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Model 3 Highland vs BYD Dolphin winter range loss test pegs the Tesla as bad for cold weather

Model 3 Highland winter range testing (image: Siv Seglem/Motor)
Model 3 Highland winter range testing (image: Siv Seglem/Motor)
During an annual winter EV range test in freezing temps, the fresh Tesla Model 3 Highland facelift demonstrated a rather abysmal range loss in the cold. Its direct competitor, the BYD Dolphin, fared much better, but another Chinese EV aced the test.

Tesla has been acing the annual winter range test of the Norwegian Automotive Federation (NAF) for a good while now, buoyed by the modest range drop of its performance cars like the Model S. In last year's edition of the El Prix challenge that NAF partners with Motor magazine for, the Tesla Model S clocked the record 329 miles (530km) of range on a charge in the winter, while in the previous El Prix the winner was a Model 3 Long Range.

In the 2024 El Prix winter EV battery test, however, the new Model 3 Highland not only saw its range drop the whopping 30% in the freezing weather, but gave way to most of its direct competitors from China, including the BYD Dolphin. On paper, the new Model 3 Highland had the longest official range of all electric vehicles that took part in the testing. In reality, however, it clocked a rather high 18kWh/100km power draw during the drive in freezing temps, throwing it towards the tail end of the ranking.

Tesla's main competitor BYD that just became the world's largest EV maker last quarter, also had a participant - the BYD Dolphin - and it lost about 20% of its advertised range compared to the Model 3 Highland's 30%. KIA, NIO, XPeng, BMW, and Lotus EVs did great, only losing 12%-14% of their official range numbers in the tasking winter test with temperatures ranging from -2 to -10 degrees Celsius (28.4 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit).

The greatest surprise, however, besides the unexpected dethroning of Tesla in the cold weather range test, came from one premium newcomer, the HiPhi Z. This Chinese model, which will soon be available in the European market, turned out to be best prepared for driving in adverse winter weather. Its range dropped just 5.9% from the advertised numbers in ideal conditions, beating the second EV in the ranking twofold.

The HiPhi Z is a luxury electric sedan with a huge 120 kWh high-nickel CTP battery and quirky technology such as an active grill shutter that keeps things warm and drag coefficient low. The HiPhi Z is chock full of other premium specs and features worthy of its $113,500 price, and its future owners would be rather pleased to hear that the car is not only impressive on paper, but the advanced drivetrain delivers on its promises in real life scenarios as well.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 02 > Model 3 Highland vs BYD Dolphin winter range loss test pegs the Tesla as bad for cold weather
Daniel Zlatev, 2024-02- 3 (Update: 2024-02- 3)