The best new electric vehicles get within 3% of their quoted range in the real world

This is the latest report in a series of weekly updates for industry colleagues from Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive.

This week, What Car? has revealed the winners from its second annual Electric Car of the Year awards, naming the best new and used electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles across a number of segments, from small cars to luxury SUVs.

As part of the awards process, we tested how close 10 electric vehicles currently on sale could get to achieving their official WLTP range figures. Conducted on a closed vehicle proving ground, the tests used a 15-mile route that included simulated stop/start traffic, plus A-road and motorway driving.

The Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus achieved the best result in the test, covering 281 miles under real world driving conditions – just 3% shy of its 290-mile WLTP range. The Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus also took home the Best Electric Performance Car award at the annual What Car? Electric Car Awards 2021 in association with ONTO.

The Porsche Taycan 4S was followed by the Mazda MX-30 SE-L Lux, which fell just 7.1% short of its official 124-mile range. The Fiat 500 42kWh Icon achieved the lowest score, falling 29.2% shy of its 198-mile WLTP range. Meanwhile, although the new Ford Mach-E Extended Range RWD fell 20.2% behind the official figures during the test, it achieved the highest outright test mileage, covering 379 miles before its battery ran out.

On average, the 10 vehicles tested fell 14.8% short of their WLTP range.

This research means that dealers can confidently state that potential buyers will achieve close to the official range under real-world driving conditions, and that customers should find out for themselves through test drives. WLTP testing has proven accurate for petrol and diesel cars and appears to hold the same standard of legitimacy when it comes to electric and plug-in hybrids.

What Car? Electric Vehicle Range Test Results

Make / Model 

Usable battery size

(kWh)

Official (WLTP) range

(Miles)

Test range

 

(Miles)

Shortfall

Miles per kWh*

Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus

83.7

290

281

3.0%

3.4

Mazda MX-30 SE-L Lux

30.0

124

115

7.1%

3.8

Kia e-Niro 64kWh 3

64.0

282

257

8.5%

4.0

Renault Zoe R135 GT Line

52.0

238

208

12.4%

4.0

Audi Q4 e-tron 40 S line

77.0

308

266

13.6%

3.5

Volkswagen ID.3 58kWh Pro Performance Life

58.0

264

226

14.2%

3.9

Skoda Enyaq 60

58.0

254

207

18.3%

3.6

Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range RWD 

88.0

379

302

20.2%

3.4

Tesla Model 3 Long Range

70.0

360

284

21.1%

4.1

Fiat 500 42kWh Icon

37.3

198

140

29.2%

3.8

To help buyers narrow their shortlist, our Electric Car of the Year 2021 awards highlights the best electric and plug in cars on sale today. Our overall Electric Car of the Year winner will be revealed at the What Car? New Car Awards early next year.

The list of award winners is below.

What Car? Electric Car of the Year winners

Electric Small Car

Fiat 500 42kWh Icon

Electric Family Car

Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance Life

Hybrid Family Car

Audi A3 40 TFSIe Sport

Hybrid Estate Car

Skoda Octavia iV Estate

Electric Small SUV

Kia e-Niro 64kWh 2

Hybrid Small SUV

Volvo XC40 T4 R Design

Electric Large SUV

Skoda Enyaq 60 Lodge

Hybrid Large SUV

Ford Kuga 2.5 PHEV ST-Line

Electric Executive Car

Tesla Model 3 Long Range

Hybrid Executive Car

BMW 330e M Sport

Hybrid Luxury SUV

BMW X5 xDrive45e

Electric Performance Car

Porsche Taycan 4S

Hybrid Performance Car

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

What Car? Electric Car of the Year used car winners

Used Electric Small Car

Renault Zoe

Used Electric Family Car

Nissan Leaf

Used Hybrid Family Car

Hyundai Ioniq

Used Hybrid Estate Car

Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate

Used Electric Small SUV

MG ZS EV

Used Hybrid Small SUV

Mini Countryman PHEV

Used Electric Luxury SUV

Jaguar I-Pace

Used Hybrid Luxury SUV

Volvo XC90 T8