German magazine compares real-world electric-car ranges, efficiencies in cold weather

Opel Ampera-e

Opel Ampera-e

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It's 41 degrees F outside. Your electric car, rated for 100 miles, has been charging all night in the cold. Ahead of you lies a 80-mile drive.

How confident are you that you'll make it to your destination? What if you want to set your climate control to a comfortable 70 degrees F?

Germany's AutoBild wondered the same thing, so it gathered some of Europe's most popular battery-electric cars for a test of range and efficiency in near-freezing temperatures.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf: weekend drive report and range test

In the forest around Delmenhorst, in Lower Saxony, Germany, AutoBild laid out the test: The route would take testers 143 kilometers (88 miles) in mixed city and highway conditions at speeds up to 130 km/h (80 mph).

All vehicles were given a full charge, had their cabins pre-heated with climate control and air conditioning left running at 21 degrees C (70 degrees F), and drivers would use seat heaters for 20 minutes if available.

Additionally, all cars would run with low beams on and be left in their default or "normal" driving modes.

Volkswagen e-Up! - 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

Volkswagen e-Up! - 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

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In all, AutoBild tested eight EVs: the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Kia Soul EV, Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (the passenger-van version of the e-NV200 electric delivery van), Opel Ampera-e (nee Chevrolet Bolt EV), Renault Zoe, Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, Volkswagen e-Golf, and Volkswagen e-Up.

All those vehicles are rated for ranges of at least 160 km (100 miles) on the relatively optimistic NEDC test cycle.

Of the eight contenders, three did not finish.

The worst offender was the Volkswagen e-Up, which came up short with a range of just 79 km (50 miles) from its 18.7 kilowatt-hour battery.

READ MORE: Tesla Model 3 Long Range electric car tested by Motor Trend

It was also the second least efficient vehicle of the bunch at 23.7 kwh/100 km (2.62 miles/kwh).

Other non-finishers were the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (17.6 kwh) and the Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (24 kwh).

The Smart drove 5 km more than the e-Up—84 km (52 miles)—because it was more efficient with a score of 21.0 kwh/100 km (2.96 miles/kwh).

Perhaps not surprising, the largest vehicle was also the least efficient, as the Nissan drove 101 km (63 miles) for an efficiency rating of 23.8 kwh/100 km (2.61 miles/kwh).

2018 Hyundai Ioniq

2018 Hyundai Ioniq

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was the 60-kilowatt-hour Opel Ampera-e (Europe's version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV) that had the longest legs with a range of 273 km (170 miles).

However, it was the Hyundai Ioniq Electric with the best efficiency of the bunch, scoring 14.6 kwh/100 km (4.26 miles/kwh).

Notable absences from the test are mentioned by—namely the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Tesla Model 3—which could have swung the results in this driving competition.

See the table below for full results:

Electric car



Volkswagen e-up (18,7 kwh)

79 km

23.7 kwh/100 km

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (17,6 kwh)

84 km

21.0 kwh/100 km

Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (24kwh)

101 km

23.8 kwh/100 km

Kia Soul EV (30 kwh)

167 km

18.0 kwh/100 km

Hyundai Ioniq Electric (28 kwh usable)

192 km

14.6 kwh/100 km

Volkswagen e-Golf (35,8 kwh)

208 km

17.2 kwh/100 km

Renault Zoe (41 kwh)

244 km

16.8 kwh/100 km

Opel Ampera-e (60 kwh)

273 km

22.0 kwh/100 km


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