Electric vehicles now rated by EQUA Index – Tesla 3 result

Electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions – obviously. They do have indirect emissions from upstream manufacturing, and in-use emissions from tyre and brake wear, but it is range and efficiency which are of direct practical importance to owners.

As range anxiety diminishes with larger batteries, the relative efficiency of EVs will become more important in choosing the best vehicle. More challenging, for car buyers, is weighing the advantages and disadvantages of EVs against traditional powertrains, as they decide whether to switch. As a result, Emissions Analytics has extended its EQUA Index programme to test these new powertrains in a comparable way, with our partners Motor Trend (www.motortrend.com/real-mpg).

Recently, we put the Tesla 3 through the standard EQUA Real Mpg fuel economy test in the California, which is the same test we put internal combustion engine vehicles and hybrids through. The Tesla performed well, achieving efficiency of 3.1 miles per kWh. While there is no ideal way to convert this to a miles-per-gallon equivalent, if the kWh are converted to gallons based on relative energy content, this makes 103.7 (US) mpg, 124.5 (Imperial) mpg or 2.27 litres per 100 km.

This was a good performance, but not best-in-class. The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt we tested achieved 122.2 US mpg and the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq EV reached an impressive 151.8 mpg.

This is significant because it shows that the electric vehicle market is not just dominated by one player, but there are now a number of rival vehicles, with varying performance – information the consumer should have when making a purchase decision. Emissions Analytics’ EQUA Real Mpg data for the US market can be found at usa.equaindex.com, and the equivalent European data at www.equaindex.com.

At the same time as these developments, behind the scenes, Emissions Analytics has initiated a process to formalise its methods and evolve it to be relevant for testing the latest vehicles, including European diesels under Real Driving Emissions and EVs. In November, the inaugural workshop of this “CEN” process was held in Brussels. CEN, or Comité Européen de Normalisation, is a framework for standardisation of products and techniques across the European Union. After a period of open scrutiny and discussion, the testing methodology could become an official voluntary standard, for any organisation to use.

Emissions Analytics is undertaking this as part of its commitment to the recently-launched not-for-profit global alliance called “Allow Independent Road-testing” or AIR (www.allowair.org). As part of this, we want to open up our methodology to third parties to conduct consistent tests, in order to grow the global database of comparable results.

AIR is a separate entity from Emissions Analytics and structured as an alliance allowing like-minded organisations to sign up to the principles of independent testing and labelling. Any organisation interested in finding out more about the objectives and opportunities for membership, should contact Massimo Fedeli at mdefeli@allowair.org.

The link between these two recent events is that the ever-growing complexity of car choices needs an accurate, fair, trustworthy standard for measuring efficiency and emissions. Consumer trust must be rebuilt and cities need good tools to meet the air quality goals