Why some new electric cars will have less range in winter

After the Audi Q4 e-tron, it’s the Volkswagen ID.4’s turn to skip the heat pump. A choice on the part of the German brand, which still suffers the full weight of the shortage of semiconductors.

Source: Volkswagen

Are we leaving here forever? For almost three years now, the automotive industry has been punished by a major shortage of semiconductors, caused by the Covid-19 epidemic and a series of incarcerations. In fact, many factories closed then, stopping the production of components essential for making cars. If today, the situation has slightly improved, manufacturers are still suffering from this shortage, which may end in 2024 according to some specialists.

A pending option

result, production times for new cars are getting longer, while they are directly affected by the shortage of semiconductors. They are everywhere in cars, whether for screens and all electronic systems, to heated seats. So some manufacturers even closed their factories at the height of the crisis, such as the Volkswagen group which suspended production of its ID.3 and ID.4 as well as the Cupra Born at its Zwickau site.

Today, the situation has slightly improved, as the automotive market is also starting to pick up. But everything will not return to normal yet. Brands must make choices and temporarily remove some options from their catalog, to reduce waiting times for customers. And among those withdrawn from sale, we can mention the heat pump.

Static image, Color: Florett silver

At Audi, for example, it is currently unavailable on the Q4 e-tron for a few days worldwide. In France, the brand specified that this device can no longer be ordered for an indefinite period. But the SUV with the rings is not the only one concerned, because now it is also the turn of the Volkswagen ID.4, as the site claims. Drive a Tesla. All you have to do is look at the configurator to realize that the heat pump is no longer offered. Volkswagen’s other electric cars also seem to be affected.

We contacted Volkswagen France, who provided us with some additional details, explaining to us that some options significantly slow down production times. And to best satisfy customers, Volkswagen is adjusting some options on the vehicles to ensure production as soon as possible, and the heat pump option is one of them.

What is the impact for customers?

Everything indicates that the heat pump will be replaced by a classic resistance heating system, as is the case with the Audi Q4 e-tron. But then, what exactly will it change for customers? If an email from the German brand and sent by Drive a Tesla Canada claims that the absence of this system has no effect on autonomy, nothing more certain.

In fact, the heat pump is precisely designed to optimize the consumption of electric vehicles. For this, this device uses the cold surrounding air to change it into warm air, using the calories in the latter. It is also possible to do the reverse in summer, using the same operation. It should be noted that although there is no heat pump option, the car is equipped with a compressor for summer air conditioning that plays the same role. That’s why in winter the difference in autonomy will be felt.

Thus, this option, offered on many models including the newly restyled DS 3 E-Tense, the Renault Mégane E-Tech or the Kia EV6, reduces consumption by 3 to 4 times compared to conventional heating. valid, then only 500 watts are needed on average to run the heat pump, compared to 2,000 to 3,000 for a resistance system.

Logically, this therefore affects the vehicle’s fuel consumption, and in its autonomy. And if it is not reflected in the data announced by the manufacturers, it is because the certification tests for the WLTP cycle are carried out without the use of heating or air conditioning. The purpose is not to consider temperature management.

As a reminder, Volkswagen claims ID.4 a range between 345 and 520 kilometers depending on the version. If nothing has been confirmed by the brand, ID.3 and ID.5 should also be affected by the unavailable heat pump, while it is also not visible in the configurator.

It is also possible that the shortage of these heat pumps will affect other manufacturers. So be careful, if you buy a new car with a heat pump, to confirm its availability when ordering and when receiving the car.

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