Volkswagen ID.3 sets its first range record
It travelled from Zwickau (Germany) to Schaffhausen (Switzerland) on a single charge.
These days only two kinds of records matter to carmakers. One, setting blistering lap times at some world-famous race track. And two, testing the range of an electric vehicle. Falling in the latter space is Volkswagen’s latest stint with the ID.3 – the first all-electric MEB-based car. One of the specimens left its birthplace in Zwickau (Germany) and travelled to Schaffhausen (Switzerland) on a single charge. That’s a distance of 531 kilometres, which is 26 per cent more than the WLTP-certified range of 420km. Here, check it out in the video:
Must have been a bespoke mule!
No. It was a series production ID.3 Pro Performance model with the 58 kWh battery, connected a 201bhp rear-mounted electric motor. For the record, Volkswagen also offers a 77 kWh battery with it, and that model can travel up to 549km (WLTP) on a single charge.
Must have taken a secret route!
Again, no. Volkswagen says that the route consisted entirely of public roads and highways, going through cities such as Bayreuth and Ulm. Math fans would love to know that 44 per cent of the journey was on highways and the remaining 56 per cent on country roads. With an average speed of 56kmph, the Volkswagen ID.3 completed the trip in about nine hours.
Does that mean WLTP reports are rubbish?
For the third time, no. There’s a specific process to get those WLTP range figures. They are more realistic as the testing procedure consists of routine driving conditions as well.
Don’t be! Here’s where you’ll get to join all the dots. To get that extra 111km range, what Volkswagen did was ask Swiss-native Felix Egolf to take the wheel. Why? He’s an expert on something called “hypermiling”. Originated in the USA, the term refers to driving a series production vehicle in a manner that minimises consumption and maximises efficiency.
The “hypermiler” practised a few tactics that not many would bother. Egolf regularly lifted off the accelerator and let the car coast. And, wherever possible, he minimised aerodynamic drag on the car by using the slipstream of trucks ahead. Neat! But then, he had all the time in the world!
Volkswagen points to a couple of other aspects which gives the range record more punch. The additional weight of the cameraman plus the equipment meant the total payload clocked approximately 250kg. Even some of the on-board gizmos, like the radio, ventilation, navigation and LED DRLs, were in use either temporarily or permanently.
The whole experiment points at two things. First, it is not what you drive but how you drive that matters. And second, the ID.3 has the potential of capturing a large share of the EV pie. What do you think?