Which new electric vehicles boast the longest lasting batteries?

  • AutoTrader has shared the findings from its annual #ElectricCarChallenge.
  • The online vehicle marketplace tested four new EVs to see what distances they could achieve on a single charge while travelling non-stop at 120km/h.
  • The EVs tested were the Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 Progressive, BMW iX1 xDrive30 xLine, Volvo XC40 Recharge Single Motor, and GWM Ora 400 GT Ultra Luxury,

When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs) one component is more important than anything else – the battery.

It is what distinguishes good electric vehicles from great ones, as it determines almost all of the key performance metrics, whether that be the 0-100km/h time, maximum driving range on a single charge, or the anticipated lifespan of the unit itself.

With more carmakers looking to electrify their fleets, as well as more options being made available locally despite issues like loadshedding and an adequate nationwide charging grid, not all EV batteries are made equal.

It is with this in mind that online marketplace AutoTrader has been running its annual #ElectricCarChallenge, looking to determine which of the standout new EVs each year is offering the most banh for buck when it comes to the capabilities of their batteries.

For this latest iteration of the Challenge, which was conducted in November of last year at Gerotek High-Speed Oval Track in Pretoria on a typically hot summer day (32 degrees celsius), AutoTrader selected four vehicles to test (pictured below, left to right).

These were the:

The four options run a fairly wide gamut, but all the EVs cost less than R2.5 million. If you eyes are watering at the price, as we noted during our review of the Jaguar I-PACE last year, the lifestyle that comes with owning an EV in South Africa is not a cheap one.

As for the parameters of the test, AutoTrader set about driving the EVs non-stop from 90 percent battery charge down to 10 percent, with each of the vehicles above having a typical range of between 199.9 kilometres to 254.7 kilometres.

If you are wondering why down to 10 percent, there is a reason for this. “In order to maintain good battery life, EVs should not be driven to lower than 10%,” noted AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie.

“The tests are based on South African conditions rather than the cooler European testing scenarios. In addition to setting a benchmark for EV variants, the aim is to produce a historical reference point upon which to look back and evaluate battery performance advancements year-on-year, as battery technology continues to evolve at pace,” he added regarding the purpose of the test.

The results for the four EVs, which traveled non-stop at 120km/h with the aircon set at 21 degrees celsius, is as follows:

EVBatteryAverage speedDistance coveredDriving time (hours, minutes, seconds)
Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 Progressive69.7kWh117.35km/h254.7km02:08:53
BMW iX1 xDrive30 xLine66,5kWh117.5km/h238.7km02:02:19
GWM Ora 400 GT Ultra Luxury63kWh105.25km/h199.9km01:34:49
Volvo XC40 Recharge Single Motor69kWh116.25km/h214.5km01:49:33

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the EV with the largest battery capacity that performed the best, although it is interested to not that the Volvo has a similar sized battery to the Mercedes-Benz, but did not get as close to it in performance as the BMW did.

To provide a reference point, AutoTrader also compared the performance from the #ElectricCarChallenge to the best selling new hybrid car in SA at the moment – the Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid XS.

“Emulating the typical South African daily commute of 44km, tests mimicking both highway driving (44km non-stop at national speed limit) and 44km stop-start city style driving, were conducted. The Corolla Cross produced a consumption of 6.7-litres/100km for highway driving. That equates to a range of 537km from the hybrid’s 36-litre tank. Figures were even more favourable for city driving, where the car posted 4.6-litres/100km, or a range of 782km,” it confirmed in a release shared with Hypertext.

While EVs hold several environmental advantages, it looks like hybrid vehicles offer some respite over any range anxiety that may exist for electric vehicles.

That said, the technology for this segment is likely to evolve at a rapid pace, especially as countries like China and Germany are pushing their car makers to make significant strides regarding battery performance.


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