Editor’s Note: Our colleagues at InsideEV Italy had the opportunity to assemble a diverse group of EVs for real-world range and efficiency testing in Rome. Here are the results of this comprehensive assessment, which includes operating costs on the road as well as charging costs for public and home systems. English subtitles for the above video are available in the translation settings.
Reading about an EV’s advertised range is all well and good, but how does that translate to the real world? As with previous EV tests, we’ve compiled a selection of the most interesting zero-emission vehicles currently available to see how far they can actually go before running out of electrons.
For this range test, we selected 10 cars from different manufacturers. We’ve also selected vehicles that cover a wide range of genres, giving us a broad platform to compare. The models in the test represent automakers from Germany, France, South Korea and China and cover a wide range of price points, body styles and performance.
To ensure an accurate comparison, all vehicles were driven on the same public route at the same time of day and at the same speed. The results all depend on the cars and not on external factors.
The location for this test is the Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA), officially known as the A90 motorway, near the city of Rome. In our test, we drove the 68.2-kilometer circular route completely around the city. The GRA has a speed limit of 130 km/h (81 mph), which increases to 110 (68 mph) on some sections and in tunnels. However, in Rome, heavy traffic is always the order of the day, making it difficult to stay within posted speed limits.
The cars featured in our test all drove with the air conditioning set to automatic mode, with a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) and the windows closed. The driving modes were set to normal/standard operation. Only the driver was present in each car.
To limit the impact of rush hour congestion, the test began at 11:00 local time. If possible, all cars drove one behind the other until a charge level of 5 percent was reached. At this point, the driver exited the highway to the nearest available charging station to recover energy.
For the duration of the test, all vehicles were digitally connected and monitored via LoJack satellite tracking. This enabled real-time monitoring of speed, position and other useful data for each car.
The 10 cars selected for this range/fuel consumption test are newcomers to the European market and represent a wide spectrum of zero-emission driving. They are:
- paths U5
- BMW i7
- Kia Niro EV
- Mercedes EQE
- North Star 2
- Renault Megane E-Tech
- Skoda Enyaq coupe
- Smart #1
- Volkswagen ID.Buzz
Results based on reach
The cars in our test achieved ranges of 289 to 436 km (180 to 271 miles). the BMW i7 won for the furthest traveled before reaching 5 percent, which is 6.4 “laps” of the GRA loop. It used 101.7 kWh of its 105.7 kWh battery pack.
Of course, as the size of the battery increases, the distance traveled also increases. In relation to the WLTP ranges, however, we found deviations that were between 16 and 31 percent smaller under real conditions. No vehicle managed to meet the published WLTP range estimate.
The EV that came closest to its WLTP range was the MG 4, which used 61.7 kWh of real capacity to travel 357 km (222 miles). That equates to 5.2 GRA laps, but is still well below the WLTP range of 450 km (280 miles). “In general, our observations settled down to an average range that was about 25 percent lower compared to the WLTP statistic.
Rounding the GRA loop
Actual battery capacity
|BMW i7||436 km||6.4||625 km||-27%||101.7kWh|
|Mercedes EQE||423km||6.2||639 km||-30%||90.6kWh|
|North Star 2||395 km||5.8Ò||551km||-24%||75kWh|
|Skoda Enyaq Coup© RS||368 km||5.4Ò||505km||-23%||77kWh|
|Kia Niro EV
|Smart #1||328 km||4.8||440km||-22%||64kWh|
|Renault Megane E-Tech||295 km||4.3||450km||-31%||55kWh|
Results based on efficiency
In general, range was proportional to battery capacity, but what about efficiency? On this subject, it is clear that there are variables other than battery capacity to consider. Power consumption certainly plays a role and we need to measure it to thoroughly evaluate these vehicles.
Again, it was the MG 4 that took the lead with 16.4 kWh per 100 km (62.1 miles). Credit the dimensions and contained mass of the MG 4 for this victory. On the podium was the Renault Megane E-Tech with 17.7 kWh/100 in second place, followed by Kia Niro EV with 17.8 kWh/100 km. As you can imagine, the heaviest and bulkiest cars bring up the rear. the Mercedes EQE,Â BMW i7, and Volkswagen ID. to hum 24.4 kWh/100 km not exceeded.
