Motorists have been warned to take the advertised ranges of electric cars “with a grain of salt” after tests revealed they are on average almost a fifth shorter than what the manufacturer claims, according to Which?
He tested 60 electric vehicles of all sizes available on the market today and found that the average range was 192 miles – 46 miles short of the “official” range of 238 miles on a full battery.
For mid-sized family hatchbacks, the average range shortfall is 54 miles, while the most disappointing cases show some cars falling 100 miles shy of their claimed ranges on a single charge.
Take EV range with a grain of salt: Consumer watchdog Which? says its independent tests show EV range is 18% shorter than ‘official’ figures
With the government planning to end sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and petrol-electric hybrids from 2035, electric cars have seen a rapid uptake in recent years.
The latest sales figures suggest that one in six new cars registered in Britain is fully electric, and there are now estimated to be around 456,000 fully battery-powered motors on our roads.
However, there are still many drivers who are concerned about the issue of range and battery drain.
which one? says customers should remember that the ranges specified by car manufacturers are achieved during the “official” WLTP (short for Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure) cycle that every production model is subjected to before going on sale.
It warns that the WLTP lab cycle has a “strong tendency to overestimate the efficiency and subsequent range of electric vehicles compared to our own tests – and this figure can vary significantly”.
So far which one? notes that their own tests are conducted in the laboratory, they also use real driving conditions on closed tracks and on the road.
Despite the record growth rate of electric car sales in recent months, there are still many who are concerned about “range anxiety”.
In total, each car is driven about 500 miles in order before the watchdog calculates an estimated range that it believes is closer to what customers can achieve.
That’s an average of 18 percent less range than what’s shown in the manufacturer’s promotional brochure and website, the report said.
The 10 electric cars on sale in the UK with the longest ‘official’ range
Want to know which electric models currently in showrooms have the longest claimed range on a single charge?
This money listed the top 10 in our guide. This will be updated as new models become available and cars on this list are reviewed.
Emily Seymour, which one? Sustainability Editor, added: “Inflated fuel economy is something petrol and diesel drivers already know, and we’ve found the same applies to electric cars.
“Our independent tests show that electric cars average 45 miles less than the official figures, with some cars losing well over 100 miles of claimed range – a real problem for those who plan to travel long distances, or for people who don’t can be charged at home.
“If you’re looking for an electric car, take the official range with a grain of salt as it doesn’t reflect real-world driving conditions.”
Some cars have been found to exceed their claimed range by 100 miles. What? says.
“When we originally tested the twin-engine ‘long-range’ version of the Polestar 2, it had a claimed WLTP range of 298 miles, but only managed 183 miles in our tests. That’s a whopping loss of 115 miles (39 percent) of range compared to the official claim,” it said.
Since then, Polestar has been rolling out wireless updates to customers through the car’s in-car system, which has since improved the car’s range.
After re-testing the same car, Which? found that the tested range increased to 247 miles. However, this is 18 percent less than the (also increased) official range of 302 miles.
Tests of an early version of the Polestar 2 showed that the range was 39% less than the official claims. The car has since received an upgrade – which is sent to existing cars ‘over the air’ – and has reduced the gap to 18%
which one? found that the VW ID.4 GTX (pictured) has a maximum range of 193 miles on a single charge. Official tests show it can travel 300 miles
which one? also found that the BMW iX SUV has a tested range that is two miles longer than what the sales brochure suggests
The performance version of the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV, called the GTX, was also found to be more than 100 miles short of the official range, with watchdog tests reaching a figure of 193 miles. VW says this car should go 300 miles on a full charge, which is 107 miles more than what? found.
However, there are some exceptions to the rule, with examples of electric vehicles exceeding the claimed range.
The BMW iX achieved a range of 382 miles, two miles more than the official WLTP figure.
“Those kinds of differences are why our independent lab tests are so important.” charity said.
|Car class||which one? the tested range is average||Official WLTP range average||The difference||The percentage difference|
|Medium/large SUV||253 miles||311 miles||-58 miles||-19%|
|Large vehicle*||229 miles||291 miles||-62 miles||-21%|
|Compact/small SUV||195 miles||235 miles||– 40 miles||-17%|
|Mid-size car*||151 miles||205 miles||-54 miles||-26%|
|Compact car*||153 miles||177 miles||-24 miles||-14%|
|City car||104 miles||128 miles||-24 miles||-18%|
|Average||192 miles||238 miles||-46 miles||-18.4%|
|Source: Which one? *mainly hatchback models|
By grouping all 60 cars into different size categories, what? found that the average family hatchback can travel 151 miles on a single charge, 26 percent (54 miles) less than the average official range of 205 miles.
Smaller EVs average 14 percent (24 miles) less than claimed range, while a small SUV is 17 percent (40 miles) less than claimed range and large SUVs are about 19 percent less.
Manufacturers do state that all official range figures – such as the official mpg advertised for petrol and diesel cars – are for comparison purposes only.
How far you can go on a single charge depends on a number of different variables, such as the temperature and which features – such as air conditioning – are used and for how long.
Battery charge will vary depending on the type of trip, conditions, driving style, vehicle load and other factors
Mike Hawes, Executive Director, SMMT
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, explains: “Manufacturers are required by law to test all vehicles with all technologies to the same official, recurring standard, the WLTP test.
“This test is regulated by government agencies, and it is these results — and only these results — that manufacturers are required to publish in any advertising communications.
“However, there will always be a difference between laboratory tests and real-world use, and between official and unofficial tests, where parameters and methodology may differ or be unclear.
“Battery charge will vary depending on journey type, conditions, driving style, vehicle loading and other factors, so WLTP is a standardized test designed to overcome these variables and provide consumers with accurate and comparable results for all vehicles. ‘
While range anxiety was a big concern with electric cars about a decade ago, the development of public charging infrastructure, shorter charging times and battery development should mean that this becomes less of an issue in the run-up to 2030.
In fact, just last month The Mercedes traveled 747 miles from Stuttgart, Germany to Silverstone on a single charge in its EV prototype called the EQXX.
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