Electric cars can travel up to 19 miles after range readout hits zero

5th Aug 2022

Electric cars can travel up to 19 miles after range readout hits zero

​...courtesy of Fleetworld

Electric cars can travel up to 19 miles after their range readouts hit zero, new tests from What Car? have found.

Its trials saw 10 electric cars undergo a real-world summer range test to see how far they can go in optimum weather conditions.

The contenders fell between 8.1% and 18.6% short of their official WLTP averages.

But in each case, the figure was helped by the car continuing to run for several miles after the instrumentation said there was nothing left in the battery.

The BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport went farthest on a charge and had the biggest buffer: 316 miles and 19 miles respectively.

Meanwhile, the Tesla Model Y Long Range got closest to its official figure, falling 8.1% short.

At the other end of the scale, the Cupra Born had the shortest summer range (219 miles) and the BMW iX3 the smallest emergency buffer (five miles).

Three of the cars were also involved in What Car?’s most recent winter range test, with the BMW iX3 M Sport Pro covering an extra 41 miles in summer, the Kia EV6 RWD GT-Line an extra 50 miles and the Tesla Model Y Long Range an extra 57 miles, giving an indication of how weather extremes can affect electric vehicle performance.

On average, the trio went 49 miles (21.4%) farther in the summer range test, when the air temperature ranged from 24-29deg C, than in winter, when it was 3-7deg C.

Previous research by What Car? found electric cars equipped with a heat pump lose less range when temperatures drop, with the heat pump drawing excess heat from the electric drivetrain and distributing it around the interior of the car through the air conditioning, reducing the strain on the battery.

The research suggests that range readouts are deliberately programmed to be conservative so that owners have an emergency buffer.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “The fear of what will happen if you run out of charge in an electric car continues to put many people off making the switch, but our test showed that you not only get plenty of warning, but that even when the range readout hits zero, you’ve still got plenty of time to make it to a refuge area or find somewhere else safe to stop.”


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