Range - how much is "enough"?

Discussion in 'General' started by Grayson, Oct 11, 2017.

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  1. Grayson

    Grayson New Member

    It seems like the biggest reason I hear for people not considering an electric car (all right, the second biggest after price) is range and range-anxiety.

    What sort of range would you consider to be the minimum acceptable for your main car? And what figure (if it's different) would mean that you would consider the range to effectively be unlimited?

    I suspect that growing up in the UK, specifically London, means that my figure may be quite a lot lower than most. Here in London, a 20 mile (30km) commute is considered to be pretty unbearable and you can get half way across the country by driving 150 miles (240 km).

    I'd struggle to drive for more than about two hours without needing to stop and stretch my legs and grab some coffee or a bite to eat. That means that a car with a range of about 150 to 200 miles would be pretty sufficient for most of my driving needs, so long as charging was fast and convenient!
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  3. Rob Lay

    Rob Lay Administrator Staff Member

    What we are experiencing Jennie has 25 mile commute to work (50 miles roundtrip), she only plugs her 90D in about every 3rd day. We took it with another couple on weekend trip which was about 90 miles there and drove 20-30 miles while there. I think we could have made entire trip one charge, but we did plug into a 110 at least one night. I think 3 hour trips are pretty common and would require about 250 mile range to get there and leave you some extra to visit a charging station. Anything more than 250 really doesn't help you because at least once for the round trip you'll have to recharge.
  4. Since I only want one car I'd need a minimum of 160 miles of range, and some extra would be better. That pretty much narrows my choices down to a Tesla or a Bolt. Luckily, I adore the looks and the specs of the Bolt, although I haven't bought one yet.
  5. Counterpoint

    Counterpoint New Member

    Both my last and current gasoline-powered cars have a range of between 300-400 miles, and I'd want an electric vehicle to have similar range for parity.

    The most range I would need on a regular basis is roughly 190 miles, but if you figure electric cars have up to 40% range reduction in cold, the "advertised range" or "warm range" would need to be 317 miles or more in order to ensure the actual range in January is sufficient.
  6. Jack

    Jack Administrator

    Well, my gasguzzling truck can get easily over 300 and it has the worst range of any vehicle I have owned. My old nissan 4cyl could get 500. I think for me the minimum would be 250. the closer EVs get to 400 the more interested I will become. (miles)

    I realize living in Texas, that distances are greater. For me to drive to college and back (used to be very common drive), would be about 450 miles
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  8. IanL

    IanL New Member

    My Zoe (the original smaller battery, not the new bigger one) is absolutely fine for my needs.
    30 miles of driving a day or less.
    Year round average of 100 miles a charge.
    Best ever of 136 miles, not that far off the NEDC of 149.
    No worries.

    I think, regardless of whether it's actually needed or not*, a lot of people are waiting for 250-300miles with appropriately quick charging. Oh, and if it could somehow also be of price parity with a comparable ICE model all the better.

    *In chats with ICE owners while charging, I've found they tend to overestimate their miles or just make up imaginary journeys...
    "What if you had a long journey you had to do really quickly?"
    "Well, there's chargers at a lot of services. How often do you have these trips happen? How far are they, roughly, and what's the approx time frame that you need to do them in?"
    "Well, I don't, I'm just saying what if..."

    Funnily enough, none of them are ever seem to be driving a 12 seat SUV, so based on their car buying parameters of considering fictional scenarios, I am surprised they weren't concerned about their potential ability to transport a football team to the top of a mountain at a moment's notice.
    Marcel_g and WalksOnDirt like this.
  9. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    Definitely for me and others I know in the Midwest and Texas with longer commutes, the relative lack of quick charging options is the source of range anxiety. The range of my Model S is not much less than Rob's Tundra (300 vs 320). The difference is that we can fill the Tundra in 3 minutes almost anywhere whereas we have to plan when/where to charge the Tesla. Even the supercharger still takes upwards of 20 minutes.
  10. Josh Bryant

    Josh Bryant Member

    I think needed range really comes down to whether it is a 1 or 2 car household.

    With the current state of charging infrastructure and battery technology, I think a ~200 mile BEV and a 30 mile PHEV SUV is the perfect 2 car household.

    BEV would do most of the mileage (longer commute, around town family travel, shorter overnight trips like city to city). PHEV SUV covers the shorter daily commute on electric and can do the long driving vacations without worry about charging and storage to pack everything.

