Forty miles might not seem like much, if you’re considering your daily commute or weekend getaway. On the other hand, when considering electric vehicle, could it mean the difference between a comfortable drive or white-knuckle range-jitters?
Psychologically-speaking, those forty miles make a huge difference in how electric vehicle drivers feel about their range. Take, for example, the Nissan Leaf and Toyota RAV4 EV, which have about a forty-mile range difference. The Nissan Leaf’s 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack gives the car about 80 miles of range, while the Toyota RAV4 EV’s 40 kWh battery pack, after accounting for dimensional and mass differences, 120 miles. Apparently, Toyota RAV4 EV drivers are far more comfortable, with the same kind of driving habits, than the Nissan Leaf drivers, that is, the RAV4 EV drivers don’t experience range jitters.
I would love to see a similar study conducted between the Toyota RAV4 EV and perhaps the Chevy Volt V2.0 or Tesla Model E, expected to have 200 miles range, and perhaps the Tesla Model S 85 kWh, with 300 miles range. I’m betting that range anxiety is the furthest thing from these drivers minds, with that kind of range to play with. On the other hand, how much do we really need? Considering that the Tesla Model S 85 kWh range tops out at 300 miles, and the Nissan Leaf ranges is about 80 miles, what is a good middle-ground for the electric vehicle that will appeal to the American driver?
According to a recent survey, conducted by UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists), some 45 million Americans could switch to an electric vehicle, “with little or no change in driving habits,” but what would they drive? Interestingly, Tesla Motors and General Motors are pinning their efforts on the 200-mile range electric vehicle, somewhere between $30,000 and $35,000. Is it overkill? Might a somewhat shorter range and smaller price be just as effective at eliminating range jitters? Goldilocks, what’s just right?
Image © Toyota Motor Corporation