Preliminary considerations on the ECOBEST Challenge
`ECOBEST Challenge 2021 electrified by VINFAST` is the first European independent real traffic test of mainstream EV’s to reveal the real green credentials. The results are coming from a consistent methodology of testing performed identically to all the 15 cars in the test. This methodology is inspired by the practical needs and driving behaviour of most of the European motorists, coming from the habits in their daily commuting. It is not designed pro or con to any models or brand and is not a typical motoring media comparative test nor a record braking range test or – by contrary – a rally speed test to check how agile are EV’s. ECOBEST Challenge is not assessing the differences of range between different models in test. All the results of the test are offered to the European consumers as a strong reality basis in their decision making process.
The key findings
As a consequence of this unbiased approach, the real range resulted from the tests are showing that WLTP is a bit more optimistic in comparison with driving in real traffic. Practically, none of the tested models achieved 100% of their homologated WLTP figure. However, all the cars in test shown more than 75% real range out of WLTP reference. Some of them are pretty close to the WLTP performing very well in the newly introduced index `EcoC 1`, representing the percentage of real range vs WLTP range.
AUTOBEST is also introducing another key index named `EcoC 2`, representing the quintessential idea of energy efficiency on board of EV’s. It is simply how many km of real range any Kwh of battery can offer. This year we have only one car –Dacia Spring- able to exceed 8 km/ Kwh. The average of this edition on `EcoC 2` is significantly improved compared with 3 years ago showing a clear progress in the process of making the EV’s more energy efficient.
ECOBEST Challenge is the only one independent test in Europe measuring what is happening after the battery reserve indication is showing zero! As all the cars been driven to a total deplete of the battery- with cars completely stopped, AUTOBEST is happy to deliver an excellent news to all the motorists: there is enough life in a `Zero battery indication on the cluster`! In all the 15 cars tested, between 14 km and 37.8 km of real range was left! With this package of info’s, AUTOBEST is sending an incredible relief to all the people driving EV’s and arriving to such a difficult situation of having Zero battery reserve. However, AUTOBEST is recommending keeping this as a strategic reserve of the battery and better never entering in the situation to use it.
Finally, another unique result of the ECOBEST Challenge is the energy needed to fully charge the cars having totally depleted batteries. All the cars in test needed more energy than the capacity of the batteries, between 5.9% and 27.1% more. The explanation for the plus consumption when recharging is studied and have several explanations. Some energy is lost when transformed from AC (grid) to DC (battery) (about 5% in this process). Some energy is used to power all the car systems used for charging, mainly the inverter but also the software, the socket, everything related with the process. Some energy is used for the refrigeration of the battery during the process (this energy used is higher in fast charging of in hot environmental conditions). The state of the batteries and the charger type may also generate some losses.
Although there are technical explanations for this, we believe is important to have a fair info for the consumers, as they have to pay more than expected.
Joan Dalmau, coches.net creative writer and Spanish AUTOBEST Jury member explained: “We were surprised by some cars that achieved a real range close to WLTP range figures. The real range obtained in the test shows EVs had become a perfect alternative in urban environment and the recharge data we obtained with Circutor help establish that EV customers pays more than expected due to heavy technical requirements of the cars during the charging process”.
With ECOBEST Challenge, our organization is making one more bold step to serve the European motorists, delivering key information’s about the real range, energy efficiency and more of the most popular EV’s on the market. Our aim is to offer an independent test, where all the cars are driven in the same time, on the same route by different drivers, coming this year from 13 countries. Our consistent method of testing was exactly the same for all the cars and the results are representing –in our opinion- a good average, a very reliable reference for all the EV’s in the test. It is important to mention that applying the eco-driving techniques, we are sure that a bigger range will result. But this was not our objective.
With the unique figures of real range after the `Zero battery indication` on the cluster, AUTOBEST if sending a clear message that there is life after the `official` emptiness of the battery. We believe ECOBEST Challenge is a huge step forward in understanding the reality of traffic in driving EV’s. However, we are the first to say that is far for been perfect. That is the reason that we already started to work on the next year edition implementing improvements on this unique project. On the industry side, there a lot of things to do to improve –first of all- the energy efficiency. At AUTOBEST we are convinced, by 2025 we will have cars easily reaching more than 10-12 km/ Kwh of battery.` said Dan Vardie, Founder & Chairman of AUTOBEST and the creator of ECOBEST Challenge as a crucial part of the AUTOBEST `The Real Green` larger project.
How was organized `ECOBEST Challenge electrified by VINFAST`
It was organized in Terrassa, near Barcelona as a Real traffic Range Test for Electric Vehicles. The professional motoring journalists of Autobest and coches.net drove 15 Electric Vehicles available in Europe (all with more than 200 KM of homologated WLTP range and a price list under 32.000 € before taxes) to answer the more usual question people looking for and EV car starting with crucial info about the real range.
The test started and finished at Circutor headquarters where the cars were also recharged. All the cars tested were regular production models with one person on board only, climate system and infotainment equipment in on mode and the tyre pressure recommended by the brand. All the cars were driven in Normal mode and using Brake mode in city environment when available.
Using a mixed trip with regional roads, motorway and urban environment, all the vehicles travelled as many times as needed a 60 km journey with motorways (50%), conventional roads (20%) and urban environment in the city of Terrassa (30%). When the cars went down a range of 60 km and less, they started a new journey of a circuit of 22 km with similar characteristics.
All the drivers exchanged their cars every 30 KM to avoid the effect of the driving style in the results. All the cars were driven in convoy behind a leader car which indicates the correct road and established the average speed, respecting all the time the speed limits.
After reaching the indication of 0% battery and/ or 0 Km range appears on the cluster, cars were still run in the Circutor inside road until their complete stop.
`ECOBEST Challenge 2021` was organized in partnership with VINFAST the emerging Vietnamese manufacturer who will launch two new EV’s on the European markets in the first half of next year. `I use this opportunity to thank to the great support of VINFAST in organizing our EV’s large test. Although, VINFAST had no cars in the test, the involvement is a part of the commitment for eletromobility, giving the European consumer a fair chance to be a part of this process. These are values we share entirely at AUTOBEST.` added Dan Vardie.
AUTOBEST is also thanking to the leading Spanish online motor media www.coches.net who was a logistical partner and to Circutor, a Spanish leading charging points manufacturer.
In 2009 AUTOBEST launched ECOBEST Challenge project, as a world’s first project for measurements of consumption, CO2 emissions, pollutants and micro particles. ECOBEST Challenge was launched years before Diesel gate scandal, with the aim to give consumer real data in real life traffic.