Opel Ampera-e range calculator

Opel Ampera-e range calculator

 

Now the Opel Ampera-e has an online range calculator.

 

The range calculator that Opel made for the Ampera-e uses the WLTP test cycle, which is very useful not only for Opel Ampera-e’s potential buyers, but also for the Chevrolet Bolt EV – since it’s essentially the same car.

 

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).

 

 

Let’s see how this new test cycle is performed.

 

WLTC driving cycle for a Class 3 vehicle

 

WLTC Class 3 test cycle

 

Now that you know how the WLTP is performed, let’s see how does the Opel Ampera-e behave.

 

External

Temperature

Range by Speed with Heating/Cooling on

Range by Speed with Heating/Cooling off

Low

Medium

High

Extra High

Low

Medium

High

Extra High

-20º C

167 km

242 km

256 km

210 km

463 km

432 km

382 km

253 km

-10º C

180 km

256 km

269 km

217 km

470 km

439 km

388 km

257 km

0º C

240 km

316 km

319 km

245 km

507 km

473 km

418 km

277 km

10º C

357 km

412 km

393 km

281 km

549 km

512 km

453 km

300 km

20º C

448 km

472 km

434 km

300 km

565 km

527 km

466 km

309 km

30º C

371 km

422 km

399 km

284 km

551 km

515 km

455 km

301 km

40º C

269 km

368 km

361 km

268 km

538 km

502 km

444 km

294 km

 

Did you noticed anything strange?

 

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.

This is the reason why I think that for extremely cold places, like Canada or Norway, maybe the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Opel Ampera-e isn’t the best electric car. However, if you can get through the winter by using just the heated seats, this is a great car.

If you do use the heater, you might go further if you drive faster, so that the heater is on for the less time possible. 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 confident that GM will introduce a much more efficient heater (heat pump) to its electric car in the 2018 model year.

What do you think? Are the more than 4.000 people who already ordered this electric car in Norway aware of how much inefficient its heater is?! A 64 % drop in range is no joke…

 

 

More info:

http://www.opel.de/fahrzeuge/ampera-e/uebersicht/partials/reichweite/reichweitensimulator.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldwide_harmonized_Light_vehicles_Test_Procedure

Pedro Lima

More than natural resources, are wasted human resources that bothers me the most. That’s why I’m a strong advocate of a society based on cooperation, not competition, that helps every individual to reach his full potential so that he can contribute back to society. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.

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12 Responses

  1. Knut7 says:

    I’ll repeat what I wrote to you in that FB-group here.

    Are you sure 167km is a bad result and that the heater is not suited for cold places? Have we got WLTP data from other cars with heat pump? A heatpump isn’t very effective at -20*C. I’m not sure your statement is correct:
    “This is the reason why I think that for extremely cold places, like Canada or Norway, maybe the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Opel Ampera-e isn’t the best electric car. ”
    This might very well be the best electric car available for these conditions? At temperatures around 0*C the heatpump is way more efficient, and other cars should have an advantage.

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Hi Knut.

      You can compare how much the heater influences the range with the Renault Zoe.

      Let’s not forget that with -20º C outside, you’ll probably driving very slow due to snow falling and icy roads.

  2. RNMentropy says:

    Only 167 km range is very little, I agree.
    But let me show you why that’s irrelevant:
    167 km / 18.9 km/h = 8h 50 m trip
    Does anyone spend that much time inside a car WITHOUT stopping…?

    I really, really like your blog, but your Achilles’ heel as a blogger are your apples to oranges comparisons. 🙂

    A more or less decent comparison would be:
    Zoe, 60 km/h constant, -10 ºC, 17″ wheels = 225 km (3h45 driving!)
    Ampera-e, WLTC high (for comparable average speed), -10ºC = 269 km (4h45 driving)
    With those driving times, again irrelevant

    Only 20% more km with 50% more battery? Big difference.
    50% more battery but 144 kg (10%) heavier. Very relevant at those speeds.

    So, as you can see, the Opel/Chevy’s heater is indeed less inefficient but absolutely irrelevant.
    Chevy saved us all money.

