TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

EVangelism and the 40 mile statistic

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by markwj, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,664
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I keep hearing the statistic "78 percent of U.S. vehicles cover less than 40 miles a day" as a reason not to be anxious about the range of EVs, but remain unconvinced by the logic.

    Does it mean that 78 percent of U.S. vehicle owners NEVER drive more than 40 miles a day? Surely not? I'm guessing it means "on average", or talks specifically about daily commutes and not weekend / holiday trips.

    As a statistic to promote the use of plug-in Range Extended electric vehicles, fine and excellent. But, to use it as a reason not to be worried about the range of a pure EV that goes 100 miles is surely avoiding the point - what about that time (once a week, once a month, once a year, whatever) you NEED to drive more than 40 miles?

    Surely the better statistic would be how often people need to drive MORE than 100 miles? We can then discuss alternatives (hire car, second car, fast charging, destination charging, etc) for those trips.

    Even driving all the way around my country (Hong Kong), is a trip of 125 miles - so the range of modern EVs will be absolutely fine for people here so long as they have the opportunity to charge while the car is parked overnight or during the day at work. I literally cannot think of any normal driver in Hong Kong who does more than 100 miles in a day - except for Taxis and Buses. Now, I read that Hong Kong is going to trial a few dozen electric taxis - supposedly relying on 220V 13A public charging. Crazy, and is just going to give EVs a bad name when the taxis start running out of power on the streets, or having to drive out of their way to queue up at the few CHAdeMO stations.

    I'm concerned that we, as EVangelists, over-hype the suitability of EVs for everyone. Even with the longer trips of North American and European drivers, I am still certain that EVs are suitable for 95% of private transportation miles, but we can't just dismiss the other 5%.
     
  2. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    14,792
    Location:
    CA CA
    I have no problem dismissing them. 20% of Americans believe in space aliens and that our President is a Muslim.

    And i believe that the statistic is actually closer to 78% only drive 28 miles a day and 95 percent drive 40.
     
  3. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    8,572
    Location:
    Winchester, UK
  4. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,664
    Location:
    Hong Kong
  5. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,664
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Miles not people. The question, to me, is how to deal with the 5% (or whatever percentage it is) of miles that are beyond the range of the chosen EV.
     
  6. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    Kongsberg, Norway
    I think Tesla has the right idea. A long range battery pack, coupled with powerful chargers placed every 150 miles.

    Yes, the batteries cost money - but costs are coming down. We will just have to be patient.

    (In the mean time - car sharing schemes and the like certainly help. If you buy a Leaf here you get 20 days car rental included.)
     
  7. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,150
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    I think this is why the Volt's sales are more than 2X the Leaf. For the 80% of driving "normal" people do you dan drive all electric. For those 20% where you have extra errands or go on a trip you have the gasolien back up. To me this makes sense give the current infrastructure of charging.
     
  8. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    At least in the US, most households have more than one car. The logical approach -- at least until battery costs fall -- is to retain one hybrid/EREV vehicle for those very long trips. After all, if the odds of driving outside the BEV's range is really low, then the odds of members of the household needing to take two such long trips simultaneously is even lower. Worst case scenario is to rent an ICE.
     
  9. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    15,852
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    I like that definition! Mind you, that would exclude the Fisker Karma as an EREV.
     
  10. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    8,572
    Location:
    Winchester, UK
    The Karma is the strange one: It's basically a plug in hybrid with a manual gate (the sport mode switch) on accessing full, blended performance.
     
  11. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    2,401

    That is exactly what the statistic you are questioning (95% of all trips are under 40 miles) is used for. To show that a Volt or small BEV will work for 95% of your trips, so you only need to burn gas and/or switch cars 5% of the time. Nobody is suggesting that a short-range BEV is a good only car.
     
  12. Talkredius

    Talkredius Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    Hueckelhoven, Germany
    I think it's a mostly a psychological barrier. As soon as you get familiar with EV driving over some distance you'll find very quick a solution for the 5 %, what ever this will be.
    I thing this issue is addressed by GM with the 30 day refund guarantee for your car.
    Btw, I know more Ampera drivers which have a gasoline anxiety instead of a range anxiety:wink:
     
  13. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    8,572
    Location:
    Winchester, UK
    I don't mind saying I have 'gasoline anxiety'. I go out of my way to minimise its use and if I know I am a bit low on battery I think of ways I can get some more electricity (e.g. go to a shop where there is a charging station if I am passing and I need some milk later that day). If I know I will be going into gas mode I will drive the whole trip conservatively to maximise electric range and get better MPG when I do switch.

