this equipment that undermines autonomy

What do consumers in an electric car and its gasoline equivalent cost in use? Adac conducted the investigation.

Many motorists already know that electric consumers, especially in winter, can reduce the range of electric cars to a greater or lesser extent. But they very often forget the overconsumption caused by this equipment on thermal models. Their power requires the alternator which must also keep the 12 V battery at its best level. This is only possible with the help of the thermal block which will have to provide the necessary power.

For the German Automobile Club, the rule is simple: 100 watts of power per 100 km cause an additional consumption of 0.1 liters of fuel on a gasoline car, and 0.1 kilowatt hour of electricity with an electric vehicle.

Heating as the biggest consumer

And in this game, on a gasoline engine, the excess fuel consumption due to heating with a power of 2000 W can reach up to 2 liters per 100 km. Or 2.80 euros (average price per liter of 1.40 euros in France and Germany at the end of January 2021).

What about an electric car? At the EDF unit rate per kWh in full hour (0.1799 euro), 100 kilometers with the heating in service on an EV weighs 0.36 euros … and lose 15 kilometers of autonomy on a model that would consume around 13 kWh / 100 km.

All heating equipment is a major consumer

Cars, regardless of the energy that powers them, carry more and more heating and / or de-icing equipment.

The windshield and the rear window combine a power of 1,800 W. For 100 km driven, the consumption of these elements would cost 2.24 euros on a petrol car, but only 0.28 euros on an equivalent electric model.

For a heated seat (power of 100 W), the expense is only 0.14 euro for 100 km with a thermal, and 0.018 on an EV. The heated steering wheel (50 W) consumes twice as much. On an electric car, the simultaneous use of a heated seat and steering wheel over 100 km would barely lose 1,125 km of range.

The heated mirrors (40 W) are even less greedy than the heated steering wheel.

What about other consumers?

Apart from heating equipment, electrical devices on board passenger cars generally consume little.

The most energy-intensive is ventilation. In the intermediate position (power 170 kW), however, it barely burns more electricity than a heated seat and steering wheel. At the same level, we find the maximum consumption of a cigarette lighter socket.

The low beams are located at a lower level. As for the radio and the GPS system, Adac confirms that their influence is negligible. Between them, they would only lose 225 meters of range over 100 kilometers traveled with an electric car.

Then. in WConso ess. over 100 kmCost / 100 km on a gasolineCost / 100 km on an electric vehicle
Heater2,0002 liters€ 2.80€ 0.36
Rear window8000.8L€ 1.12€ 0.14
Ventilation1700.17L€ 0.24€ 0.03
Headlights1250.125L€ 0.18€ 0.02
Front fog lights1100.11L€ 0.15€ 0.02
Heated seat1000.1 l€ 0.14€ 0.02
USB plug1000.1 l€ 0.14€ 0.02
Heated steering wheel500.05L€ 0.07€ 0.01
De-icing mirrors400.04L€ 0.06€ 0.01
Cigar lighter1800.18L€ 0.06€ 0.03
Rear lights with fog lights350.035L€ 0.05€ 0.01
Radio200.02L€ 0.03€ 0.00
GPS100.01L€ 0.01€ 0.00

NB: For the heating and the sockets (USB, cigar lighter), the values ​​indicated are maximum

Author’s opinion

This work by Adac already serves as a reminder that the use of electric consumers on a gasoline or diesel car is not free, far from it. While it doesn’t seem to affect range, it’s even a lot more expensive than an electric car.

Another advantage of the calculations of the German Automobile Club: deducing the theoretical decrease in range on an electric vehicle, depending on the equipment in service.

While most appliances have linear instantaneous consumption, this is not the case for heating. In addition, the efficiency of the latter depends on the technology used. A heat pump will be much less greedy than a resistance.

It is unlikely today to observe a maximum linear consumption over one hour in an electric car for heating. In a thermal model, the calories recovered from the cooling circuit are most often the only source of heat input on board. That said, the figures communicated by Adac appear a little curious for this equipment in particular.

In any case, the German organization recommends, in order to save money in winter, not to abuse electrical consumers. More particularly on diesel or gasoline models. And this without sacrificing safety.


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