Five electric cars tested in cold Norwegian winter: how did they do?

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Drivers in the parts of North America that get winter weather are deeply familiar with snow-clogged wheel wells, iced-in wipers, and weak batteries, to list just a few.

Our counterparts in Norway have exactly the same challenges in winter—but they're far further along in adopting plug-in electric cars, to slash the carbon footprint of the country's personal vehicles.

To help buyers make smart choices, the Norwegian EV Association (Norsk Elbilforening) tested five electric cars in winter weather to see how well they fared.

DON'T MISS: German magazine on real-world electric-car ranges, efficiencies in cold weather

The five models were the BMW i3, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, 2018 Nissan Leaf, Opel Ampera-e (nee Chevrolet Bolt EV), and Volkswagen e-Golf.

A lengthy and informative article on the Norsk Elbilforening site includes full descriptions of the tests performed, the charging routines, and what the test drivers found.

Oh, and author Ståle Frydenlund was kind enough to post it in English.

Winter testing of electric cars in Norway by the Norwegian EV Association (Norsk Elbilforening)

Winter testing of electric cars in Norway by the Norwegian EV Association (Norsk Elbilforening)

Enlarge Photo

The piece is worth reading in full, and includes video clips—we're particularly impressed by the drone footage—one of which you can see at the opening of this article, in Norwegian with helpful English-language subtitles.

The conclusion of the test drivers was that "none of the cars is best for all" drivers. The best car for an individual driver will depend on how it's used, and that buyer's tastes and desire for comfort and amenities.

That said, the "most discussed" cars during the test were the Chevy Bolt EV-derived Opel Ampera-e and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric.

READ THIS: Chevy Bolt EV electric car range and performance in winter: one owner's log

The South Korean car, the testers noted, delivered almost as much effective range in cold weather as the new-generation Nissan Leaf (despite the difference in their EPA-rated ranges: 124 miles vs 151 miles).

A further factor in the Hyundai's favor was its ability to fast-charge at up to 100 kilowatts under certain circumstances, higher than the 50-kw limit on the rest of the cars, including the new 2018 Leaf

"It is nice to drive a battery-electric vehicle that can handle the road trip without stopovers," writes Frydenlund . "But if you need to fast-charge underway, it is a massive advantage if the charging session actually is nimble."

Winter testing of electric cars in Norway by the Norwegian EV Association (Norsk Elbilforening)

Winter testing of electric cars in Norway by the Norwegian EV Association (Norsk Elbilforening)

Enlarge Photo

Regarding the new 2018 Leaf specifically, the club's test drivers were disappointed that it used considerably more battery energy than expected.

They suggested that perhaps its heat pump to keep the cabin warm was not as efficient as expected in truly cold temperatures.

CHECK OUT: Driving electric cars in winter: tips from experienced owner

The Norwegian test reached conclusions roughly similar to those of the German magazine AutoBild, which tested eight electric cars during cold weather in that country.

The magazine found the Ampera-e to have the longest range—no surprise, as it had the largest battery capacity—but the Ioniq Electric to be the most efficient, even at colder temperatures.

 
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