    If I was single, I am 99% sure the Volt would be my choice. Especially if I didn’t own a home or could be relocated for work. The roofline of the back row didn’t seem well suited for loading/unloading kids from car seats, otherwise I would already have one.
  11. wavelet

    wavelet New Member

    I suspect you're right about that. Many countries have primarily 1-car households (I think the US tends to have either 2+ or 0, due to the income disparity), where bicycles/mopeds/mass transit is used by one of the adults in the household for commuting, and the car is used by the other adult and for weekend/vacation travel.
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  13. Jack

    Jack Administrator

    good idea
  14. Funny thing about desired range: it seems to grow as options do.

    I could settle for a 50-mile EV and have no problems. But, if I had an EV, I also might like to travel more and farther, and my most frequent desired trip would be to St.George Island (such an awesome beach) which is 77 miles away. I don't think they have EV charging there, so I'd need enough battery to go and return. So, a 200-mile EV would be perfect.
  15. Rob Lay

    Rob Lay Administrator Staff Member

    Part of the problem Tesla created for itself, the Model S is such a perfect long range car besides needing supercharge every 250 miles. It drives great on the highway, it is so comfortable and roomy inside, and it has tons of trunk space. We loved it two couples weekend trip. You wouldn't believe everything we packed 4 suitcases, 2 coolers, 2 golf bags etc. only negative with 4 adults and all those bags suspension would bottom out over moderate bumps.
  16. God

    God Member

    Everyone's needs are different and have different levels of tolerance for charging stations waiting times and is ever evolving as the charging speeds are getting quicker...Make no mistake, there could be a breakthrough tomorrow and we could EVs have 1000 miles of range for the same price as an ICE vehicle and people will prefer ICE vehicles...
  17. Marcel_g

    Marcel_g Member

    My preference for range would probably be ~300km, but that's a nice to have. We currently have a 30 kwh Leaf, which is fine for all the local trips, which are under 10 or 20 km. Sometimes it's 50 km, or if we're going to a friend's cottage, it's 125km. It's also fine to go from here in Ottawa to Montreal, which is 200 km each way, because there are enough chargers along the way. If we're going on a longer trip, such as to Toronto, which is ~500km, we'll just rent an ICE, since the chargers in that direction are still kind of sparse.

    We also just rent a van when we go camping, in order to fit all the stuff in it.

    That being said, 330 km would be ideal in order to allow longer trips. It would allow for ~150 km of highway driving when charged from 80%, which is the point at which someone in the car will need a bathroom, and I won't mind having to stretch my legs. I'm starting from 80% because DC fast charging only goes fast up to 80%, so most stops you won't want to sit around and wait for the top 10-20% to charge at 4kw or whatever the car limits it to. I'd want to have 10-20% in reserve in case the charger's unavailable, so 60% of the battery would need to do the 150km. However, we'd still need to account for cold weather and headwinds (assuming that the car has a heat pump heater so heating doesn't take as much power) so add 15-20%. This means that the car would need to do 180km on 60% of the battery, bring the total to 300km for 100%. Since highway speeds are less efficient and take a little more power than the normal EPA rating, I'd just add 10% again, making it 330km.

    So for an efficient car like an Ioniq, this is probably about 45kwh, and for a small SUV, probably 50-55kwh.
    Domenick likes this.
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Thanks for starting this discussion!

    As we've already seen, answers will be widely varied, depending on the lifestyle, needs and wants of individual drivers.

    Well, the "...so long as charging was fast and convenient" factor is a very important part of the question. If it was as fast and convenient to recharge a PEV as it is to fill up a gasmobile's tank, then probably most people would be quite happy to get long with only 100 miles of real-world range, altho if you add in a safety margin for range reduction due to for cold weather, running the A/C or heater, and a bit more for loss of capacity due to aging, you could get that up to 140-150 miles quite easily.

    Unfortunately, recharging a PEV en-route is not fast, and quite often it's not convenient, because public EV charging stations are quite rare in most areas, and the incidence of finding one which is out of order is unfortunately fairly common, other than for Tesla Superchargers, which are well-maintained. :(

    What we ought to consider is that for gasmobiles, it's pretty much a rule of thumb that they all have gas tanks which give them at least a 300 mile range. So it seems pretty obvious that as prices for batteries gradually come down, average PEV range will gradually climb toward that 300 mile ideal. 300 miles may well be more than most people actually need, but it seems pretty clear that this is what the average person wants in range for his primary car. But of course, that's only the average; some will want more, some will be entirely happy to settle for less. As we've already seen in comments to this thread, some will happily settle for a lot less.

