The personal car was sold to the public as a constructed expression of freedom, as told through stories as diverse as the migration of the dust bowl. The clusters of anger of irresponsible racers on the roads of Escape with a cannon. And decades of dependence on fast-flowing liquid fuel hydrocarbons have left little tolerance to spend many minutes more involved and motionless waiting for lithium-ion cells to charge. So when it comes to electric vehicles racing on a bench, the only statistic that most people are interested in is how far it can go before you have to turn it on again.
The situation is not exactly helped by the tests used by regulators. In Europe, the WLTP test cycle averages 29 miles per hour (47 km / h) and generates range estimates that should be considered mere fantasy on North American roads. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency̵
The study was commissioned by Polestar, which wants to rank its new Polestar 2 EV against three competitors: Tesla Model 3 Performance, Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron. The test procedure, conducted on July 28 at a three-mile (4.8 km) oval at the Fowelville test site in Michigan, was quite clear.
Each car was brought to a 100 percent charge state and set to default drive mode with regenerative braking off (or in its most gentle setting). The interior temperature was set to 72˚F (22˚C), the tires were inflated to the pressure recommended on the door plate of each car, and the headlights were switched on (test track requirement).
The cars were then driven slowly (below 25 mph for 1.3 mph / 2 km for 2 km) from the loading and charging area to the oval, after which each was slightly accelerated (at 0.3G) to a GPS-verified 70 miles per hour and kept there with cruise control, all runners located in one lane on the test track. Each car was driven until it could no longer maintain a speed of 70 miles per hour due to low battery.
Tesla’s experience shows
Not surprisingly, the Tesla Model 3 traveled the furthest, reaching 377 km (374 km) – 75 percent of the EPA’s range – before falling below 70 miles per hour. Tesla has spent more than a decade continuously improving the efficiency of its electric drive range and cladding its cars in low-resistance bodies, and this extensive experience is shown on the test track, even when selected with 20-inch wheels and high-performance tires.
Polestar 2 is in second place, traveling 330 miles (330 miles) before 70 miles per hour is too much. Polestar is still waiting for the EPA’s official rating for the Polestar 2, but if it comes within the expected 250 miles (402 km), it would be 82% of the car’s official mileage.
In fact, the company shipped a pair of Polestar 2s for the test, one of which is equipped (like the car we tested a few weeks ago) with the larger 20-inch Performance Package wheels and sticky summer tires. Big wheels and sticky tires are the last thing you want on a car when it comes to washing more miles on an electron, and this penalty has been shown to reduce the range by eight miles (13 km), or about three percent, compared to the same car with 19-inch wheels and a low-rolling-resistance tire.
It was followed by I-Pace, EV400 HSE trim, shod with 22-inch wheels. The British EV rechargeable battery completed 188 miles (302 km) before crying uncle, 80 percent of its EPA-estimated range of 234 miles (377 km). (Jaguar recently sent a software update to I-Pace that increased the range’s efficiency by up to 19 miles), but that didn’t affect the official BEV range of the EPA.)
Last was the Audi e-tron, which drove 300 miles (187 miles) before calling it a day. However, the bright side of Audi’s engineers is that the e-tron has made it closer to its EPA range than any of the others, traveling 92 percent of the officially estimated 204 miles (328 km). Audi was also the first to stop completely. Each of the other cars happily drove a few more miles to get out of the oval and return to the plug, even with the 0 miles indicated on the dashboard; e-tron stopped after 3 km.
As is still the case, if you need an electric car to make emergency deliveries from coast to coast, you still can’t beat Tesla.