Despite all the benefits a heat pump presents for EVs, Volkswagen and Ford do not put them in all their EVs. They have claimed it does not bring that much benefit to energy efficiency. However, Green NCAP begs to disagree with that. Part of the answer is on the energy efficiency score the VW ID.3 received in the entity’s latest tests: 9.6. The other part is on why that happened.
When we first covered Green NCAP, both the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Renault Zoe had only the highest scores possible in each of the three evaluated categories: clean air, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gases. That gave us the impression any EV would have the same grades. The VW ID.3 showed that is not the case.
Green NCAP tests the cars in WLTC (World-harmonised Light-vehicles Test Cycle), which is part of the procedures adopted by WLTP. More specifically, it uses the WLTC cold (engine) procedure and an ADAC road test called BAB (Bundesautobahn), which refers to German federal highways and the top speed (130 km/h, or 81 mph).
The organization does the WLTC cold engine test at 14ºC (57.2ºF) – instead of 23ºC (73.4ºF) – with the heating or AC turned on. It also performs the test at -7ºC (-17.22ºF), a condition in which the ID.3 presented a significantly higher energy demand for heating than the Kona and the Zoe.
While the Hyundai Kona had an energy consumption of 29.8 kWh/100 km, the ID.3 got 38.3 kWh/100 km. Smaller and lighter than these two cars, the Zoe had an energy usage of 27.7 kWh/100 km. Curiously, the Zoe was the least efficient one on highway tests: 29.8 kWh/100 km. The ID.3 spent only 23.8 kWh/100 km in the same tests and was the best one so far.
All cars that exceed 30 kWh/100 km start to lose points until they reach 90 kWh/100 km, which is the top limit. Vehicles that surpass such energy usage do not score in energy efficiency.
Thanks to Green NCAP, now Volkswagen has a good incentive to put heat pumps in all its MEB vehicles regardless of where they will be sold. Although they are expensive components, a large scale can bring the price down and boost energy efficiency.