The situation is not really helped by the tests used by regulators. In Europe, the WLTP test cycle averages 29 mph (47 km / h) and generates range estimates that should be seen as mere fantasies on North American roads. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s test averages almost double, but then it goes through a fudge factor that heavily penalizes some while flattering others. That’s why it’s interesting to see the results of an independent range test of several electric vehicles that involved recharging them and then driving them at a constant speed of 70 mph (112 km / h) until they stop.
The study was commissioned by Polestar, which wanted to rank its new Polestar 2 EV against three competitors: the Tesla Model 3 Performance, the Jaguar I-Pace and the Audi e-tron. The test procedure, conducted on July 28 on a 3-mile (4.8 km) oval at Fowlerville Proving Ground in Michigan, was fairly straightforward.
Each car was brought to a 100% state of charge and set to its default drive mode with regenerative braking turned off (or in its softest setting). The interior temperature was set to 72 ° F (22 ° C), the tires were inflated to the pressure recommended on the door plate of each car, and the headlights were turned on (a test track requirement).
The cars were then driven slowly (less than 25 mph for 1.3 miles / 40 km / h for 2 km) from the muster and charge area to the oval, after which each was gently accelerated (to 0, 3G) at a GPS-verified 70 mph, and stayed there with cruise control, all traveling spaced in the same lane on the test track. Each car was driven until it could no longer maintain a speed of 70 mph due to the depletion of the battery.
Tesla’s experience shows
It should come as no surprise that the Tesla Model 3 traveled the farthest, reaching 234 miles (377 km) – 75% of its EPA range – before dropping below 70 mph. Tesla has spent more than a decade continually refining the range efficiency of its electric powertrains and dressing its vehicles in low-drag body styles, and this rich experience has shown on the test track, even when it is. fitted with 20 inch wheels and high performance tires.
The Polestar 2 was in second place, going 330 km before 70 mph was too much. Polestar is still waiting for the official EPA range estimate for the Polestar 2, but if that happens to the expected 250 miles (402 km), that would represent 82% of the car’s official range.
In fact, the company provided a pair of Polestar 2s for the test, one of them fitted (like the car we tested a few weeks ago) with the larger 20-inch wheels from the Performance Pack and sticky summer tires. Big wheels and sticky tires are the last thing you want on a car when it comes to going more miles per electron, and this penalty was displayed as a range reduction of eight miles (13 km), or about three percent, compared to the same car on 19-inch wheels and low rolling resistance rubber.
Next is the I-Pace, an EV400 HSE finish fitted with 22-inch wheels. The British EV battery traveled 302 km before mourning Uncle, 80% of its 377 km range, rated by the EPA. (Jaguar recently sent out a software update for the I-Pace that increased range efficiency up to 19 km, but that didn’t affect the official EPA range of the BEV.)
In last place, the Audi e-tron, which drove 300 km before calling it a day. The silver lining for Audi engineers, however, is that the e-tron brought it closer to its EPA lineup than any other, covering 92% of the officially rated 204 miles (328 km). The Audi was also the first to come to a complete stop. Each of the other cars happily drove a few more miles out of the oval and back to an outlet, even with a 0 miles on the dash; the e-tron stopped after 3 km.
As is always the case, if you need an electric car to make urgent shipments from coast to coast, you still can’t beat a Tesla.