The Tesla EVs generate a lot of press, and deservedly so. They’re best in class, with appealing designs, the longest ranges, and very high safety ratings. They’re also packed with technology and are generally operating on an advanced level. Some of the other EVs are also worthy of attention. In this particular case, a Kia Niro EV was driven up to Loveland Pass in Colorado.
In parts of the trip, the grade is 6.7% and the summit’s altitude is about 11,900 feet above sea level (3,655 m). Driving the Niro upward used about 113 miles worth of range to cover 77 miles to reach the summit. The electric Niro has regenerative power technology though, so on the way down it recoups some electricity. If you are interested in EVs, at this point in the video, there’s some suspense because you might be wondering if the regen can recover all the electricity consumed by the vehicle’s long ascent.
On the way down, 9-10 miles worth of range is used to cover about 46-47 miles of travel. This is due to the use of the regen and lower electricity consumption when coasting downhill.
Obviously, the regenerative capacity of EVs that have it is an advantage for them over their gas-powered counterparts, because the ICE mobiles can’t do this.
The electric Niro comes with a battery heater to keep the battery warm to preserve driving range. It also has a heat pump which uses the drivetrain instead of drawing electricity from the battery.
One video commenter remarked that the Niro’s city driving range is much higher than the highway range, “We bought this car in July. I drove it from Seattle to Denver in Eco mode which was fine. We love this car for the range (real world 300 city – 238 highway is about right). We have driven Denver to Vail and back without charging and Denver to Steamboat Springs using only about 56% of range. My wife loves it because it looks like a normal car. The base trim is 40k with the winter driving package and with Colorado and full Federal tax credits you knock $12.5 k off that. That makes the economics of this car much more palatable at around $28k.”
A third-party car test like this is interesting in a number of ways. First, it comes from someone who is not an employee of the company so that bias is not present. Second, the video does not promote the vehicle, it merely documents a driving experience. Third, because there is no agenda behind it, this type of media can be more creative in its inquiry and expression.
The video appears almost designed to refute an anti-EV myth that driving some distance in cold weather and altitude on a single charge is not possible or would somehow be very inconvenient or very risky. The Niro EV does very well on this test, with plenty of range left after the trip.
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