Real-life test reveals how much range EVs lose in the cold

Ro, 18 January 2023

EVs normally let you activate the cabin conditioning remotely and enter a nice toasty vehicle, but the cold weather is doing their range no favors. If you expect to get the officially rated range when its freezing outside you are in for a rude awakening. But how much should you expect to lose?

Chinese media did a comprehensive test on a bunch of popular EVs in an attempt to find that out. Obviously the test sample is skewed by Chinese cars, but it does also include plenty of international models.

Real-life test reveals how much range EVs and PHEVs lose during winter

The testing scenario includes 45 popular vehicles driven at 8-10 °C with maximum recuperation, climate control set to 25 °C in economy mode, all-season tires and eco-driving mode. There are three testing scenarios - 30 km/h in the city (100 km distance), 60 km/h (100 km distance) and 100 km/h on a highway (153 km distance). Admittedly, 8°C isn't too cold, but it's enough to show some difference between various makers and how their cars handle decreasing temperatures.

The BMW i3 eDrive 35L did exceptionally well and ranks first by retaining 80.5% (424km) of its advertised range. The Ford Mustang Mach-e GT and the Nio ET5 come in close second and third with 79.7% and 79.0% retention, respectively.

Looking at the top 14 BEVs in the list, most of them seem to be hitting 70-80% of their actual range, with the Volvo XC40 and the Arcfox aS HI ranking bottom of the pile and losing about 40% of their range.

Model kWh/100 km @ 30 km/h kWh/100 km @ 60 km/h kWh/100 km @ 100 km/h Actual range % of advertised range
BMW i3 eDrive 35L 15.6 15.6 18.8 424km
263mi
80.5%
Ford Mustange Mach-e GT 17.4 20.5 25.0 392km
244mi
79.7%
Nio ET5 100 kW 16.8 16.3 21.0 561km
349mi
79.0%
BMW iX3 18.3 17.5 21.5 422km
262mi
78.8%
Audi Q4 e-tron 40 14.7 18.1 23.2 470km
292mi
77.7%
Zeekr 001 4WD YOU 20.2 18.5 23.8 485km
301mi
74.5%
IM L7 19.2 19.4 23.6 452km
281mi
73.5%
Rising Auto R7 19.3 18.9 24.4 437km
272mi
72.1%
Nissan Ariya 87kWh 22.1 22.4 28.3 376km
234mi
70.5%
Polestar 2 LR FWD 18.3 19.9 23.1 387km
240mi
68.3%
Maxus Mifa 9 23.5 23.0 30.3 357km
222mi
66.2%
Cadillac Lyriq RWD 21.4 20.8 25.4 427km
265mi
65.4%
Volvo XC40 Recharge SR RWD 19.0 19.7 24.7 331km
206mi
60.2%
Arcfox aS HI 24.1 23.8 27.8 297km
185mi
59.3%

In most cases, there's a negligible difference between 30 and 60 km/h driving, as heating offsets the aerodynamic drag increase. As expected, the 100 km/h cruising takes a toll on the battery, with pretty much all cars going way beyond 20 kWh/100 km, except for the BMW i3, which got an impressive 18.8 kWh/100 km.

On the PHEV and EREV front, we get about 70% retention across the board in EV mode.

Model Advertised battery range Actual battery range % of advertised range
Geely Emgrand L Leishen Hi-P 100km/62mi (NEDC) 55km/34mi 54.6%
Changan Deepal SL03 200km/124mi (CLTC) 136km/85mi 68.2%
Haval H6 110km/68mi (NEDC) 73km/45mi 66.3%
BYD Song Plus 110km/68mi (NEDC) 94km/58mi 85.2%
Geely Monjaro Hi-P 245km/152mi (CLTC) 167km/104mi 68.3%
Wey Mocha 175km/109mi (CLTC) 149km/93mi 85%
AITO M5 170km/106mi (CLTC) 133km/83mi 78.4%
Lynk & Co 09 190km/118mi (CLTC) 140km/87mi 73.8%
AITO M7 200km/124mi (CLTC) 125km/78mi 62.3%
Li L8 210km/130mi (CLTC) 152km/94mi 72.2%
Li L9 215km/134mi (CLTC) 153km/95mi 71%

For more information, check out the original video. It's in Chinese, but English subtitles are available.

And in case you didn't find your car on the list, we offer a nifty tool that estimates real-world EV range in a wider range of weather conditions (all the way down to -30 °C) and speeds. It also has more vehicles offered in Western markets.


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Reader comments

Yeah, as stated in my previous post, not true. Probably the most range affecting things in winter are heating and lack / massive reduction of regenerative breaking ... and winter tires ofc. Battery output performance is the least of the winter p...

battery performance degrates at cold. plain and simple. yes,the characteristics are the same as expected.

True ... true, every smartphone has 70 kWh battery, own dedicated cooling/heating system, HVAC, inventors, recuperation ... basically the same thing.

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