EV test lash-up hits

Hyundai and Kia

Hyundai Kona Electric, front action city
Hyundai Kona Electric, charging
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, motor
Kia e-Niro, 2018, front
Kia e-Niro, 2018, charging

SOME you win, some you lose - just ask Hyundai.

Only weeks after being named Electric Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year in the Green Fleet awards, Hyundai has been forced into an embarrassing climb down over the expected range of the recently launched Kona Electric.

And the same applies to its sister company, Kia, who's new e-Niro shares the Kona Electric's electric power systems.

But it's not the Korean makers' fault - the blame lies with testers who put the Kona Electric and e-Niro through the EU's new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and certified them as having a combined all-electric driving range (AER) of as much as 301 miles when fitted with the higher-powered 64kWh power train or 195 miles with the 39kWh version.

But the testers got it wrong and the twin companies have now had to issue new figures which credit the higher powered Hyundai models with a range of 279 miles and 180 miles for the less powerful models. The Kia e-Niro will only be available in the UK with the 64kWh powertrain, but the company has been forced to correct its claimed range from 301 to 282 miles.

The differences are far from huge, but Hyundai are not best pleased with the testers and say: "Hyundai is concerned to have learned that the officially recognised driving range of Kona Electric must be corrected and is taking this matter seriously."

Meanwhile, Kia says it is "proactively communicating with customers who may have already ordered a new e-Niro, to explain this discrepancy."

According to Kia the inconsistency in the test cycles has been identified due to its ongoing homologation work for another new Kia electric vehicle. Hyundai says that it is monitoring the situation closely and looking for a full explanation from the testing organisation.

All new cars sold in the European Union are now subject to the new WLTP tests, which use a standardised test programme set and overseen by designated testing authorities. The laboratory-based tests involve cars being ‘driven' over longer distances at higher speeds, and take into account more variables.

This latest testing procedure is designed to be tougher and provide more realistic fuel consumption figures for petrol and diesel cars and range estimates for electrically-powered vehicles.

Both Hyundai and Kia have now revealed that in testing the Kona Electric and e-Niro, the independent organisation overseeing the process accidentally provided an incorrect testing methodology and then approved the results it generated.

This led to the new models being tested for a disproportionate length of time on the WLTP ‘urban' cycle - comprising lower overall vehicle speeds and a reduced energy requirement - resulting in an overestimation of the two cars' all-electric range.

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