Ford Authority

EVs Cannot Attain EPA Estimates In Real-World Tests: Study

To this point, it’s been pretty clear that all-electric vehicles offer up several advantages, but also a few shortcomings when compared to their ICE counterparts. One of the most notable is the fact that EVs tend to lose a significant amount of range in cold temperatures and at higher speeds, though Blue Oval products such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E have historically fared better in this regard than some of its rivals. Thus, it doesn’t really come as a surprise to learn that EVs, in general, struggle to achieve their EPA estimates when traveling on the highway compared to their ICE counterparts, according to a new study conducted by SAE International and Car and Driver.

This study utilized real-world testing results to come to its conclusions, which include the fact that EVs tend to deviate more from their EPA estimated range than ICE vehicles at highway speeds, oftentimes falling short while gas-powered vehicles typically meet or exceed those estimates. The data included in the study looked at 350 different ICE vehicles, which averaged a four percent improvement on EPA estimates, while EVs fell 12.5 percent short of those same figures.

There are a few different theories as to why this is the case – for starters, current testing standards tend to present a combined EPA fuel economy rating that’s weighted 55 percent toward city driving, which is where EVs generally perform better, though this also means that it’s more difficult to achieve those ratings in real-world mixed driving.

Also, unlike EPA testing, Car and Driver‘s highway test is carried out at one specific speed, while the former uses a variable cycle. Increasing and decreasing speed gives EVs an advantage thanks to regenerative braking, which adds energy back to the battery pack. Automakers can choose between a two-cycle test with a 0.7 adjustment factor or a five-cycle test that aims to achieve a smaller reduction factor, but this study highlights the need for a more consistent testing process, which could help consumers get a better understanding of what kind of range they should expect from their new EV before bringing it home.

We’ll have more insights like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Mustang Mach-E news and non-stop Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. David Dickinson II

    In other words, the EPA is adding to EV disinformation so EVs appear better than they are. Not surprised.

    1. RWFA

      In other words, this happened when EPA mpg ratings first came out on ice engines.

      Similarly before that the SAE dyno ratings were changed in the early 1970’s to make them more representative of on road equipment levels.

      So it’s not surprising that with more experience and a lot of different vehicles being rated under this system, that experience demonstrates adjustment needs to be made to improve accuracy and to the real world real world.

      This is the PDCA refinement cycle that happens in everything.

      1. Murray Henley

        Good comment. You made me google PDCA.

      2. David Dickinson II

        I don’t believe that, in modern times, the EPA can come up with a system that is off by double-digit percentage by mistake. A mistake 50 years ago is understandable. With modern computing and engineering a 12.5% variance is a built-in bias. Note that their “mistake” makes the vehicles look better than they are, and not the other way around. As always.

  2. Matt

    Sounds like they would have a greater range than the EPA estimate if used primarily in city driving like taxis or Ubers? Or would that be a realistic range for the average person driving a combination of highways and city streets? Seems kind of arbitrary to drive 100% highway and ignore where EVs do best when that isn’t realistic under normal conditions.

  3. John

    My 22 Chevy Bolt exceeds the epa estimates.


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