We took 10 battery-powered models on the Grande Raccordo Anulare to evaluate real-world mileage and efficiency. Here is what happened.
Jan 18, 2023 at 6:51pm ET
By: Francesco Barontini
Editor’s Note: Our colleagues at InsideEV Italy had the occasion to gather up an eclectic group of electric vehicles for real-world range and efficiency testing around Rome. Here are the results of that comprehensive evaluation, which includes operating costs on the road as well as charging costs for public and home systems. English subtitles for the video above are available in the auto-translate settings.
Reading about the stated range of an electric vehicle is all well and good, but how does that translate to the real world? As with previous EV tests, we gathered up a selection of the most interesting zero-emission vehicles currently available to see just how far they actually go before running out of electrons.
We have chosen 10 cars from a variety of manufacturers for this range test. We’ve also picked vehicles covering a wide range of genres, thus giving us a broad platform on which to compare. The models in the test represent automakers from Germany, France, South Korea, and China, covering a wide range of price points, body styles, and performance.
To ensure a proper comparison, all vehicles were driven on the same public route at the same time of day and at the same speeds. The results all come down to the cars and not external factors.
The location for this test is the Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA), known officially as the A90 motorway near the city of Rome. In our test, we traveled the perimeter route covering 68.2 kilometers (42.4 miles) in a complete circle around the city. The GRA has a speed limit of 130 kph (81 mph) which becomes 110 (68 mph) on some stretches and in tunnels. However, heavy traffic is always a fact of life around Rome, which makes it difficult to maintain posted speed limits.
The cars featured in our test all traveled with the air conditioning set to automatic mode, with the temperature set to 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) and the windows closed Drive modes were set to normal/default operation. Only the driver was present in each car.
To limit the impact of rush hour traffic jams, the test started at 11:00 AM local time. For the most part, all cars traveled in a row when able until reaching a charge state of 5 percent. At that point, the driver left the highway for the nearest available charging station to recoup energy.
For the duration of the test, all vehicles were digitally connected and monitored by LoJack satellite tracking. This allowed for real-time monitoring of speed, position, and other useful data on each car.
The 10 cars chosen for this range/consumption test are recent arrivals for the European market, representing a broad spectrum of zero-emission motoring. They are:
- Ways U5
- BMW i7
- Kia Niro EV
- Mercedes EQE
- MG 4
- Polestar 2
- Renault Megane E-Tech
- Skoda Enyaq Coupe
- Smart #1
- Volkswagen ID.Buzz
Results Based On Range
The cars in our test achieved ranges from 289 to 436 km (180 to 271 miles). The BMW i7 won for the furthest traveled before reaching 5 percent, equalling 6.4 “laps” of the GRA loop. It used 101.7 kWh of its 105.7 kWh battery pack.
Obviously, as the size of the battery increases, so does the distance traveled. However, in relation to WLTP-stated ranges, we observed deviations between 16 and 31 percent less in real-world conditions. No vehicle managed to reach its published WLTP range estimate.
The EV closest to its WLTP range was the MG 4, which used 61.7 kWh of real-world capacity to cover 357 km (222 miles). That equates to 5.2 laps of GRA, but still falls well short of the 450 km (280-mile) WLTP range. In general, our observations settled on an average range that was around 25 percent lower compared to WLTP statistics.
Laps Of GRA Loop
Actual Battery Capacity
|BMW i7||436 km||6.4||625 km||-27%||101.7 kWh|
|Mercedes EQE||423 km||6.2||639 km||-30%||90.6 kWh|
|Polestar 2||395 km||5.8||551 km||-24%||75 kWh|
|Skoda Enyaq Coupé RS||368 km||5.4||505 km||-23%||77 kWh|
|MG 4||357 km||5.2||450 km||-16%||61.7 kWh|
|Kia Niro EV
||347 km||5.1||463 km||-21%||64.8 kWh|
|Smart #1||328 km||4.8||440 km||-22%||64 kWh|
|Volkswagen ID.Buzz||300 km||4.4||423 km||-25%||77 kWh|
|Renault Megane E-Tech||295 km||4.3||450 km||-31%||55 kWh|
|Aiways U5||289 km||4.2||410 km||-26%||60 kWh|
Results Based On Efficiency
Generally speaking, range has been proportional to battery capacity, but what about efficiency? On this subject, it’s clear there are variables other than battery capacity to keep in mind. Power consumption certainly matters, and we must measure that to thoroughly evaluate these vehicles.