    Right. One solution popular among PEV owners is to have what is called a "hybrid garage", with one BEV and one gasmobile or PHEV.

    And that opens up another subject for discussion, or can of worms, depending on how you look at it. Some people will aim for getting a BEV that is strictly to be used as a commuter vehicle, with rather limited range; this is often called a "city car".

    But then, we've seen many reports from BEV drivers on InsideEVs who say that once they get their BEV, they enjoy driving it so much that they drive it whenever possible, and the gasmobile winds up not getting used much.

    So again, answers to this question -- "For 'hybrid garage' owners, what percentage of your daily trips use the BEV, and what percentage use the other car?" -- are going to be all over the map, based on individual choices. And this is another case where the inevitable increase over time of average BEV range is going to cause a gradual increase in how often the BEV gets used.

    * * * * *

    Speaking to my own individual needs, if I was still driving myself and owned only a single car, then I'd want a PHEV with at least 60 miles range. That would allow me to do almost all my local trips using electricity only, while having the convenience of a fast and convenient gas station refill for longer trips.

    Sadly, there are zero PHEVs which currently match what I'd want. :(

    If I was part of a two-car "hybrid garage" family, then I'd want a BEV with as much range as I could afford. I understand that there are a lot of advantages to a higher battery capacity pack. It's not just about the range. The larger capacity means fewer cycles, which means the pack last longer, degrades slower, has the ability to fast-charge faster (in terms of added miles per minute), and will have a higher resale value. So while I might be able to squeak by with a Leaf and its ~75 mile range, I'd much rather have a 200+ mile BEV such as the Tesla Model 3 or the Chevy Bolt EV.
    Marcel_g likes this.
  19. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Personally I need 300, 400 is ideal. Whaaaat? Well here's the thing. I drive 80 on the highway, it's a normal cruise speed here. I also have a bike on top often. I drive on lots of hills. I have a roof box. It gets hot so I need AC. I need AWD for winter trips. I also need at least a wagon. Basically I only expect to get 50% of the range and hope for better. In fact 50% of 400 will easily be expended on a winter trip just getting to the mountains so I need more stops.

    There's certainly days I go 5 miles. There's other days I blow through 1.5 tanks of gas easy. Not sure I'll ever get that solved.

    My wife does much more steady miles but me with the long haul family car it just won't work.
  20. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Ouch, that's going to have a significant impact on range at highway speed.

    Bjørn Nyland found that pulling even a medium-smallish trailer at highway speed with the Model X cut the range in half. I don't know what the impact of a roof box would be, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had about the same, or perhaps just a bit less; maybe 40-ish%?

    This is where we need reports from people actually driving the cars.
  21. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    I don't think the box is worth that much at least at those highway speeds. I think the speed itself is causing most at that point.

    Mpg isn't really relevant to me though, I dont even bother to check what's stated when buying a car anymore. It does what it does. Its like 0-60 time, I can feel how it drives, what it's stats are isn't a data point I'd purchase on. But the mileage becomes extremely important with an EV so then I'd need bunches.
  22. 30kWh_Leaf

    30kWh_Leaf New Member

    I have a lease ending June 2019 on the 30kWh Nissan Leaf as I knew new vehicles are coming soon. I thought I "really needed" 200 miles of range at 70mph. This would mean that I only need stop once on our regular 276 mile journey. Now I'm thinking, that journey is regular, yes, but we only do it once a year. Our daughters are 115 and 135 miles away so with the new Leaf, we could make those journies in one hop, and once a year I'd have to stop twice. My range necessity is therefore 150 real world miles and so the new Leaf or Tesla Model 3 when it arrives in UK will be fine. And yes, I do realise the Renault Zoe 40 can do 150 miles but I refuse to buy Renault due to my own personal foibles.
  23. I could easily live with the range of the Gen 1 Leaf as I have no commute these days, the Gen 2 Leaf with 150 miles would be more than ideal for me, I'd only need to charge it once a week at most.
    I use public transport a lot for the occasional longer journey or going into the city, it's much quicker by bus/train than the car, I doubt I'd ever need to charge at a public charger as it would be primarily charged at home.

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