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Tesla Model 3 aces energy efficiency test but battery consumption jumped 72% on the cold highway drive

The Model 3 scored 21.1 kWh/100km efficiency in the Highway Test (image: Green NCAP)
The Model 3 scored 21.1 kWh/100km efficiency in the Highway Test (image: Green NCAP)
Tesla's Model 3 outran the flagship Chinese NIO ET7 sedan when it came to energy draw efficiency during the European Green NCAP testing. When the tests were in cold weather, though, the efficiency of all participating EVs dropped precipitously.

After the European NCAP tests awarded their top crash safety score to Tesla's Model Y, now is time for the Model 3 to shine by climbing at the top of the Green NCAP efficiency rating. The Tesla Model 3 managed to maintain the smallest power draw from its battery when compared with two other electric vehicle peers, including NIO's flagship ET7 sedan which is now sold on the European market.

The Model 3 scored a total of 9.6 out of 10 possible points in the energy efficiency category, part of which could be due to its better drag coefficient and the smaller size of its body that seems to have a narrower frontal area than the other electric vehicles that underwent testing at the same time.

Tesla Model 3 managed to return an impressive 21.1 kWh of power draw from the battery for 100km (62 miles) driven on the warm Highway Test. The cold test in -7 degrees Celsius, however, became even more challenging than the warm one, and the Model 3's energy consumption increased rather dramatically by 72% when all the cabin and battery heating controls kicked in. The NIO ET7 exhibited similar efficiency drop on the cold Highway Test, effectively reducing its 580km (360 miles) WLTP range on a charge to 340km (211 miles) in the same driving conditions.

According to the Secretary General of Euro NCAP and Green NCAP Dr. Michiel van Ratingen, these stellar efficiency ratings of electric vehicles are very encouraging, but automakers need to make EVs cheaper and better equipped against range drops in cold weather:

This latest round of Green NCAP testing clearly proves that electric vehicles are an excellent consumer choice in the quest for ensuring a cleaner and more sustainable environment. They score far higher than those with conventional powertrains. However, affordability is still a challenge. We call on manufacturers to further improve the efficiency of cabin heating in winter conditions, as this is shown to have a significant impact on driving range. The efficiency of the on-board charger constitutes a hidden cost for consumers and here the industry also needs to strive for higher numbers.

Chinese regulators recently asked local EV makers to improve the low-temperature range of their cars, too, so it remains to be seen if the efficiency drop in winter could be made more palatable in the future.

The Green NCAP organization changed their ratings scheme drastically for 2022 to account for the growing market share of new electric vehicles, and says that "while the Clean Air Index, rating the pollutant emissions, and the Energy Efficiency index, representing the energy consumption, continue being assessed on a 'Tank to Wheel' basis, the Greenhouse Gas Index is now considering the sum of tailpipe and upstream emissions."

In any case, there is only one electric car model in its overhauled 2022 ranking that is more energy-efficient than the Model 3 - the Dacia Spring EV - though it comes with a much more modest performance specs, inferior trim, and a smallish 33 kWh battery. The same could be said for the fight of Tesla Model 3 vs NIO ET7, though, as the Chinese performance sedan with its size, acceleration, and 644 HP output, is more of a direct competitor to the Tesla Model S rather than the midrange Model 3.

Still, Tesla is known for producing some of the most power-efficient electric cars out there which lets it brag with ranges on a charge roughly equal to electric vehicles that sport much larger batteries, so the latest Green NCAP scores are not without merit.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 11 > Tesla Model 3 aces energy efficiency test but battery consumption jumped 72% on the cold highway drive
Daniel Zlatev, 2022-11- 8 (Update: 2022-11- 8)