Peugeot electric car plugged into a Source London EV charging point, March 2021Peugeot electric car plugged into a Source London EV charging point, March 2021


Winter weather can cut an electric car’s range by 20 per cent, finds What Car?

  • What Car? and Move Electric put electric cars through real-world winter range test
  • Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus suffers biggest drop in range with a 20.1 per cent fall from summer
  • Data finds that heat pump can significantly improve battery efficiency

Time 7:58 am, March 17, 2022

Cold winter weather has the potential to reduce the range of an electric car by more than 20 per cent, new data from What Car? has found.

The research, conducted for Move Electric, put EVs through a real-world winter range test, and then compared the results with tests carried out last summer.

It found a significant drop in range in winter conditions, with the biggest fall coming from the Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus.

In the winter test, the model managed a range of 224 miles on a full charge – a fall of 20.1 per cent compared to the 281 miles achieved over the summer.

Other models tested included the Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range RWD (which fell 18.0 per cent short of its summer figure), the Skoda Enyaq iV 60 (15.7 per cent) and the Fiat 500 42kWh (15.2 per cent).

Despite the drastic falls in range, the research However, the research found that choosing an electric car equipped with a heat pump significantly improved cold weather efficiency.

The pumps reduce strain on the battery by drawing excess heat from the electric drivetrain, distributing it around the interior of the car through the air conditioning.

What Car? and Move Electric tested five models equipped with a heat pump, with the cars falling an average of 25.4 per cent short of their official mileage figures.

By comparison, five models that relied on a regular interior heater suffered an average deficit of 33.6 per cent.

The tests were conducted on a closed vehicle proving ground, on a 15-mile route consisting of 2.6 miles of simulated stop-start urban traffic, four miles of steady 50mph driving and eight miles driving at a constant speed of 70mph, to simulate motorway journeys.

Each of the 10 cars was fully charged and left outside for 15 hours, before being plugged in again to check the batteries were still at 100 per cent for the start of the test.

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They then had their climate control systems set to 21C and were driven until they ran flat, with driver swaps at the end of each lap, and the cars’ positions also changed to ensure no car was constantly punching a hole in the air for the others.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: ‘Range remains one of the key considerations for electric car buyers, but when deciding whether a particular model can go far enough on a charge to fit into your life, it’s important to bear in mind that batteries don’t work as well in cooler conditions.’

James Attwood, editor of Move Electric, added: ‘If you do plan to push the range of your electric car in winter, we’d definitely recommend choosing one with a heat pump fitted or ticking that box on the options list, because these can significantly improve an electric vehicle’s range in cold driving conditions.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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