car? – found that the latest models with internal combustion engines are, on average, 6.3 per cent less efficient than claimed miles per gallon figures would lead customers to believe.

The £88,710 Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus (red) was able to go for 281 miles on a full battery in the real world, which was just 3% - or 9 miles - less than the quoted 290 miles and the best performer in the test

The £88,710 Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus (red) was able to go for 281 miles on a full battery in the real world, which was just 3% – or 9 miles – less than the quoted 290 miles and the best performer in the test

Fiat's new 500 in 42kWh Icon spec (costing from £25,000) was farthest away from its official range, falling 29% shy of its 198-mile WLTP figure, translating to a missing 58 miles

Fiat’s new 500 in 42kWh Icon spec (costing from £25,000) was farthest away from its official range, falling 29% shy of its 198-mile WLTP figure, translating to a missing 58 miles

A £50,000 Ford Mach-E Extended Range RWD fell 20% short of its official figure, but achieved the highest outright test mileage, covering 379 miles before its battery ran out - which is 77 short of what Ford says it should do. That's almost the same as driving from London to Southampton on the south coast

A £50,000 Ford Mach-E Extended Range RWD fell 20% short of its official figure, but achieved the highest outright test mileage, covering 379 miles before its battery ran out – which is 77 short of what Ford says it should do. That’s almost the same as driving from London to Southampton on the south coast

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: ‘Range is one of the key criteria for new and used electric car buyers. 

‘Our real-world driving test shows that some electric vehicles can get incredibly close to their quoted figures in the real world, while others are farther behind, so it’s important buyers do their research and organise test drives when considering a new electric vehicle.’ 

What Car? Electric Car Awards 2021 winners included the Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance Life, which was named Best Electric Family Car, while the Kia e-Niro 64kWh 2 – a previous What Car? Car of the Year – was named Best Electric Small SUV. Kia also took home the Reader Award, for the EV6, with this title going to the upcoming electric vehicle that What Car? readers are most excited about.

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The big-selling Tesla Model 3 took home the Best Electric Executive Car title, while BMW’s 330e M Sport was named Best Hybrid Executive Car. Skoda’s Enyaq 60 Lodge won Best Electric Large SUV. 

What Car? Electric Car of the Year Awards 2021 Winners

NEW CARS 

Electric Small Car: Fiat 500 42kWh Icon

Electric Family Car: Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance Life

Hybrid Family Car: Audi A3 40 TFSIe Sport

Hybrid Estate Car: Skoda Octavia iV Estate

Electric Small SUV: Kia e-Niro 64kWh 2

Hybrid Small SUV: Volvo XC40 T4 R Design

Electric Large SUV: Skoda Enyaq 60 Lodge

Hybrid Large SUV: Ford Kuga 2.5 PHEV ST-Line

Electric Executive Car: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

Hybrid Executive Car: BMW 330e M Sport

Hybrid Luxury SUV: BMW X5 xDrive45e

Electric Performance Car: Porsche Taycan 4S

Hybrid Performance Car: Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

USED CARS

Used Electric Small Car: Renault Zoe

Used Electric Family Car: Nissan Leaf

Used Hybrid Family Car: Hyundai Ioniq

Used Hybrid Estate Car: Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate

Used Electric Small SUV: MG ZS EV

Used Hybrid Small SUV: Mini Countryman PHEV

Used Electric Luxury SUV: Jaguar I-Pace

Used Hybrid Luxury SUV: Volvo XC90 T8

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