Again, it was the MG 4 that led the way by using 16.4 kWh per 100 km (62.1 miles). Credit the MG 4’s dimensions and contained mass for that win. Joining it on the podium was the Renault Megane E-Tech in second with 17.7 kWh/100, followed by the Kia Niro EV with 17.8 kWh/100 km. As one might imagine, the heaviest and bulkiest cars bring up the rear. The Mercedes EQE, BMW i7, and Volkswagen ID. Buzz did not exceed 24.4 kWh/100 km.
Cars in the middle were very close together in terms of efficiency. The Polestar 2 was among the best with an average consumption of 18 kWh/100 km, just behind with E-Tech and Niro EV. The Smart #1, Aiways U5, and Skoda Enyaq Coupé RS were further back.
Consumption (On GRA Loop)
Actual Battery Capacity
|MG 4||16.4 kWh/100 km||204 CV/201 HP||1,685 kg||61.7 kWh|
|Renault Megane E-Tech||17.7 kWh/100 km||218 CV/215 HP||1,636 kg||55 kWh|
|Kia Niro EV
||17.8 kWh/100 km||204 CV/201 HP||1,682 kg||64.8 kWh|
|Polestar 2||18 kWh/100 km||231 CV/228 HP||1,994 kg||75 kWh|
|Smart #1||18.5 kWh/100 km||272 CV/268 HP||1,788 kg||64 kWh|
|Aiways U5||19.7 kWh/100 km||204 CV/201 HP||1,770 kg||60 kWh|
|Skoda Enyaq Coupé RS||19.9 kWh/100 km||299 CV/295 HP||2,178 kg||77 kWh|
|Mercedes EQE||20.4 kWh/100 km||292 CV/288 HP||2,310 kg||90.6 kWh|
|BMW i7||22.2 kWh/100 km||544 CV/536 HP||2,640 kg||101.7 kWh|
|Volkswagen ID.Buzz||24.4 kWh/100 km||204 CV/21 HP||2,402 kg||77 kWh|
Greater efficiency means lower costs for the same distance traveled. It should be no surprise that the MG 4 stands above the others as the most economical of the bunch. It takes 5.75 euros to travel 100 km based on a price of 0.35 euros/kWh for public charging through a subscription service such as Plenitude-BeCharge (our technical partner). By recharging at home, the price rises to 8.70 euros.
On the other end of the scale, we once again have the heavyweights and chunky vehicles. Their lower efficiency means higher running 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 most expensive is the ID. Buzz at 8.53/12.91 euros.
|Model||Energy Cost/ 100 km (Public Charging*)||Energy Cost/Lap GRA (Public Charging*)||Energy Cost/100 km (Home Charging)||Energy Cost/ Lap GRA (Home Charging)||Vehicle Price
|MG 4||5.75 euro||3.92 euro||8.70 euro||5.93 euro||33,990 euro|
|Renault Megane E-Tech||8.19 euro||4.22 euro||9.38 euro||6.40 euro||42,300 euro|
|Kia Niro EV
||6.22 euro||4.24 euro||9.41 euro||6.42 euro||42,700 euro|
|Polestar 2||6.31 euro||4.30 euro||9.55 euro||6.51 euro||55,700 euro|
|Smart #1||6.49 euro||4.43 euro||9.83 euro||6.70 euro||40,650 euro|
|Aiways U5||6.90 euro||4.71 euro||10.45 euro||7.13 euro||47,000 euro|
|Skoda Enyaq Coupé RS||6.96 euro||4.75 euro||10.54 euro||7.19 euro||64,950 euro|
|Mercedes EQE||7.12 euro||4.86 euro||10.79 euro||7.36 euro||81,256 euro|
|BMW i7||7.75 euro||5.29 euro||11.74 euro||8.00 euro||150,400 euro|
|Volkswagen ID.Buzz||8.53 euro||5.81 euro||12.91 euro||8.80 euro||66,000 euro|
* Rate 0.35 €/kWh with Plenitude-BeCharge Be Electric 500 subscription
Let’s start with a given. The MG 4 costs 33,990 euros whereas the BMW i7 is 150,400 euros – almost four and a half times more. Why do we point out this huge difference in price? These are obviously two very different vehicles in different categories, but our goal is to offer precise figures for a variety of models that can be considered both in context to specific categories, and across the electric automotive spectrum. Also, a big price, big batteries, and big range don’t always translate to big efficiency in the electric world.
This can come in handy when you find yourself evaluating the purchase of a new EV; understanding how weight, power, dimensions, and other characteristics – not just battery capacity – factor into range and efficiency.
Gallery: InsideEVs Italy Range Test In Rome
By: Francesco Barontini