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HomeFeaturesReal driving range of South Africa’s entry-level electric cars tested – The results

Real driving range of South Africa’s entry-level electric cars tested – The results

AutoTrader has released the results of its annual Battery Challenge which pinned four of the country’s entry-level electric vehicles (EV) against one another to find out which one truly has the best driving range.

The EVs under the microscope comprised:

The four contenders were charged to 90% and driven non-stop in 32°C weather in November 2023, with their aircons set at 21°C and cruise control on 120km/h until their batteries reached 10%.

“The tests are based on South African conditions rather than the cooler European testing scenarios,” said AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie.

“In addition to setting a benchmark for EV variants, the aim is to produce a historical reference point upon which to look back and evaluate battery performance advancements year-on-year, as battery technology continues to evolve at pace.”

The results

The results of the AutoTrader EV test are detailed below, with the vehicles ranked according to which one achieved the best real-world range:

Model Average speed Time from 90-10% Real range Claimed range Difference
Mercedes-Benz EQA 117.35km/h 02h 08m 53s 254.7km 402km 147.3km
BMW iX1 117.5km/h 02h 02m 19s 238.7km 400km 161.3km
Volvo XC40 Recharge 116.25km/h 01h 49m 33s 214.5km 435km 220.5km
GWM Ora 03 105.25km/h 01h 34m 49s 199.9km 400km 200.1km

It’s important to note that the manufacturer’s “claimed range” is based on mixed conditions – i.e. urban and highway driving – whereas the AutoTrader test was exclusively conducted at freeway speeds where EVs are inherently less efficient.

Therefore, for the everyday driver who does not pin their EV at 120km/h wherever they go, their range will likely be somewhere between the testing results and the manufacturer’s claims.

Alongside the EVs, AutoTrader tested South Africa’s best-selling hybrid in the same environment with the aim of discovering its true fuel efficiency.

The vehicle is, of course, the Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid XS which retails from R486,100

“Emulating the typical South African daily commute of 44km, tests mimicking both highway driving (44km non-stop at national speed limit), and 44km stop-start city-style driving, were conducted,” said Mienie.

In the highway driving assessment, the Cross produced a consumption figure of 6.7l/100km equating to a range of 537km from its 36-litre petrol tank.

Illustrating the advantages of semi-electric propulsion, the Toyota’s economy sat at a far lower 4.6l/100km during the city driving session which subsequently yielded a maximum potential of 782km.

The driving range of EVs and hybrids is expected to increase substantially in the near future as advancements in battery technologies are happening at a rapid pace, according to Mienie.

This will likely reduce range anxiety and accelerate the adoption of new-energy vehicles both locally and abroad.

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