    PS.- An engineer is a person that does 1 thing for 1 cent that any person could do for 1€ 😉

  3. Knut7 says:

    RMNentropy mentions duration, I talked about that in the FB-group, but forgot about it here. Driving almost 9 hours with a 40*C temperature difference, is that bad?

    The Zoe calculator doesn’t seem to use WLTP protocol/data, does it?.So comparing data between these two range calculators is difficult for two reasons.

    1. The heatpump is less efficient at -20 than -10*C. Knowing the The difference in consumtion between a heatpump and resistive heating at -10*C will be way less at -20*C.

    2. The WLTP test cycle includes a lot of stop and go, with lots of variations in speed. Average speed for the High-cycle is 60,6km/h, but the max speed is 97,4km/h. We can chose speed=60km/h in the Zoe calculator, but that seems to be 60km/h constant, with no variations in speed. Of course the car that does a lot of stop/go and maxes out at 97,4km/h, averaging at 60,6km/h will have way higher consumption than the car that just does 60km/h flat.

    We need comparable data for the competition to say anything about how efficient the Bolt/A-e is. Driving only 167km (104 miles) in -20*C sounds bad. Driving around (slowly) for almost 9 hours with a 40*C difference in temperature sound pretty good to me.

    We need the WLTP data for the competitors

    • RNMentropy says:

      Knut7, because the Zoe calculator is not based on WLTC’s I wrote “A more or less decent comparison would be”.

      And I agree with your reasoning regarding the heatpump and speed comparisons, my thoughts exactly.

  4. Pedro Lima says:

    You both have reasonable arguments. Thanks for sharing them.

    We have to wait until every automaker adopt the WLTP cycle to make better comparisons.

    Yet, as an “efficiency junkie”, I see the lack of a heat pump as a major failure. The same way as I see the lack of heated seats in some electric cars.

  5. Apkungen says:

    I usually like the articles here but this one has so many wrong conclusions I don’t know where to start.

    First of all, the “very low” speed is at an average speed of around less than 20km/h. Check the chart. 167km range will mean that the car will run for around 9h before it needs to be charged, probably better than most gasoline cars at -20C. Off course 9h at -20C will deplete the battery.

    Secondly: A heat pump won’t do shit at -20C. The heat pump is as most efficient when the “temperature lift” is as small as possible. From let’s say 5C to 20C the heat pump will need like 1/4 of what an electric heater needs. But the bigger the lift gets the worse gets the coefficient of performance (COP). And furthermore, at freezing temperatures, the evaporator will need so much defrosting there is no reason to use the heat pump any more, this happens around -7C.

    At “high speed” which is at an average of 70km/h the range will be 257km which is pretty good I think! It means you can always get at least 250km of range even during the coldest days off winter in northern Scandinavia!

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Yes, it’s true that at very low temperatures the advantage of a heat pump is greatly reduced. However, not every heat pump is created equal. There are newer heat pumps that work at -30º C with “positive” COP (1,1). Technology has been improving, we can’t compare old heat pumps with the newer generation.

      “In cold climates

      An air source heat pump designed specifically for very cold climates can extract useful heat from ambient air as cold as -20F or even -25F (-30C). Manufacturers include Mitsubishi and Fujitsu.[3] One Mitsubishi model provides heat at -35C, but the Coefficient of performance (COP) drops to 0.9, indicating that resistance heating would be more efficient at that temperature. At -30C, the COP is 1.1, according to the manufacturer’s data,[4] although the manufacturer’s marketing literature also claims a minimum COP of 1.4 and performance to -30C.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_source_heat_pumps

      That been said, the -20º C was just an extreme example, however even at 0º C the difference between using the heater (240 km) and not using (507 km) is very significant, it’s 267 km (53 %) less.

      Sorry if the quality of the article disappoints you, I agree that I should add more data to make my point easier to understand.

      For those who think that so many hours driving make the comparison unrealistic, I remember that in Portugal I have been in multiple situations in Winter trips to the big mountain (Serra da Estrela), where I had to wait many hours until the roads were cleaned and I could get through.

