Opel Ampera-e Online Range Calculator Unveiled, Raises Questions About Cold Weather Range

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The online range calculator for the Opel Ampera-e (the rebranded Chevy Bolt EV) is now active, bringing with it a number of important questions. For example, is the range of the Opel Ampera-e truly as affected by cold weather as it seems to be?

All vehicles, electric or otherwise, have their driving range negatively affected by cold weather, especially when the intensive use of an electric heater is factored in. That said, the Opel Ampera-e does seem to be hit particularly hard by very low temperatures — going by the online range calculator anyway. Real-world experience has yet to confirm the estimates, as far as I know, but chime in if you have some experience to share.

As this news came to my attention via Push EVs, I’ll just quote a bit here from there: “Opel is one of the first automakers to adopt the WLTP cycle (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure). This test cycle is very similar to the one used by the EPA in the USA, which provides realistic range and efficiency figures, unlike the figures provided by the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle). … The range while driving at low speeds and extremely low temperatures depends a lot if you use the heater or not. With the heater off you get to do 463 km, however if you turn it on you’ll only achieve 167 km, which is 296 km (64%) less.”

It should be remembered here that there’s some irony at play: the figures look particularly bad because they actually relate to the real world, unlike most of the EV range estimates you see in Europe. That said, Push EVs notes, “This wouldn’t happen in a Renault Zoe — as you can see in its online range calculator — since it has an efficient heat pump.”

I’m interested in hearing from any Chevy Bolt EV and Opel Ampera-a owners who are reading this — how does the car’s range hold up in the sort of cold you get in the Midwestern US and in the Great Lakes region?

While the Push EVs coverage speculates that Opel Ampera-e buyers in Norway may be unhappy about how the model performs in cold weather, the reality is that southern Norway, where most of the population lives, isn’t all that cold. So, I’m skeptical that it’ll be much of an issue there. There seem to have been a fair number of Chevy Bolt EV sales in Toronto, though, where it can get rather cold, so it’ll be interesting to see what buyers there have to say.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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