Currently reading: Electric vehicle range test reveals up to 20% drop in winter
Winter and summer tests with identical cars show Porsche Taycan records the biggest deficit, Fiat 500 the smallest

Electric car range in winter can be as much as 20% lower than in summer, a new real-world test by What Car? and Move Electric has revealed.

The tests by Autocar's sibling titles were conducted with four identically specced cars driven to a specified route and within defined parameters for driving style at a proving ground last summer and again earlier this month to discover how lower temperatures affect electric car battery efficiency.

In the winter range test, the Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus managed 224 miles on a full charge. That’s a 20.1% drop on the 281 miles that the same model on the same-sized wheels achieved when What Car? tested it last summer.

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%).

Significantly, the test also revealed the positive impact of buying an electric car fitted with a heat pump, which reduces strain on the battery by drawing excess heat from the electric drivetrain, distributing it around the interior of the car through the air conditioning. 

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Five models equipped with a heat pump were tested and they fell short of their official WLTP mileage figures by an average of 25.4%. By comparison, five models that relied on a regular interior heater suffered an average deficit of 33.6%. 

The tests were 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 driving at a constant speed of 70mph to simulate motorway journeys. 

Winter vs summer range test results

Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus

Battery size: 83.7kWh; Summer range: 281 miles; Winter range: 224 miles; Difference: 20.10%.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range RWD

Battery size: 88.0kWh; Summer range: 302 miles; Winter range: 247 miles; Difference: 18.00%.

Skoda Enyaq iV 60

Battery size: 58.0kWh; Summer range: 207 miles; Winter range: 174 miles; Difference: 15.70%.

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Fiat 500 42kWh Icon:  Battery size: 37.3kWh; Summer range: 140 miles; Winter range: 118 miles; Difference:  15.20%.

Cars tested during winter range test

Fiat 500 42kWh Icon

Usable battery size: 37.3kWh; Heat pump: No; Official (WLTP) range: 198 miles; Winter test range: 118 miles; Shortfall: 40.00%.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range RWD

Usable battery size: 88.0kWh; Heat pump: No; Official (WLTP) range: 379 miles; Winter test range: 247 miles; Shortfall: 34.60%.

MG 5 Long Range Exclusive

Usable battery size: 57.0kWh; Heat pump: No; Official (WLTP) range: 250 miles; Winter test range: 167 miles; Shortfall: 33.10%.

Audi Q4 E-tron 50 S line Quattro 

Usable battery size: 76.6kWh; Heat pump: No; Official (WLTP) range: 290 miles; Winter test range: 201 miles; Shortfall: 30.60%.

Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD

Usable battery size: 72.5kWh; Heat pump: Yes; Official (WLTP) range: 328 miles; Winter test range: 228 miles; Shortfall: 30.40%.

Skoda Enyaq iV 60

Usable battery size: 58.0kWh; Heat pump: No; Official (WLTP) range: 249 miles; Winter test range: 174 miles; Shortfall: 29.80%.

Tesla Model Y Long Range

Usable battery size: 75.0kWh; Heat pump: Yes; Official (WLTP) range: 331 miles; Winter test range: 247 miles; Shortfall: 25.20%.

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range

Usable battery size: 75.0kWh; Heat pump: Yes; Official (WLTP) range: 374 miles; Winter test range: 281 miles; Shortfall: 24.80%.

BMW iX3 M Sport

Usable battery size: 74.0kWh; Heat pump: Yes; Official (WLTP) range: 282 miles; Winter test range: 212 miles; Shortfall: 24.70%.

Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus

Usable battery size: 83.7kWh; Heat pump: Yes; Official (WLTP) range: 287 miles; Winter test range: 224 miles; Shortfall: 21.80%.

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Comments
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martinwinlow 18 March 2022

It's a bit of a no-brainer that a much larger car (where the amount of heat the cabin loses is exponentially disproportionate to its dimensions) will lose more heat than a smaller one.  Driving an EV in winter like most people do an ICE one is going to lead to excessive waste of battery energy.  Using demisting only when needed and otherwise only using seat and steering wheel (which should be basic equipment on *any* cold-climate-based EV IMO) heaters will minimise losses and maximise range.  Of course, motorists will howl with derision at that but with an EV the days of 'free' heating are gone.  So hat, coat and gloves for winter motoring (just like we did when I were a lad) and in a car the size of the Taycan you could save as much as 50p/hour of driving (woo-hoo!)... which, of course, is one reason why they are so much cheaper to run.  Doh!

tlb 17 March 2022

The Porsche configurator on the website is pretty honest on this.  When you do your build it asks you questions about the environment you'll be driving in, and adjusts the range indication accordingly (as well as for specifying silly size wheels etc).

inkpen 17 March 2022

I notice a few winter vs WLTP figures. It's difficult to achieve WLTP in the summer, so perhaps test them again in July? Were any of these preheated while charging? For balance, how are ICE vehicles adversely affected by the cold?

Andrew1 17 March 2022
inkpen wrote:

I notice a few winter vs WLTP figures. It's difficult to achieve WLTP in the summer, so perhaps test them again in July? Were any of these preheated while charging? For balance, how are ICE vehicles adversely affected by the cold?

Andrew1 17 March 2022
People forget that ICE is vehicles have the opposite problem in warm weather. They generate a lot of heat so you are more likely to use air conditioning or have the windows down in an ICE vehicle then in an EV.
(p.s. Autocar, fix the damn quote feature)