Range? part deux

By | March 29, 2015

My last post was concerning an article I read on CleanTechnica that more range wan’t really needed.
I had too much to say and too little space to say it, so here are some more thoughts on why more range is a requirement for the wider acceptance of electric vehicles to happen.

I drive a Nissan Leaf and am able to leverage to crazy low running costs and excellent driving characteristics of its electric drive.
However, I am absolutely not a EV driver.
I drive my car just like I would drive any car and make no excuses for its range or limitations.
I do not eke out every watt of power, I don’t hyper mile, I don’t crawl away from lights or junctions and I keep up with traffic flow.
My pet peeve on the road is the hyper-miler smugly driving along at 47 mph on the highway dramatically increasing the fuel consumption of hundreds of other drivers all trying to get to work on time.
I enjoy the instant acceleration on the EV and never use Eco mode.
So my Leaf gives me a pretty constant 70-75 miles of useful range – presuming I am very sure of the charging options at my destination.

That kind of useful range means that my effective journey radius can only be 35-40 miles – unless I’m really sure of charging options.

A useful journey radius of 35-40 miles can only be a city car.

I’m sure other EV drivers will say they have driven further, so have I. But only when I am dead sure that I can get enough power to get back.
The last time I drove 65 miles one way, I only has 110V 12A to recharge. It took almost a day and half to get enough charge to get home. I knew my visit was all weekend so there was no issue. But it would have been impossible to leave early.
Destination charging would be great, but that is extremely limited here.
High speed charging would be great, but we have two L3 options in my area. Both are in Nissan dealerships which are closed outside of business hours.

Sadly, my Leaf only fits specific driving conditions. It dramatically impacts my useful range and flexibility. No amount of planning can avoid that lack of useful charging infrastructure.
Even worse is that its limited range means that a massive increase in high speed charging infrastructure would be needed to usefully lessen that impact.

All that to say – absolutely, definitely, a 200 mile range EV is required to make it a fully useful car.
I would go one step further though.
A 200 mile range EV – matched to a coordinated network of high speed charging stations are required to make EVs are real replaced for a gas car.