The claimed driving ranges of four all-electric crossovers were put to the test by the non-profit organization Consumer Reports in three temperature settings to find out just how much of an impact the weather has on a battery-powered car's ability to go the distance.
The Tesla Model Y Long Range, Ford Mustang Mach-E extended range, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S were tested in the same manner by the same drivers, driven in a caravan on three different days: a frigid one, a mild one, and a warm one.
Some of the findings are barely a surprise, like the fact that an EV’s driving range suffers the most in cold climates, but one thing that stands out among the four cars is the Tesla Model Y’s inability to reach its EPA-rated range of 326 miles even when the outside temperature wasn't as low as to affect the battery chemistry.
Tesla Model Y
In the Consumer Reports test, which consisted of constant cruising on the highway at 70 miles per hour (112 kilometers per hour) on a 142-mile (228 km) round-trip, the Model Y’s calculated real-world range was down to 186 miles (299 km) in cold weather (an average temperature of 16 degrees Fahrenheit or -8 degrees Celsius).
By comparison, the Mustang Mach-E, with its official range of 270 miles (434 km), got a cold weather result of 188 miles (302 km), while the Hyundai Ioniq 5 achieved a real-world cold weather range of 183 miles (294 km), with the EPA estimate saying it could travel 256 miles (412 km) on a single charge.
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium
At the same time, the Volkswagen ID.4’s EPA-rated range of 240 miles (386 miles) was impossible to achieve in freezing temperatures, with a real-world result of 170 miles (273 km).
In mild weather conditions, with a temperature of 65 degrees (18 degrees Celsius), the ranges of all four EVs improved by about 50-70 miles, all while staying under the official figures.
In warm weather, however, with a temperature of 85 degrees (29 degrees Celsius), the same test revealed that the EPA range can be achieved or even surpassed, at least by some vehicles.
The Mustang Mach-E and the ID.4 went above their official ratings, reaching 275 miles (442 km) and 256 miles (412 km) respectively, while the Ioniq 5 fell short of the official estimate by 2 miles (4.8 km).
2023 Volkswagen ID.4 S
At the same time, though, the Model Y’s calculated range in warm weather conditions was 274 miles 441 km), quite a bit lower than the EPA estimate of 326 miles (524 km).
Consumer Reports notes that Tesla's crossover is the lightest of the four vehicles, differing by more than 500 pounds from the ID.4, which is the heaviest, and by about 200 pounds from the Ioniq 5, which has a similar-sized battery (72.6 kilowatt-hours in the Hyundai and an estimated 81 kWh in the Tesla).
To achieve the real-world range results, the organization charged them to 100 percent overnight before each run and then drove them on the same route with adaptive cruise control set at 70 mph and the widest gap available to minimize sudden braking or acceleration due to the surrounding traffic.
The regenerative braking function was also set on the lowest available setting to level the playing field.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
When the cars returned to the test center, engineers recorded the remaining range indicated by the EVs and applied the ratio of miles of range used vs. miles driven throughout the trip to extrapolate what would be the total range for that specific trip. That ratio was also checked against the miles driven per each percent of the state of charge (SOC).
Furthermore, the batteries weren't completely drained on purpose to reflect the typical user experience, as ICE-powered vehicles are also rarely driven until their fuel tanks are empty, Consumer Reports says.
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