The Tesla Model 3 has been judged the most efficient electric vehicle in a test conducted by UK magazine What Car?
The Model 3 sedan rated best in terms of energy efficiency but lost out to a juiced-up Ford Mustang E-Mach on distance travelled.
Monthly publication What Car? got together 10 of the best or newest EVs on sale in the UK to find out which one travelled the furthest on a single charge – and which ones stopped a long way from their claimed driving range.
The Mustang E-Mach (above) went 30km further than the second-placed Model 3. But the Ford was the least efficient in how it used the energy from its battery pack, in this case one with an extended range.
Of course cars with bigger battery packs tend to travel further than those with smaller packs, but the energy efficiency of each vehicle tested varied. The What Car? test team used the Millbrook proving ground in the UK, which is used by carmakers to test future models.
Each EV was driven on a 24km loop to simulate real-world driving conditions: 4km of stop-start driving, 6.5km travelling at 80km/h, and 13km at 112km/h.
Mazda’s MX-30 (above and on sale in NZ) was the first to run out of battery power, its 30kWh pack calling it quits after 185km. “It’s a strange and frustrating car, because it’s really nice to drive but has a terrible range,” said one of the judges.
The 37.3kWh battery in the Fiat 500 (not on sale in NZ) ran out of juice after 225km – “almost 30 per cent short of its driving range claim,” said a tester. Fiat claims a range of around 290km.
There was very little in range between the small Renault Zoe (52kWh) and the SUV Skoda Enyaq 60 (58kWh). The Zoe stopped after 335km and the Enyaq after 333km. The Zoe is available in NZ and the Enyaq (below) is on its way.
Judges praised the hatchback Volkswagen ID.3 (on its way to NZ) for striking the right balance between “range versus price” and for being comfortable and practical. Its 58kWh battery managed 364km. In an unrelated opinion, a tester said, “It’s just a shame the ID.3 has one of the worst infotainment systems around.”
The 64kWh battery in the compact Kia Niro SUV (below and on sale in NZ) covered 414km. It’s relatively new to NZ but has been in Europe for some time. Said a What Car? tester: “Even though it’s one of the oldest electric cars on this list, it is still one of the best.”
The Porsche Taycan, on sale in NZ, received mixed reviews. The car is available with a choice of power outputs and battery range. The test car was the most capable variant.
“The biggest shock of all,” said a tester, “was the Taycan achieving 452km, which is only 14.5km or three per cent short of its official claimed driving range.” But Taycan’s sticky tyres and heavy body and battery made it “one of the least efficient tested,” the judges noted.
Tesla’s Model 3 Long Range also impressed, finishing second ahead of the third-placed Taycan and fourth-placed Audi Q4 E-Tron. “The Model 3 edged ahead of the Taycan (below) for range and (at 6.6km per kWh, or 15.2kWh/100km) it had the best efficiency of any electric vehicle,” said one of the judges.
The Model 3 test car was also praised for going into limp-home mode later than the others, as they approached empty batteries. Judges noted the Model 3 had “by far the biggest emergency buffer, continuing to drive normally for many miles after its trip computer was reading empty, it is a truly outstanding electric car.”
Mustang’s Mach-E electric car, with its longer range battery option, travelled the furthest distance from a full charge. Mach-E is available in right-hand drive in the UK. “Ultimately it was the car with the biggest battery that won, but (at 5.5km per kWh, or 18.3kWh/100km) the efficiency was pretty much as poor as the Taycan,” said one of the judges.
“With a very unsettled ride and so-so handling, (the Mach-E) isn’t the best EV around, but in this extended range version, it certainly impresses for range.”
- Ford Mustang Mach-E (88kWh net capacity): 486km
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range (70kWh): 457km
- Porsche Taycan (83.7kWh): 452km
- Audi Q4 E-Tron (77kWh): 428km
- Kia E-Niro (64kWh): 414km
- Volkswagen ID.3 (58kWh): 364km
- Renault Zoe (52kWh): 335km
- Skoda Enyaq 60 (58kWh): 333km
- Fiat 500 electric (37.3kWh): 225km
- Mazda MX-30 Electric (30kWh): 185km