Recently, BMW announced its vision for the future of electric vehicles that, in the next five years or so, we could see double the range.
In the 1950s, transportation prognosticators envisioned cities in the sky and flying cars. Here we are, half-a century later, still stuck on the ground. Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors currently has the best-range electric vehicle on the market. For a pretty penny, 7,240,000 pennies to be exact, you can get a Tesla Model S 85kWh with a single-charge range up to 300 miles.
BMW says we can do better, and will do better. By 2018, we should be able to buy an electric vehicle with a range 150-200mi in a single charge. Wait, that’s less than a Tesla. What gives, BMW? Here’s the thing. BMW is looking at typical electric vehicles, that is, vehicles that the typical person can afford.
BMW’s prediction can be interpreted a couple different ways, really. Keeping in mind the Tesla Model S 85kWh as a benchmark, we could end up with an electric vehicle with a 600mi range. On the other hand, we could end up with an electric vehicle, with a 300mi range, at two-thirds the price.
As I said before, we’re still on the ground, in spite of what the sci-fi movies showed us in decades past, so what does this mean for BMW’s prediction? The jury’s still out on that one! Experts agree that battery technology, such a lithium-air and lithium-sulfur and other formulations could provide dramatic increases in energy density.
Commercialization, on the other hand, would require a significant increase in reliability and longevity, which could take more time than the five-year timeline provided by BMW. Still, the experts agree that BMW’s predicting electric vehicles with double the range could only be off by a couple of years. Bring it on!