Revealed: how winter weather affects real-world range

17 Mar 2022

Cold weather can reduce the real range of an electric car by more than 20%, according to research by Move Electric conducted in partnership with sister brand What Car?.

Ten of the most popular electric cars in the UK were tested in a special winter real-world range test. Each car was charged to full and then run on a specially controlled route at a private facility by Move Electric and What Car? staff.

The Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus managed 224 miles on a full charge, 20.1% less than the 281 miles the same model achieved in What Car?’s summer real-world range test. 

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Other models retested included the Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range RWD, which fell 18.0% short of its summer figure, the Skoda Enyaq iV 60 (15.7%) and the Fiat 500 42kWh (15.2%).

Move Electric and What Car? also found that electric cars fitted with heat pumps achieved significantly closer to the official range in cold conditions.

The range achieved by models equipped with a heat pump fell short by an average of 25.4% from their official figures, compared with the 33.6% deficit suffered by those that relied on a regular interior heater. 

In addition, cars with heat pumps proved more efficient, averaging 3.2 miles/kWh, compared with 2.9 miles/kWh for the ones without.

The real-world test was conducted on a closed vehicle proving ground, on a 15-mile route consisting of 2.6 miles of simulated stop-start urban traffic, four miles of steady 50mph driving and eight miles of driving at motorway speeds of 70mph. 

Each of the 10 cars taking part was fully charged and left outside for 15 hours, before being plugged in again to check their batteries were still at 100% for the start of the test. 

Cars were run in normal drive mode (or its closest equivalent), and left with their default regenerative braking setting (with the exception of the Taycan, which defaults to off). Pre-conditioning wasn't allowed.

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The climate control systems were set to 21 degrees C and were driven until they ran flat, with on-road position and driver changes at the end of each lap. 

In addition to the four models that were retested, six brand new or recently updated electric cars were assessed including the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Kia EV6, MG 5, Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y.

Winter range test results

Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro S-line

Official range: 294 miles

Winter range test result: 201 miles

Winter efficiency: 2.6mi/kWh

Heat pump: No

BMW iX3 M sport

Official range: 285 miles

Winter range test result: 212 miles

Winter efficiency: 2.9mi/kWh

Heat pump: Yes

Fiat 500 42kWh Icon

Official range: 199 miles

Winter range test result: 118 miles

Winter efficiency: 3.2mi/kWh

Heat pump: No

Ford Mustang Mach-e Extended Range RWD

Official range: 379 miles

Winter range test result: 247 miles

Winter efficiency: 2.8mi/kW

Heat pump: No

Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD

Official range: 328 miles

Winter range test result: 228 miles

Winter efficiency: 3.1mi/kW

Heat pump: Yes

MG 5 Long Range Exclusive

Official range: 250 miles

Winter range test result: 167 miles

Winter efficiency: 2.9mi/kW

Heat pump: No

Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus

Official range: 288 miles

Winter range test result: 224 miles

Winter efficiency: 2.7mi/kW

Heat pump: yes

Skoda Enyaq iV 60 

Official range: 256 miles

Winter range test result: 174 miles

Winter efficiency: 3.0mi/kW

Heat pump: yes

Tesla Model 3 Long range

Official range: 360 miles

Winter range test result: 281 miles

Winter efficiency: 3.7mi/kW

Heat pump: yes

Tesla Model Y Long range

Official range: 331 miles

Winter range test result: 247 miles

Winter efficiency: 3.3 mi/kW

Heat pump: yes


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