What is WLTP? A warning about real world EV battery ranges

In Europe, all electric vehicles are tested against a standardised metric for range. The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) measures the range of all electric vehicles (EVs).

Note that it does this while the car travelling at an average speed of 46.3km/h in summer temperatures from a 100 per cent to 0 per cent state of charge.

The WLTP creates transparency when comparing the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of different vehicles. This makes the measurements independent of the manufacturer and vehicle type.

However, WLTP uses real-driving data, such that results reflect more accurately everyday driving conditions. Keep in mind that a WLTP testing procedure is still conducted under a laboratory setting i.e. it is simulated and not real-world driving conditions.

(Image: wltpfacts.eu)

The biggest factor that determines the range of an EV is of course the capacity of the battery in the car. However there are many other potential drains on your electric car batteries.

EV battery ranges are very dependent on how you drive, and even doing 120km/h on the motorway will reduce most EV ranges dramatically compared to travelling at 100km/h in the inside lane. That is only recommended for the more patient car drivers among you that are not on a tight time schedule.

Use of air conditioning, wipers, and anything that requires battery power, will also work to reduce your range.

However, the one that surprises most owners most is the changes they notice in the lower temperatures of winter. Basically, batteries use a chemical reaction to take on and release energy. It is this process that is slowed down during cold weather.

It’s why your electric car full range can be anywhere between 10 and 20 per cent lower in cold winter weather. The reduction for most is closer to 10 per cent of the claimed range.

A number of manufacturers are now fitting heat pumps to lessen the drain on the battery, heating the car when in use. Owners who can should garage their EV overnight or cover it with plastic to lessen the loss of range in winter.

To help boost your EV range, you should use the regenerative braking system if it’s available. Other factors that will help include: planning your route, keeping your tyres inflated, switch off unnecessary features, travel light, and even go as far as removing accessories.

However, new electric cars are expensive and while you want to do the right thing for the environment, how far do you have to go?

Meanwhile, the Government is about to (from 1st July) reduce the grant towards buying a new EV, and it is moving far too slowly with a proper, suitable for purpose charging network. Are they serious about private motoring and climate change?

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