Here’s why you should take EPA range estimates for EVs with a pinch of salt

Wearing a famous rugby shirt, like a floppy-haired car critic, I get a “fizz” when I hear about new cars. I dive straight into the data, render the graphic, and go to the forums to find out what other people are saying about the new whip.

When it comes to EVs, the statue I look for for the first time is the figure of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated range. In the world of electric vehicle Top Trump, this is the number that defeats all others. Forget 60 times zero, it’s all about how far an EV can go on a single charge.

Except, it is fairly clear that EPA’s data cannot really be trusted. Just like that Combustion Engine Emissions Testing in CarsWhat we get in the real world proves to be quite different from dyno-based tests.

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Edmunds’ latest test, a US-based car buying website, is a perfect example. You can read them Full report here, But here’s one thing you need to know: Real-world test electric cars never actually achieve their EPA-estimated limits.

Before you think that Edmunds range are some precursors of anxiety – a necromancer of negativity – it’s important to realize that while some EVs fell short of their EPA range estimates, others outperformed them.

Here are a few examples:

1 is Porsche Tykon 4S: 203 mi (EPA range) v 323 mi (Edmunds Test) This is over 59%.

2. 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric: 258 mi (EPA) v 315 mi (Edmunds Trial).

3. Even the Mini Cooper SE: 110 mi (EPA) v 150 mi (Edmunds test).

Not all car The test fair this well. In fact, one brand fell short of particularly consistently anticipated boundaries: Tesla.

For example, a Long Range Model X missed its expected range by 10%, a Model 3 performance fell 17% below its EPA limit, and a Model Y performance stopped about 10% below its suggested EPA range.

So what is going on?

There are some things that may affect that Edmund is coming back. Even though the company has a set protocol, it is impossible to drive every EV in exactly the same circumstances.

As Edmunds showed, there was a 12 degree difference in ambient temperature when tested. Real-world tests of one person will not translate to everyone.

What’s more, Edmunds tests place more emphasis on city driving than EPA protocols, with regenerative braking causing a higher limit due to the nature of city and city driving stopping / starting.

It is possible that Edmunds’ testing protocols simply did not conform to the Teslas they were running. But there are other things specific to Tesla.

Another reason for Tesla’s shortfall is how it adjusts to EPA estimates to make the largest number possible, most likely for marketing reasons.

Like this Car and driver article statesFiguring the range that comes with the EPA is not as easy as testing the car on just one dyno and seeing how long it can last.

EPA tests also apply a voluntary category deduction to manufacturers, it also applies an adjustment factor that can vary from vehicle to vehicle and brand to brand. There are also ways to game the system that are too complicated to mention here, head on Car and driver For more on them.

However, the brutality of the case is that Tesla has been in the game the most, and knows how to get the most from its vehicles for EPA tests. That is, its EPA range figures often exceed drivers in the real world.

So if we can learn anything from all this, then it is to take estimates of EPA category with the help of salt. The EV you buy depends on how you run it, and under what circumstances it operates, you may get more or less range than EPA quotes. Consider EPA a ballpark concept is the best.

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Published February 12, 2021 – 08:57 UTC