By now, it’s a fairly well-known fact that electric vehicles lose range at lower temperatures. What’s not often discussed, though, is how much that deficit exactly is, and a new study aims to quantify it to provide the general public with more knowledge.
The study, conducted by electric vehicle sales website Recurrent, compared the cold-weather range of 13 electric vehicles to their range at normal temperatures. Specifically, it compared the vehicles’ operation in 20°F to 30°F weather against that of 70°F weather.
The cars they included in the study were the Audi e-tron, BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Kona, Jaguar I-Pace, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, 3, X and Y, Volkswagen e-Golf and Volkswagen ID.4.
Of the bunch, the Bolt fared the worst, its range dropping a massive 32% in cold weather conditions. Close behind it were the Mustang Mach-E and ID.4, whose ranges both dropped a significant 30% when operating at lower temperatures.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the vehicle that suffered the least was the I-Pace, with only a 3% difference between its normal range and its cold-weather range. That being said, the cold-weather range was predicted by the car’s onboard telematics rather than actually being tested, so there is a chance it could be slightly incorrect.
That is also the case for the e-tron, i3, Bolt, Kona and e-Golf, though the other seven vehicles were in fact verified by Recurrent through “a combination of onboard devices and real-time usage data."
Many of the vehicles that performed the best in the study, such as the e-tron and I-Pace, were equipped with heat pumps, which can recapture heat created by the powertrain and pump it back into the cabin to keep occupants warm rather. Bad performers like the Mach-E and ID.4 use resistance heating instead of a heat pump, which is notorious for being a large drain on the battery.
Others, like the Model 3 and Model S, did not have a heat pump on the test vehicle, but now come standard with one, which could see them perform better in future versions of the test.