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Real World Range Test, Efficiency, And Charging Costs For 10 Euro EVs

Editor’s Note: Our colleagues at InsideEV Italy had the occasion to gather up an eclectic group of electric vehicles for real-world range and efficiency testing around Rome. Here are the results of that comprehensive evaluation, which includes operating costs on the road as well as charging costs for public and home systems. English subtitles for the video above are available in the auto-translate settings.

Reading about the stated range of an electric vehicle is all well and good, but how does that translate to the real world? As with previous EV tests, we gathered up a selection of the most interesting zero-emission vehicles currently available to see just how far they actually go before running out of electrons.

We have chosen 10 cars from a variety of manufacturers for this range test. We’ve also picked vehicles covering a wide range of genres, thus giving us a broad platform on which to compare. The models in the test represent automakers from Germany, France, South Korea, and China, covering a wide range of price points, body styles, and performance.

To ensure a proper comparison, all vehicles were driven on the same public route at the same time of day and at the same speeds. The results all come down to the cars and not external factors.

Test Parameters

The location for this test is the Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA), known officially as the A90 motorway near the city of Rome. In our test, we traveled the perimeter route covering 68.2 kilometers (42.4 miles) in a complete circle around the city. The GRA has a speed limit of 130 kph (81 mph) which becomes 110 (68 mph) on some stretches and in tunnels. However, heavy traffic is always a fact of life around Rome, which makes it difficult to maintain posted speed limits.

The cars featured in our test all traveled with the air conditioning set to automatic mode, with the temperature set to 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) and the windows closed Drive modes were set to normal/default operation. Only the driver was present in each car.

To limit the impact of rush hour traffic jams, the test started at 11:00 AM local time. For the most part, all cars traveled in a row when able until reaching a charge state of 5 percent. At that point, the driver left the highway for the nearest available charging station to recoup energy.

For the duration of the test, all vehicles were digitally connected and monitored by LoJack satellite tracking. This allowed for real-time monitoring of speed, position, and other useful data on each car.

Test Participants

The 10 cars chosen for this range/consumption test are recent arrivals for the European market, representing a broad spectrum of zero-emission motoring. They are:

  • Ways U5
  • BMW i7
  • Kia Niro EV
  • Mercedes EQE
  • MG 4
  • Polestar 2
  • Renault Megane E-Tech
  • Skoda Enyaq Coupe
  • Smart #1
  • Volkswagen ID.Buzz

Results Based On Range

The cars in our test achieved ranges from 289 to 436 km (180 to 271 miles). The BMW i7 won for the furthest traveled before reaching 5 percent, equalling 6.4 “laps” of the GRA loop. It used 101.7 kWh of its 105.7 kWh battery pack.

Obviously, as the size of the battery increases, so does the distance traveled. However, in relation to WLTP-stated ranges, we observed deviations between 16 and 31 percent less in real-world conditions. No vehicle managed to reach its published WLTP range estimate.

The EV closest to its WLTP range was the MG 4, which used 61.7 kWh of real-world capacity to cover 357 km (222 miles). That equates to 5.2 laps of GRA, but still falls well short of the 450 km (280-mile) WLTP range. In general, our observations settled on an average range that was around 25 percent lower compared to WLTP statistics.

Results Based On Efficiency

Generally speaking, range has been proportional to battery capacity, but what about efficiency? On this subject, it’s clear there are variables other than battery capacity to keep in mind. Power consumption certainly matters, and we must measure that to thoroughly evaluate these vehicles.

Again, it was the MG 4 that led the way by using 16.4 kWh per 100 km (62.1 miles). Credit the MG 4’s dimensions and contained mass for that win. Joining it on the podium was the Renault Megane E-Tech in second with 17.7 kWh/100, followed by the Kia Niro EV with 17.8 kWh/100 km. As one might imagine, the heaviest and bulkiest cars bring up the rear. The Mercedes EQE, BMW i7, and Volkswagen ID. Buzz did not exceed 24.4 kWh/100 km.

Cars in the middle were very close together in terms of efficiency. The Polestar 2 was among the best with an average consumption of 18 kWh/100 km, just behind with E-Tech and Niro EV. The Smart #1, Aiways U5, and Skoda Enyaq Coupé RS were further back.

Operating Cost

Greater efficiency means lower costs for the same distance traveled. It should be no surprise that the MG 4 stands above the others as the most economical of the bunch. It takes 5.75 euros to travel 100 km based on a price of 0.35 euros/kWh for public charging through a subscription service such as Plenitude-BeCharge (our technical partner). By recharging at home, the price rises to 8.70 euros. 

On the other end of the scale, we once again have the heavyweights and chunky vehicles. Their lower efficiency means higher running costs, specifically 7.12 euros through subscription charging and 10.79 euros at home with the Mercedes EQE. It costs 7.75/11.74 euros for the BMW i7. The most expensive is the ID. Buzz at 8.53/12.91 euros.

* Rate 0.35 €/kWh with Plenitude-BeCharge Be Electric 500 subscription

Conclusions

Let’s start with a given. The MG 4 costs 33,990 euros whereas the BMW i7 is 150,400 euros – almost four and a half times more. Why do we point out this huge difference in price? These are obviously two very different vehicles in different categories, but our goal is to offer precise figures for a variety of models that can be considered both in context to specific categories, and across the electric automotive spectrum. Also, a big price, big batteries, and big range don’t always translate to big efficiency in the electric world.

This can come in handy when you find yourself evaluating the purchase of a new EV; understanding how weight, power, dimensions, and other characteristics – not just battery capacity – factor into range and efficiency.

Read the full article here

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