Tesla Has Lost Its Range Crown to a Chinese EV You’ve Never Heard Of

There were a few other poor results for independently tested car brands during the El Prix Winter 2024. Let's look at the losses in percentage terms. This way we can see more clearly how a car has not reached its WLTP range and not be distracted by the electric vehicles with the biggest batteries going the furthest.

It's also worth remembering that the cabin of every car tested by the Norwegian Automobile Association was set at 21°C (69.8°F). Also, for the sake of fairness, the temperature was set using a thermometer and not the vehicle's air conditioning system, as two cars may have different ideas of what 21°C actually is.

The HiPhi Z only achieved its WLTP range by 5.9%, making it the winner in this area as well. The Tesla Model 3, meanwhile, missed its advertised range by just under 30%, placing it in 19th place.

Polestar, VW and Volvo were surprise losers

Interestingly, the four cars that perform even worse than Tesla are the Polestar 2 Long Range (30%, a deficit of 115 miles to the WLTP figure), the Volvo C40 (30.9%, 110 miles ), the Toyota bZ4X (31.8%, 91 miles). ), and the Volkswagen ID.7 (31.9 percent, 121 miles). Simply put, the range of these cars has decreased by almost a third compared to what the manufacturer, supported by WLTP, claimed.

WLTP stands for Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure. Introduced as a global standard in 2017, it aims to mimic the way cars are driven in the real world. The test cycle consists of four parts, each with a different average speed, and all featuring a variety of acceleration and braking phases, as well as stops and starts.

The El Prix winter range test also looks at fuel efficiency, in this case using the European metric of kWh per 100 km (62 miles). The highest efficiency was achieved by the MG4 Trophy Long Range (17.9 kWh per 100 km), but as this test focuses on the performance of cars compared to their manufacturer's claims, the winner is the Nio EL6 , which reaches 20 kWh per 100 km, an improvement of 9.5 percent compared to the manufacturer's claim. Although undeniably efficient, the MG was 8.5 percent short of its manufacturer's claimed range.

The Model 3 returned 18 kWh per 100 km, but since Tesla does not publish claimed efficiency, this is difficult to contextualize. The HiPhi Z recorded an energy consumption of 23.5 kWh per 100 km, which is 15.2% more than advertised.

Drawing conclusions from this test is a nuanced process, to say the least. The range lost by an electric vehicle in cold weather is of little value to drivers in consistently warmer climates, and a car with a larger battery (like the HiPhi Z and its massive 120 kWh pack) is almost always at an advantage . Likewise, a car that goes shorter but charges faster is also beneficial, provided the local charging network is up to the task.

But positive and negative outliers still deserve your attention. The Polestar 2, Tesla Model 3, Volkswagen ID.7 and Volvo C40 all missed their WLTP range by more than 100 miles, and the Hyundai Ioniq 6, a car praised for its impressive 800-volt system architecture and its drag coefficient of just 0.21 – also struggling, with a deficit of 91 miles. Any way you slice it, a car falling 100 miles short of its claimed range is far from ideal and, as this test shows, it's not a universal phenomenon.

Estimated range winners: HiPhi, BMW, Kia and Lotus

At the other end of the scale, praise should be given not only to the HiPhi Z (its actual range is just 21 miles less than WLTP), but also to the BMW i5 (38 miles less, a gap of 12.2%), Kia EV9 (39 miles, or 12.5%), Lotus Eletre (40 miles, or 12.3%) and fellow Chinese newcomer, the XPeng G9 (42 miles, or 13.1 percent).

The next step will certainly be to ask whether tests like WLTP, plus the generally more stringent tests, Environmental Protection Agency in North America and rather more generous VSLight vehicle test cycle in China in China, are up to the task. Nils Sødal from the Norwegian Automobile Association told WIRED: “The test results show us that we need a winter WLTP for electric vehicles. We offer you an official WLTP in -7°C [19.4°F]. Unfortunately, the EU is not following up on this in the negotiations on 7 euros.” Euro 7 is a set of regulations that set a new emissions standard for new cars and vehicles sold in Europe.

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