      • Terawatt says:

        That’s a relevant point, I suppose. Mountain crossings in winter in any car do however require extra precautions, like bringing blankets, food and lots of warm clothes. You shouldn’t however assume that you can put the climate control at 25 C and sit in the car in your t-shirt shirt waiting many hours. 🙂 In that situation you’d use the heated seats and warm clothes, and coffee if you’re me, to stay comfy while using only a small fraction of the energy required to heat the whole cabin to a homely temperature.

        Besides, these days information technology makes it easy to know before you get there if the road will be open. So you perhaps stop at a roadside restaurant or something similar rather than sit in the car up in the mountain waiting for the road to open. This isn’t entirely foolproof of course, but the Ampera has the range to turn back if necessary. With the LEAF that was a real problem, chargers being far enough apart that you couldn’t start towards one and then decide, three quarters along the route, to turn back again.

        Since the Ampera-e is more aggressively priced in Norway than Germany I expect it to be a huge hit here, but I’m not sure how well it will sell on the continent. At €40k AFTER rebate in Germany it’s actually ten percent more expensive than in Norway, where it doesn’t get any rebate but is exempt of car taxes that would for any comparable ICE easily amount to €15k or more.

      • apkungen says:

        9h of heating at -20 will drain any car’s battery. Take the Zoe 40 yourself up north to -20C and drive it at 18km/h, I doubt it will go farther than 100km.

        Talking about mountain crossings like every person does them all the time you sound like a petrol head talking abour their 1000km trips they do without stopping every other day or so ;).

        I am working with energy efficiency in buildings and up here in Sweden we have lots of heat pumps in buildings. It seams as if you can get a “positive” COP even at low temperatures but often that information comes from the manufacturer themselves, in reality the energy needed for defrosting the evaporator is a lot greater than in the test labs where they have a perfectly new evaporator with almost a nanotechnology surface trying to get as little condensing water to stick on the evaporator as possible. But fast the evaporator gets dirty and in time the surface gets old meaning that effect will decrease, more water will stick and turn into ice and thereby more energy will be needed for defrosting.

        New freezers for example don’t need defrosting people say, that’s not true. They need defrosting but the freezer does that itself. It heats up the evaporator so that the water melts and the interior of the freezer heats up slightly and then it cools itself down again.

        Anyway, soon the Ampera-e will be out in Norway and I am sure Björn Nyland will take it through the mountains in winter climate (hopefully before summer) and then we’ll see who’s right 😉

  6. Terawatt says:

    Since the energy a heat pump uses is itself dissipated as heat, but this heat doesn’t count towards the COP, it’s hard in the real world not to beat resistance heating in all conditions, in terms of how much heat we got and how much electricity we drew from the battery. The greater problem is that your heating system can’t pump enough heat when you really need it (when it’s extremely cold) unless it’s dimensioned to deliver ten times what you normally need. So it either becomes very expensive, or you’re stuck with a bad heater when it’s really cold.

    I don’t think this car needs a heat pump to work well in Norway, and if it gets one I hope it’ll be in addition to resistive heating. This still gives greater heating capability the warmer it is, so it’s kind of a stupid design in that way, but it would save quite a lot of energy over the years, with temperatures being between 0 C and 20 C perhaps 70% or more of the time (in most of Norway, especially densely populated parts).

    The lowest theoretical range is interesting to contemplate, but it’s obviously a result of the low cycle including a lot of time standing still, and low speed when not. Nobody drives in rush traffic for nine hours, at least not in Norway, so it’s simply not a realistic scenario. Any car, electric or otherwise, has a range of zero at a speed of zero with heat running, but this isn’t a reason to worry..!

  7. sapcmc says:

    Let´s not make a mountain out of a molehill.

    We are looking at the very worse case scenario here. How often will that happen even in the Nordic countries? 2 weeks in a year?

    Really. I lived for a few years in Norway and Russia (St. Petersburg area) and although -20 and -25C temperatures occur they seldom do during winter and when they do it is for just a few days.

    If you had to choose between an Opel Ampera or a ZOE I guess the answer would be pretty easy in favor of the Opel ….

    There are no perfect cars around and never will at a fair price it is all a mater of giving up some bits here to gain some others there.

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