As the budding EV continues to grow, concerns over range remain ever-present. While new electric vehicles are boasting more and more range from a single charge, a new report demonstrates that some of the quoted figures may be distorted.
According to a report from Car and Driver, all-electric vehicles, on average, underperform on real-world highway tests relative to EPA figures. In comparison, ICE-powered vehicles generally return similar efficiency figures relative to EPA estimates. In an effort to explore this phenomenan, a recent test on fuel economy was performed. In this test, ICE-powered vehicles generally returned four percent better efficiency as compared to EPA figures, while EVs fell short by as much as 12 percent.
So why the discrepancy? While separate city and highway ranges are calculated in secret, the combined range is what a customer sees on the window sticker of electric vehicles. Often times, this combined figure weighs city driving – where EVs are more efficient – higher than highway driving.
“There’s a balance,” Car and Driver‘s testing director Dave VanderWerp was quoted as saying. “The marketing team wants to tout a big range number, but to customers you want to be conservative. This leads to different approaches from various brands. The German automakers – BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Porsche – typically provide a relatively conservative range figure, allowing us to meet or even at times exceed the range numbers in Car and Driver‘s real-world tests. Tesla, meanwhile, pursues an impressive figure for its window stickers, and ends up returning real-world results that are on average two times as far off the label value as most EVs. A range discrepancy between EVs from different companies might not be as extreme as the numbers would suggest. 400 miles of stated range for a Tesla and 300 miles for a Porsche is pretty much the same number at real highway speeds.”
There are two notable suggestions that could help reduce this inconsistency. Firstly, the EPA could shift its reduction factor closer to 0.6, which would allow estimates to be closer to real-world applications. Secondly, the EPA could mandate a universal testing procedure for range estimates to create an even playing field among automakers, including General Motors.