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Discussion Starter #1


One of the major challenges facing electric cars is range anxiety, and some automakers are doing much better at rising to that challenge than others.

The Nissan Leaf has a driving range of about 80 miles. The Leaf has sold about 200,000 units worldwide, but that is far short of the goal that Nissan set of selling 1.5 million EVs by 2016.

The Leaf's 80 mile range looks insufficient in the face of Chevy and Tesla, which have both promised (and in the case of Chevy delivered, a a 200 mile electric car that will cost around $30,000.

"We are very aware of what's happening in the market," said Ken Kcomp, director of product planning at Nissan, in January. "Nissan is developing longer range batteries."

Kcomp declined to comment about the range of a future Nissan EV or when it might be introduced. In the meantime, the 2016 model-year Leaf took baby steps toward longer range—giving consumers the option of a bigger battery pack that provides 107 miles of estimated range for about $5,000 more than the $29,000 base model.
Larry Nitz, GM's director of global transmissions and electrification was happy to respond to questions about range though. He sees 200 miles as the critical range that will have consumers consider an EV just like a petrol powered car. "Today's drivers of 100-mile electric cars always need to look for the next charge," Nitz continued.

There are some that aren't so convinced that range is the be-and-end-all.

"I question the race to the 200-mile electric car," said Jose Guerrero, head product manager of electric vehicles, high-performance models, and connected technology for BMW of North America. Guerrero cited statistics that the average American commuter drives about 36 miles a day, well within the range of the BMW i3. He points out that consumers wanting more range for occasional longer trips can choose the i3 with a two-cylinder, range-extending gasoline engine. That adds nearly $4,000 to the car's price, pushing it beyond $46,000 (before incentives).
Carbon fiber and aluminum are used to build the BMW i3 which reduces the required battery energy and also contributes to quick acceleration, handling and performance.

Ask Audi and their executives bring up the term "first-car ability." That means that an electric car should be able to serve a driver in every way that a gas car can. Audi has built an Audi E-tron Quattro that holds a 95 kilowatt-hour battery pack that should provide a 300 mile charge.

Will people want a cheaper EV that has less range? A more expensive one that can drive forever, or something middle of the road that has a reasonable price (after incentives, of course)?

http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/car-technology/a28134/why-we-still-dont-have-a-standard-electric-vehicle-yet/
 

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He makes a good point about the race to 200, the really important thing is meeting and exceeding needs, not blowing past them right away, but you can bet that brands with high ranges will make sure the public knows. Perfect for marketing material
 

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Since I just do hour commutes to and from a financial district which has charging stations, 80-100 is all I need and that's being generous, accounting for errands and all. Plus I almost always use a rental on road trips.
 

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I just drive in the city mostly, maybe a longer road trip from time to time. On an everyday basis though, 200 miles is way more than enough. I'm Canadian so we use kilometers like the rest of the world. It's about 2.2 km in a mile. I don't understand people who need somewhere around 400 km of range in their car. That is a ridiculously long commute.
 

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Probably partly a marketing thing, maybe they figured a number like that needs to be hit to make people seriously consider one of these an to give them no excuse not to get one. It would be a good reason.
 

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It's a matter of "making" an EV work, and just buying one, and not having to over-plan and fret about recharging. I could probably get away with a Leaf or e-Golf, but it would be a lot of planning and logistics in terms of locating public charging stations, and "rationing" extraneous errands. Whereas with a 200-mile range, I would have more than enough range to be able to get everything done and still have a healthy reserve by the time I get home. Yes, a lot of it is convenience and psychology, but it's a significant factor.
 

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I just drive in the city mostly, maybe a longer road trip from time to time. On an everyday basis though, 200 miles is way more than enough. I'm Canadian so we use kilometers like the rest of the world. It's about 2.2 km in a mile. I don't understand people who need somewhere around 400 km of range in their car. That is a ridiculously long commute.
You miscalculated the kilometers in a mile. It is 1.6 km per mile, not 2.2 (maybe you are confusing pounds in a kilogram which is indeed 2.2), so a 200 mile BEV is equivalent to 320 kilometers.

And you are correct that a 400 km commute is "ridiculously long". It is much better and cheaper in the long term to move closer and save on travel time, too. When I began working in 1974 my commute was 25 miles in heavy traffic (over one hour per trip). I moved closer to only 6 miles and travel time dropped to only 12 minutes. My two GM cars gave less than 20 MPG, but lasted over 20 years each and had very little troubles. So traveling less is a true money and time saver.
 

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Probably partly a marketing thing, maybe they figured a number like that needs to be hit to make people seriously consider one of these an to give them no excuse not to get one. It would be a good reason.
Maybe that is true, since that average gas engine vehice can get over 200 miles of range on one tank of gasoline. Add the simplicity of "refueling" at home while you sleep, and the gas engine vehicle will soon be replaced by BEVs.:)
 

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Just had a thought about range anxiety. You know how even though gas car fuel indicators can point at empty you'll still have enough to make your way to a gas station, a fail safe of sorts, will the same apply to the Bolt EV? Once the charge indicator shows empty, will you have a backup battery or enough power to make it to a charging station of will you just power down?
 

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Just had a thought about range anxiety. You know how even though gas car fuel indicators can point at empty you'll still have enough to make your way to a gas station, a fail safe of sorts, will the same apply to the Bolt EV? Once the charge indicator shows empty, will you have a backup battery or enough power to make it to a charging station of will you just power down?
It should just power down--why add uncertainty to the decision about how far you can drive? That's the beauty of a battery over fuel sloshing in a gas tank. You know exactly how much until the end. I routinely get my Spark EV below 10 miles range and know that when it reaches zero I'm calling for a tow. I've had it down to 3 miles, but I pay close attention to the kind of driving needed to get home (uphill/downhill, fast/slow). A friend of mine, also with a Spark EV, cut it too close. He went to zero and it stopped. He was able to push the car the remaining 1/4 mile back to his house.
 

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I saw a YouTube video of a gentleman in the UK with a Nissan Leaf that deliberately drove it until it stopped. I can't find the link at the moment, but essentially, it gave him a series of warnings until it cut power, and finally came to a complete stop.
 

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The Spark EV, which could be similar to the Bolt EV, has three warnings before shutting down. First it asks if you want to shut down the radio. This is stupid as shutting off the radio in the few miles before empty will save about 10 ft of driving distance. Then it warns to "Charge Soon" and finally it reduces the power level with another warning. These last two warnings are with about 5-8% remaining, or 5-7 miles remaining.

I haven't taken it to empty but the manual states, "When the energy is depleted, the OUT OF ENERGY, CHARGE VEHICLE NOW message is displayed and the vehicle slows to a stop. Brake and steering assist will still operate." This happens essentially at zero miles remaining on the range gauge according to my friend that has seen it.
 

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I understand range anxiety is a factor in the EV market, but it's not really my number one concern. I'm not anticipating coming close to running our of battery. I am more concerned with how long it takes to recharge when you plug it in.
 
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