Cold, colder, half a battery...

In this blog: Turns out Tesla Model S and BMW i3 range gets halfway down driven by Auto Bild in the cold.

It's cold up there in the Alps, all white and snowy, at least where Auto Bild took a picture of some EVs that they put on test. Looks like a clear winter sunny day. We wish their EV test details were that clear as well...

Not sure where's our BG winter (so warm this January), though some ideas come to mind. What does not come to mind, however, is how ot Earth Auto Bild managed to squeeze those freaking 60 km out of i3's battery in the cold. That's half of what it should be capable of doing normally. And that's not the only EV that "performed in half".

Here how different EVs fared in the Auto Bild test over in the Alps (early January):

  • Renault ZOE – 59 km;
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV – 61 km;
  • BMW i3 - 61 km;
  • Nissan LEAF – 69 km;
  • Tesla Model S – 207 km.

Lots of talking about the i3's effiency these days. This winter test, though, tells a different story as 60 km on a single i3 charge is not the range you'd want. And we just can't believe that ZOE made it even worse, having such an advanced heater pump.

Something's missing here to us and it's the details. How did they drive, how long uphill, how long downhill, which accessories were on, etc.? With almost no "cold" i3 reviews around for now it's still difficult to get a clue. But only 60 km is such a dent – didn't these folks regenerate at all?!?

BMW i3's regen is very strong though, kind of like the Renault Kangoo Z.E. we guess. Opposite to Renault ZOE, BMW i3 will quickly stop even on a steep downhill. Needs some driving style adjustment to get more out of the regen.

And Tesla Model S? Weird stuff as well. Those little over 200 km mean kind of 50% decrease as well. We've driven Model S for 30-40 km around Munich in October, but it wasn't so cold and it can't compare at all.

The guys over at Drive and dream had a better chance than us, however. In a recent Model S test drive in the Alps – fult trunk & frunk plus five onboard – here what they share about their mountain EV quest:

What a climb! Grenoble was at 250 m and we climbed to 650 m on the highway before turning off for the big climb. 16 km and 22 hairpins later we were at 2065 m in the ski resort.

We had 140 km (35%) of rated range at the bottom and 37 km (15%) at the top.

They managed to regen a lot of it back and it really matters how you're testing an EV. Couple of years ago on our first Opel Ampera test we've climbed Vitosha and yes we've almost drained the battery – it needed lots of juice to get on top. Good news is that we've claimed most of it back (with interest :) on our way dowhill.

As more and more winter i3 reviews pop up we'll be able to get a better feeling of the range in cold. A single test is never good to judge upon and batteries (and BMS) will surely advance in time. It's possible for someone doing just some 50-60 km on a single i3 charge now in the cold, but let's see what happens later in the winter.


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