    However, I am also very glad the option is there - e.g. to deal with diversions, broken charging stations, very cold days or having to run an errand. Not to mention long trips. I've had them all.
     
  14. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    15,852
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    A friend of mine looked at the Leaf and said, "That's ridiculous - I can drive to work and back, sure, but what happens when I need to run a bunch of errands during the day?"

    He agrees that my Tesla is completely practical for city use. But now he mocks me when I have to stop for an hour or two to drive to Toronto. "Who is going to want to do that?" He doesn't care that it cost me $8 in "fuel" for the trip. I pointed out the Supercharger solution, but he skeptically asked, "When are those going to be available? And what happens when you pull up and it's busy already?"

    I think some people are only going to accept the EREV / plug-in hybrid solution for now.
     
  15. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    Another way to think about it:

    How much time each year do you spend fueling your vehicle? With my old ICE, I would take 15 minutes or so each week, or about 13 hours per year. So, if on 6 trips I need to spend an hour charging, I've still spent half the time refueling my vehicle -- and, I will add, in much nicer surroundings. Gas stations are not where I would choose to spend my time!
     
  16. Bearman

    Bearman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Messages:
    363
    Location:
    Sweden
    I make about ten 300 mile journeys a year and it takes me around 5-6 hours depending on the weather, however i dont wear diapers and I also need to eat so i always stop someplace to eat for an hour. So the way I see it is that with a model s I wouldn't really stop to charge but to go to the restroom and then have my free meal at the diner (from what I saved on gas). Coincidentally my car would conveniently charge at the same time. :)
     
  17. GSP

    GSP Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,997
    I think that most Volt/Ampera owners have "gas anxiety." It is a good thing. I enjoy finding solutions that allow me to drive the "5%" of miles that exceed my 35 mile EV range. I have found enough charging opportunities and shorter, slower, more enjoyable, routes that I used less than 5/8 of my 9.3 (US) gallon tank since it was last filled in December 2011.

    GSP
     
  18. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    14,792
    Location:
    CA CA
    I did the math on this and gas came out on top looking only at time. 7 minutes on average to leave my normally traveled route to turn into a gasoline station fueling station once every two weeks. Vs 15 seconds to plug in and 10 seconds to unplug for 365 days.
     
  19. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Messages:
    413
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Personally I think it's a fact of life in the US that EVs with <140 miles of range require most car owners to significantly change how they use their car. I think the range of a Leaf combined with its charging rate is frankly laughable for most US driving.

    The use case for a Leaf is basically drive an hour then charge for 30 min if you can find a Chademo charger and do this only 2-3 times a day or hurt your battery. If you can't find a Chademo charger, then the use case is drive for an hour, charge for 7 hours.

    That's an oversimplification but it highlights the fact that with current EV's (even Tesla's), once you run low on power, you're a slave to the charging cycle.

    I think people who buy an EV are willing to be a slave the charging cycle for "long trips". I think most people aren't willing to be a slave to the charging cycle for their daily driving. They have enough problems just getting the daily stuff done. Throwing range and charging constraints into the mix is something they just don't want to deal with.

    If you're a busy parent running kids around and grabbing groceries so dinner can be cooked and the kids can do homework and get to bed, taking a ~30 minute charging penalty so you have enough power to get home is a big deal. Or worse yet, pulling up to the charger and finding out they're all in use so your 20 min charging penalty turns into an hour. Yikes.

    My wife was considering geting a Leaf at one point. I asked her how often she had to drive more than an hour and half a day. She figured it was 2-4 times a week during school months. Bzzzt. There went the Leaf.

    There are people who don't fall into this category. People without kids typically have schedules that are more flexible making it easier to work around the car's range. Early adopters are willing to make the trade-offs for the sake of having an EV.

    But mainstream US car drivers are families with kids. The Model S wins because with 200+ miles, it's got enough range that most busy parents driving to work, running kids around and doing random errands have so much range to spare that range anxiety completely goes away for daily driving. Then you plan around special trips or use the other car.
     
  20. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    14,792
    Location:
    CA CA
    And there also millions of people who have a 5 mile radius from home to schools, soccer practice, music lessons, etc. They never get on a highway or freeway. A busy busy day might be 50 miles. Almost any EV will be perfect for them.
     

Share This Page