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Why Electric Vehicles should come in from the Cold

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Cold weather, not such an issue for drivers in Andalucía, can reduce mileage by up to a third less than advertised an investigation has found.

Tests carried out by What Car? revealed that differences between the actual and official manufacturers range can be up to a staggering 60 miles less with a fully charged battery in winter conditions.

The biggest discrepancy, the magazine warned motorists, was found in the Funky Cat First Edition model by Chinese car manufacturer Ora. The 2022 model is a 48 kwh plug in with a 43 minute charge time retailing at around £31,800/36000€, with a manufactures stated range of 193 miles/310 kilometres. In cold weather testing it did just 130 miles/209 kilometres a reduction of 33 percent.

Renault’s Megane E-Tech 100% electric model, a 63 kwh plug in with varying charge times depending on charging point; 25 minutes rapid, 5 hours home charging station and 17 hours when simply plugged into a wall socket came a close second with a difference from stated range, 281 miles/452 kilometres of 32 percent reduction. Retails cost starting from £39,400/44700€.

The vehicle that got the closest to the advertised range was the Nissan Ariya. This writer is not sure if this was with the 63 or 87 kwh model. Manufactured at its Tochigi plant in Japan and retailing from £49,000/55400€ had a range discrepancy of just 16 percent. Range on the 87 kwh model being 304 miles/489 kilometres.

The worlds favourite by volume and reputation, the Tesla Model Y came in second with a cold weather distance reduction of 18 percent. The model Y has a stated range of 330 miles/530 kilometres with prices starting at £44,000/50000€.

The What Car? team tested a dozen electric vehicles in cold weather. All were fully charged and left outside overnight in temperatures ranging from 0C (32F) to 2C (35.6F), before being driven at a test venue on different types of roads until they came to a stop. The test team for What Car?, said; ‘More and more people own or are considering electric cars and it is important that they understand the pros and cons of this technology, especially in terms of how far they are likely to go between charges’. ‘While it is common knowledge that cold conditions negatively affects battery performance and efficiency, (especially when the car’s heating system is in use), our real range testing was designed to give car buyers the clearest understanding of how many miles they will typically be able to cover in wintry British conditions.’

Despite falling short of the official manufacturers figures it is clear that the age of the electric vehicle is with us and they do have the advantage of being cheaper to run, if charged at home, than petrol or diesel equivalents. With sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles being banned in the UK from 2030 and in Europe from 2035 this writer will be biding one’s time before starting any journey into the electric vehicle age. Not an opinion shared by all with over a fifth of new cars sold in the UK in 2022 being plug-in vehicles!

The Funky Cat by Ora

Renault's Megane E-Tech

The Nissan Ariya

Tesla's Model Y

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