Winter weather can slash the claimed zero-emissions range of new electric vehicle (EV) by up to a third, according to the findings of testing conducted by What Car?.
The automotive consumer magazine found that the new GWM Ora Funky Cat – recently driven by AM – fared worst out of 12 cars tested across their full range in temperatures ranging from freezing to two degrees centigrade – suffering a 32.8% decline from 193 to 130 miles.
What Car? drove EVs including the BMW i4 GranCoupe, AM’s long-term test car the Cupra Born and the Tesla Model Y across a pre-determined 15-mile route of simulated real world driving conditions with heating systems set at 19.5 deg C to conduct the test.
Summer tests of that trio revealed that winter driving delivered an 18% hit to their driving range.
Will Nightingale, who heads What Car?’s test team, said: “More and more people own or are considering electric cars, and it’s important that they understand the pros and cons of this technology, especially in terms of how far they are likely to go between charges.
“While it’s common knowledge that cold weather negatively affects battery performance and efficiency, especially if the car’s heating system is in use, What Car?’s Real Range testing is designed to give car buyers the clearest possible understanding of how many miles they will typically be able to cover in wintery British conditions.”
The 12 EVs tested by What Car? ranged in price from £31,995 to £69,425.
Nissan’s Ariya SUV got closest to its official range, with 269 miles representing a 16% decline.
Despite the winter shortfall, What Car? concluded that EVs remain cheaper to run than their petrol and diesel equivalents, providing owners stick to home charging.
Nightingale said: “Despite falling short of their official figures, it’s still clear that many of these electric cars have the advantage of being cheaper to run than petrol or diesel equivalents assuming you can charge at home – even with the price of electricity so high at the moment.
“The most efficient, the Mini Electric, cost just 8.7p per mile to fuel. The most efficient petrol car we’ve ever tested, a Toyota Yaris, costs 11.2p a mile at today’s prices.”