Every seasoned electric car driver knows that once the outside temperature drops, the real-world range of an EV also takes a dip. The issue has been documented time and time again, and it’s now common knowledge that all EVs lose driving miles when it’s freezing outside.

That’s because the liquid electrolytes inside the lithium-ion cells that make up the vast majority of battery packs fitted to modern EVs can freeze if it’s very cold outside, which hinders the flow of ions between the electrodes.

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The winners and losers in Norway's winter EV range test

The Tesla Model 3 was among the electric cars that lost the most driving range when compared to its advertised figure in this year's El Prix test which was conducted by the Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF). The Ford F-150 Lightning was even worse, while the Chinese HiPhi Z stole the show and came closest to its WLTP range rating.

But, as always, not all EVs are created equal. Some do a better job than others at maintaining the real-world driving range as close as possible to the advertised figure. And here’s where the Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF) comes in, with what it claims to be the world’s largest EV range test.

Dubbed El Prix, this year’s edition of the test included no fewer than 23 battery-powered cars which were then driven until their high-voltage batteries ran out of juice. And if you know anything about Norway, it’s that it’s usually cold, especially in the winter, when the driving range of electric cars takes the biggest hit.

Among the cars tested this winter were the facelifted Tesla Model 3 (Highland), Ford F-150 Lightning, BMW i5, Hyundai Ioniq 6, Kia EV9, and Toyota bZ4X. But names like the HiPhi Z, Nio EL6 (also known as the ES6), and BYD Dolphin were also in the group, making for a very diverse pool of EVs.

The winter range test was conducted on January 31 when the ambient temperature was between 28.4 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 to -10 degrees Celsius).

None of the cars managed to reach their advertised range figures, but some lost fewer miles due to cold weather than others. The winner of the range test was the Chinese-made HiPhi Z sedan, which traveled 324 miles (522 kilometers) before it ran out of charge–a 5.9% drop compared to its WLTP figure of 344.8 miles (555 km).

HiPhi Z during the 2024 El Prix winter range test (Source: NAF)

HiPhi Z during the 2024 El Prix winter range test (Source: NAF)

The Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, has a higher WLTP rating of 390.8 miles (629 km) but fell short by 29.9% after driving for 274 miles (441 km) before its battery was depleted. That said, the car that had the highest deviation from the official rating was the Volkswagen ID.7, which drove for 257 miles (414 km) before having to retire–a 31.9% drop from its WLTP rating of 377.8 miles (608 km).

The Toyota bZ4X, Volvo C40 Recharge, and Polestar 2 Long Range were close behind. The Japanese crossover saw a 31.8% drop in range, driving for 194.8 miles, while the C40 covered 245.4 miles in the test, which amounts to a 30.9% decrease. The Polestar 3 drove for 30% fewer miles than its advertised WLTP figure of 381.5 miles and ran out of juice after 267.1 miles.

The Ford F-150 Lightning saw a decrease of 21.3%. Its battery died after driving for 209.7 miles (337.5 km), while the WLTP rating is 266.5 miles (429 km).

Some of the EVs that were tested during the 2024 El Prix winter range test (Source: NAF)

Some of the EVs that were tested during the 2024 El Prix winter range test (Source: NAF)

During the range test, NAF also measured the energy consumption of all the vehicles and compared them to the advertised figures. Here, most of the cars sipped more energy than the brochures mention, but there were some EVs that managed to beat the advertised energy consumption.

The NIO EL6 SUV (also known as the ES6) was the best at this, consuming 9.5% less energy than advertised, followed by the NIO ET5 Touring wagon with 7.9% and the Kia EV9 with 3.9% less energy consumed per 62 miles (100 km). On the other side of the spectrum is the F-150 Lightning pickup, which munched through 49.2% more kilowatt-hours per 62 miles than the official rating in Norway.

Here’s the list with all the participating EVs and their results:

Model WLTP range in km (miles) Range in the El Prix test in km (miles) Difference between WLTP and El Prix figures
Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback 515 km (320 mi) 411.4 km (255.6 mi) -20.1%
BMW i5 505 km (313.7 mi) 443.6 km (277.3 mi) -12.2%
BYD Dolphin 427 km (265.3 mi) 339.2 km (210.7 mi) -20.6%
Ford F-150 Lightning 429 km (266.5 mi) 337.5 km (209.7 mi) -21.3%
HiPhi Z 555 km (344.8 mi) 522 km (324.3 mi) -5.9%
Hyundai Ioniq 6 614 km (381.5 mi) 467,8 km (290.6 mi) -23.8%
Hyundai Kona electric 454 km (282.1 mi) 341.3 km (212 mi) -24.8%
Jeep Avenger 395 km (245.4 mi) 286 km (177.7 mi) -27.6%
Kia EV9 505 km (313.7 mi) 441.9 km (274.5 mi) -12.5%
Lotus Eletre 530 km (329.3 mi) 464.6 km (288.6 mi) -12.3%
MG4 Trophy Extended Range 520 km (323.1 mi) 399.6 km (248.3 mi) -23.2%
Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 491 km (305 mi) 399 km (247.9 mi) -18.7%
NIO EL6 (ES6) 529 km (328.7 mi) 456 km (283.3) -13.8%
NIO ET5 560 km (347.9 mi) 481.4 km (299.1 mi) -14%
Nissan Ariya 498 km (309.4 mi) 369.4 km (229.5 mi) -25.8%
Opel Astra 413 km (256.6 mi) 296 km (183.9 mi) -28.3%
Peugeot e-308 409 km (254.1 mi) 297 km (184.5 mi) -27.4%
Polestar 2 Long Range 614 km (381.5 mi) 430 km (267.1 mi) -30%
Tesla Model 3 629 km (390 mi) 441 km (274 mi) -29.9%
Toyota bZ4X 460 km (285.8 mi) 313.5 km (194.7 mi) -31.8%
Volkswagen ID.7 608 km (377.7 mi) 414 km (257.2 mi) -31.9%
Volvo C40 Recharge 572 km (355 mi) 395 km (245.4 mi) -30.9%
XPeng G9 520 km (323.1 mi) 451.8 km (280.7 mi) -13.1%

Tesla has dominated NAF’s winter range test since 2020, but now the relatively unknown HiPhi Z, which is made by a newcomer in the EV world, has performed better than the American automaker’s cheapest offering. Is this a sign of things to come stateside or maybe it’s just a one-off? Let us know in the comments section below.

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