UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include a statement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Electric vehicles (EV) often fail to achieve the ranges reported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in real world conditions, according to a study published by transportation industry group SAE International.
While internal combustion engines tend to either meet or surpass their EPA figures in real-world testing, EVs often fell far short of their reported range and efficiency in actuality, automotive news outlet Car and Driver reported Friday. Real-world conditions such as road conditions, extreme temperature and drivers fully charging their batteries — which manufacturers recommend avoiding to extend battery life — often result in significant disparities with reported range numbers, according to the SEA International study, which was based on data gathered by Car and Driver. (RELATED: China Dominates EV Market As Biden Pushes To Phase Out Combustion Engine)
“Basically we’ve taken a look at how vehicles perform relative to the values on the window sticker, looking at the difference between what the label says and what we actually see in our real-world highway test,” the study’s co-author, Car and Driver’s testing director Dave VanderWerp, told the outlet. “We see a big difference in that gap between gas-powered vehicles and the performance of EVs. The real question is: When first-time customers are buying EVs, are they going to be pleasantly surprised or disappointed by the range?”
President Biden has unlocked over $1.5 billion in funding for all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico to build electric vehicle chargers covering 75,000 miles of highway, helping advance a clean energy economy that lowers costs, strengthens energy security, and meets climate goals. pic.twitter.com/MFTblmqs1E
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 19, 2023
In a 75 mph highway test, gas-powered vehicles tended to perform roughly 4% better than their stated fuel economy, while electric vehicles on average had a range 12.5% lower than their posted numbers, according to Car and Driver.
EV ranges underperform in part because the EPA only reports a combined city and highway range, which weights the city range — where EVs typically overpowerform — over their highway performance, according to Car and Driver. The report recommends re-evaluating this metric to more accurately reflect the differences between these two scenarios.
The electrification of U.S. passenger vehicles has been a key pillar of the Biden administration’s climate policy, although just 10 models will initially qualify for the significant consumer tax credits offered under the president’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act. Despite the administration’s aggressive regulation of internal combustion engine vehicles, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm denied Thursday that the administration was making an active effort to “ban” gas and diesel-powered vehicles.
“EPA fuel economy label and range estimates are based on standardized tests designed to reflect “typical” driving conditions and driver behavior, but several factors can affect MPG and range significantly,” the EPA said in a statement. “Therefore, the EPA ratings are a useful tool for comparing the fuel economies and ranges of different vehicles but may not always accurately predict the average MPGe and range that a vehicle will achieve.”
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