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EV Range reporting

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by Rifleman, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. Rifleman

    Rifleman Now owns 2 Model S's!!!

    Nov 29, 2011
    Harrison Ohio
    One of the problems facing EV adoption is range anxiety. When I first started looking at the Model S, I thought that the 160 mile varient would be plenty for me, as my daily drive is only 80 miles round trip, with 1 day of 100 miles per week. When I ran the numbers for charging in normal mode, and driving the speed limit, as well as using the HCAC, I discovered that the 40kw Model S will be cutting it really close, and may not have enough range for my needs. I am an EV enthusiest, and was able to figure this out on my own, but the average car buyer is not, and should not need to be. For the average person to be willing to buy an EV, they need to know that it will have the range that they need, and they need to know this without breaking out a calculator.

    The problem is, EV manufactures do not report their vehicles range in a format that is useful to the average consumer. For example, Nissan says that the leaf will go 100 miles, but it is common knowlege that 70 miles is a much more accurate number. The 40 kw Model S is rated at 160 miles, but when you factor in charging in normal mode, as well as driving above 55 mph, we will probably be looking at 110-120 miles actual range.

    Right now, ICE vehicles report 2 number, city mileage and highway mileage. I would propose a similar system for EV's, with the first number being the minimum normal operating range (assuming charging in normal mode, driving at 70 mph, and using HVAC). The second number would be the maximum ferry range (No HVAC, Charged in range mode, and traveling at 55 mph.) This number would reflect the farthest that a driver could expect to take their vehicle on a one way trip.

    For example, the Leaf would report as 70/100 or the 40 kw Model S would report as 110/160.

    A system like this would not only be more honest on the part of the manufactures, but would result in less consumer confusion, and eventually more people making the switch to EV's.

    The real question is, what can the EV community do to encourage the companies leading the way to agree on a standard, and all follow it? (they cannot even all agree on a standard for a EVSE connection, much less something like range reporting)
  2. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

    Apr 3, 2009
    That could work, and it would allow companies to still tout the higher numbers. The problem with the City/Highway quoting though, is that #1 most real-world driving is STILL well under that, and #2 with EVs it would be reversed since they'll likely perform better (more range) in the city than highway.

    Wonder if sellers of used EVs will say stuff like "yeah 100k mikes, but they're all city!" (vs the highway ICE people quote)
  3. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009. EV miles: 233,000

    Jul 16, 2009
    Redmond, WA
    #3 ChadS, Jan 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
    I agree this is a huge issue (in fact I recently wrote a blog on it; Never Wait for a Charge | Plug In America). Some manufacturers, like Coda, will sometimes quote a range. Others, like Nissan, have published charts showing range in various conditions. That helps with the few consumers that do a lot of online research, but frankly the "100 miles" figure gets quoted over and over, and is what most people hear. (In fact they hear it so often they think it's a hard limit and are generally surprised to hear Teslas go farther, and wonder how it's done). Marketing departments are fearful of listing a number that's smaller than the competition, because they correctly assume that consumers will apply the same discount rate to all numbers they hear from manufacturers.

    So I think it's up to us consumers to note the "minimum range"; which I figure is about 2/3 of the EPA range. And we need to tell them in a way that's simple to understand and remember. So I tell people they can "always count on" 50 miles in the Leaf even if they speed in really bad weather; and when they first get one they should take the gas car if they plan to drive farther than that. If they follow that plan, they will never run out of electricity, and never have to wait for a charge.

    Of course I also note that as they learn the car, they will sometimes be able to double that number if they want--learning about all the factors that affect range is optional; not something they have to do to start driving electric. Too many consumers hear EV enthusiasts going on and on about how they wring every last mile out of their cars, and assume that pushing the car to its limits is a necessary part of the ownership experience, rather than something experienced owners want to do because they really prefer driving electric to firing up the old gas car.
  4. strider

    strider Active Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    NE Oklahoma
    My brain is a bit fuzzy this morning but isn't EPA planning on reporting a more real-world range number, kind of like an MPG/combined number for ICE's?

    And ICE manufacturers do this all the time. They quote highway mpg in their ads that are very difficult to achieve.
  5. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yeah, but that doesn't matter as much. The only impact is you have to visit a gas station sooner than you had hoped. Also they don't typically advertise range for a gas car; they give you the MPG and tank capacity buried somewhere in the specs. Most people don't do the math, because it isn't a major criterion in selecting gas cars.
  6. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    May 17, 2009
    I think they should do a realistic highway range since that's what most people are concerned about (55 mph no heating or AC as best case up to 65 mph with AC on for example). While this wouldn't cover all possibilities, it would give people a better general idea of travel distance.

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