Winter EV range test pegs Tesla Model S a winner with Kia and SAIC just as efficient when cold
The Tesla Model S managed to last the record 329 miles (530km) of range on a charge in the winter driving test that a Norwegian publication does every season. The previous record holder here was a Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor version which fell a few miles short of the Model S. While Tesla has long been known to make one of the most efficient electric vehicles for cold weather in terms of range reduction, this year a number of new participants from China showed that their EVs can be just as efficient as Tesla's cars in freezing temps.
Recurrent's "research using a combination of on-board devices and real-time usage data providing more than 35,000 datapoints," for instance, recently determined that the Model 3 and Model S lose less than 20% of their range on a charge in temperatures where other EV brands and models can lose more than 30%.
The Motor magazine's winter test resulted in a similar 16.4% range reduction for the record-beating Model S Standard. The Model X Plaid fared a bit worse at 18.2% drop, which is still up there with the best of them in the test, while the Model Y's winter range fell by nearly 26%. It was the worst performer among Tesla vehicles in the winter driving run, yet its range reduction fell within the average of the 30 or so electric cars tested. As for the test's conditions, Motor magazine clarifies as follows:
We run the test with a selection of relevant cars every six months, winter and summer, following the same route: A loop through Oslo, up Rv4 to Gjøvik, from there E6 up to Hjerkinn, then east and around Rondane over Venabygdsfjellet, down to Ringebu and up E6 again. The cars are driven at the speed limit until they run out of electricity. The drivers, who are all experienced, are required to use regeneration actively and smartly. They must drive in eco mode and refrain from using driver support systems, autopilot and adaptive cruise control.
Somewhat surprisingly, however, the Chinese government's directive that EV makers solve the cold weather range drop problem seems to have already been fulfilled by the models made by the SAIC group. Of the top 5 most efficient electric vehicles in the winter test, three are made by SAIC and one of them managed to cover the winter circuit with just 10% battery range loss, beating the Model S in terms of cold weather discharge efficiency. The other member of the top 5 club is Kia with its EV6 GT whose range dropped just 17%.
While by no means a scientific test, the practical winter drive in Norway, which is at the forefront of EV adoption despite its freezing climate, confirms once again that Tesla vehicles are some of the most efficient when it comes to range reduction in cold weather, followed closely and sometimes beaten by the Chinese and Korean automaking juggernauts.