Cars in the middle were very close in terms of efficiency North Star 2 was among the best with an average consumption of 18 kWh/100 km, followed closely by E-Tech and Niro EV. The Smart #1, Aiways U5 and Skoda Enyaq Coupé RS were further behind.
Consumption (on GRA Loop)
Actual battery capacity
|MG4||16.4kWh/100km||204 hp / 201 hp||1,685kg||61.7kWh|
|Renault Megane E-Tech||17.7kWh/100km||218 HP/215 HP||1,636kg||55kWh|
|Kia Niro EV
||17.8kWh/100km||204 hp / 201 hp||1,682kg||64.8kWh|
|Polestar 2Т||18kWh/100km||231 hp/228 hp||1,994kg||75kWh|
|Smart #1||18.5kWh/100km||272 hp/268 hp||1,788kg||64kWh|
|Always U5||19.7kWh/100km||204 hp / 201 hp||1,770kg||60kWh|
|Skoda Enyaq Coup© RS||19.9kWh/100km||299 hp/295 hp||2,178kg||77kWh|
|Mercedes EQE||20.4kWh/100km||292 hp/288 hp||2,310kg||90.6kWh|
|BMW i7||22.2kWh/100km||544 hp/536 hp||2,640kg||101.7kWh|
|Volkswagen ID.Buzz||24.4kWh/100km||204 hp/21 hp||2,402kg||77kWh|
Greater efficiency means lower costs over the same distance travelled. It should come as no surprise that the MG 4 is considered the most economical of the rest. 5.75 euros for a distance of 100 km, based on a price of 0.35 euros/kWh for public charging via a subscription service such as Plenitude. BeChargeÒ (our technical partner).Ò When charging at home, the price increases toÒ 8.70 euros.Ò
At the other end of the scale we have the heavyweights and chunky vehicles again. Their lower efficiency means higher operating costs, specifically 7.12 euros through subscription charging and 10.79 euros at home with the Mercedes EQE. It costs 7.75/11.74 euros for the BMW i7. The card is the most expensive. Buzz at 8.53/12.91 euros.
|model||Energy costs/ 100 km (public charging*)||Energy costs/lap GRA (public charging*)||Energy costs/100 km (charging at home)||Energy costs/round GRA (charging at home)||vehicle price
|MG4||5.75 euros||3.92 euros||8.70 euros||5.93 euros||33,990 euros|
|Renault Megane E-Tech||8.19 euros||4.22 euros||9.38 euros||6.40 euros||42,300 euros|
|Kia Niro EV
||6.22 euros||4.24 euros||9.41 euros||6.42 euros||42,700 euros|
|North Star 2||6.31 euros||4.30 euros||9.55 euros||6.51 euros||55,700 euros|
|Smart #1||6.49 euros||4.43 euros||9.83 euros||6.70 euros||40,650 euros|
|Always U5||6.90 euros||4.71 euros||10.45 euros||7.13 euros||47,000 euros|
|Skoda Enyaq Coup© RS||6.96 euros||4.75 euros||10.54 euros||7.19 euros||64,950 euros|
|Mercedes EQE||7.12 euros||4.86 euros||10.79 euros||7.36 euros||81,256 euros|
|BMW i7||7.75 euros||5.29 euros||11.74 euros||8.00 euros||150,400 euros|
|Volkswagen ID.Buzz||8.53 euros||5.81 euros||12.91 euros||8.80 euros||66,000 euros|
* Tariff €0.35/kWh with Plenitude BeCharge Be Electric 500 subscription
Let’s start with a given. The MG 4 costs 33,990 euros, the BMW i7 150,400 euros – almost four and a half times as much. Why are we pointing out this enormous price difference? These are obviously two very different vehicles in different categories, but our goal is to offer accurate figures for a variety of models that can be viewed both in the context of specific categories and across the EV spectrum. Also, in the electric world, high price, big batteries, and long range don’t always mean great efficiency.
This can come in handy when considering the purchase of a new electric vehicle; Understand how weight, power, dimensions and other characteristics – not just battery capacity – affect range and efficiency.