21 cars were tested on long trips by an independent German body. The Kia EV6 wins this comparison, especially thanks to its exceptional charging capacity.
The German consulting company P3, which specializes in new technologies and cars, has embarked on an ambitious exercise: to determine which electric car is the most efficient on long journeys. 21 models were tested both on their actual consumption and on their fast terminal charging capacity. The result is a study of about twenty pages, particularly dense, which reveals a ranking that is interesting to say the least, in which Tesla painfully integrates the top 10. Another event: for the first time in three editions, a car exceeds the index ideal of 1.0 . In fact, thanks to its ability to recover 300 km of autonomy in 20 minutes of charging, the Kia EV6 actually reaches the first place in the ranking.
The best electric cars for travel
Before we go into more detail with the terms of the comparison, let’s start by looking at the cars that have managed to differentiate themselves. The top 10 ranking is as follows:
The Korean group Hyundai / Kia dominates this ranking, climbing twice on the podium thanks to its two SUVs. In comparison, the Kia EV6 and Ioniq 5 also came in first and third place in our ranking of the best electric cars in 2022. Among the other experiences from the ranking, it is worth noting the second place of the EQS, which is considered by many observers to be the queen of autonomy with its 107 kWh battery, or the very good position of the Sport Turismo version of the Taycan, a vehicle that has not been particularly praised for its autonomy. As you will have understood, if the ranking contains some surprises, it is due to a method specific to the survey.
How are vehicles assessed?
To understand how P3 reaches such a result, it is necessary to look at the test protocol established with the partner of the German organization, electrive.com. In fact, the comparison does not consist of an analysis of the average consumption and charging values of each vehicle, it goes beyond that. The P3 protocol particularly values the charging curve for each vehicle, that is, the evolution of the charging power during the same charging session. In fact, two vehicles that will have the same maximum load capacity, e.g. a peak of 150 kW, do not necessarily have the same load curve and therefore the same ability to quickly regain range.
The organization also provides a real range rating for each vehicle tested. This is very different from the WLTP certification, the European standard that most manufacturers communicate about. The comparison refers to the ADAC Ecotest, again a measurement carried out by an eponymous independent German body, more in line with real use. All this data is then weighted to give a single measurement index: P3CI (P3 Charging Index).
Although it offers a single classification, the P3 organization distinguishes between three categories of vehicles:
- Luxury cars (over 65,000 euros)
- Premium cars (from 35,000 to 65,000 euros)
- Compact (less than 35,000 euros)
A simple look at the rankings reveals that among the most expensive vehicles are often the most durable electric cars. In fact, the five luxury models all appear, without exception, in this top 10. On the other hand, only Mercedes manages to disturb the hegemony of the SUVs from Kia and Hyundai, two vehicles with a really interesting ratio between quality and price. In fact, the Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 not only benefit from correct consumption, but also record charging capacity thanks to their 800 V architecture.
The protocol and its limits
A test protocol is necessarily biased, especially when it contains a weighting. As advanced as it is, the P3 comparison makes certain choices that should be questioned.
The first concerns the average speed. The P3 report uses ADAC data at this point. However, in its way of testing vehicles, it makes little sense for motorways at 130 km/h. This is probably why P3 doesn’t specify an average speed in the data in its tests, but it still has a big impact on consumption. At 130 km/h on a French highway, for example, it is reasonable to believe that an EQS would have a better average consumption than an EV6. At least that’s what we found in our own tests.
Then comes the issue of charging. Here too, the German organization does not indicate which network and under which conditions the charging phases were observed. But anyone who has ever tried fast charging networks, be it Fastned, Ionity or TotalEnergies, knows that the vehicle is not the only factor that determines charging power. The terminal also plays an important role.
There is also no question of weather conditions in the German comparison, but as we have already mentioned in our file devoted to the behavior of electric cars in winter, not all are equal in relation to the cold. In more delicate climatic conditions, for example, the first place of the EV6 can be questioned, as it does not (yet) have a battery preconditioning mode.
Finally, the study ignores the equipment part of each vehicle. In fact, to take only the Ioniq that we know well from having tested it for a long time, its autonomy differs by about thirty kilometers depending on whether you choose 19 or 20 inch rims. But here, all the tested vehicles do not start on equal footing.
Should we trust the results of the comparison?
Although neither exhaustive nor even methodologically scientific, the P3 comparison is not only a serious indicator, but also useful. Its main virtue is to highlight concepts about which manufacturers communicate very little, starting with the charging curve, which is crucial in determining the efficiency of an electric car.
On the other hand, as complete as it is, this study must be viewed with some hindsight. The importance that P3 attaches to each vehicle’s recharging capacity allows certain “poor learners” of autonomy to compensate for the low level of their consumption with a large recharging capacity (Porsche Taycan, to name just one).
On the other hand, given the difficulty of actually comparing vehicles in terms of autonomy, P3’s work deserves praise.