citroen c-zero.automotiveIT

The Citroen C-Zero has a shortened electric range in winter, Dekra says (Photo: Citroen)

Electric vehicles have a much shorter driving range when the weather turns cold, according to tests conducted by Dekra, a German testing and certification company.

Dekra conducted simulated summer and winter tests on a Citroen C-Zero EV. It found the car had an electric range of 138 km at 22 degrees centigrade. At minus 5, however, it only managed 65 km. Under summer conditions, the air conditioning was switched on, while in the winter simulation, the car's heating system was active.

"It is striking that, with summer temperatures, an electric vehicle clearly manages energy more effectively than a combustion engine," said Andreas Richter, head of Dekra's electric mobility competence center. "But when it freezes, efficiency clearly drops."

The sharply different conditions showed that, in summer, 56 pc of the battery's energy can be used for mechanical propulsion, while in winter that percentage was reduced to a mere 22 pc.

Dekra cited sharply reduced battery storage capacity as the main reason for the weak winter performance of the tested EVs.