On of the first complaints you might hear when considering an electric vehicle is limited range, but how much of that is our own fault?
You can drive an electric vehicle long distance, but only if you’re very careful, much the same as you can maximize fuel economy by reducing your speed, not overloading the vehicle, or carrying your bike with you everywhere. Take, for example, the Tesla Model S, which has a standard range of 265 miles. In December, a father and son team drove 423.5 miles before the vehicle finally discharged. The only fuel-saving measures they took were to inflate the tires slightly higher, stay on flat roads, maintain responsible speed, and ignore the air conditioner. Not bad for a stock Tesla Model S 85kWh, better than 160% the range!
Can someone do better? Of course, you could just jam as much battery pack into a vehicle to increase range, but there’s a actually a point at which adding more battery weight simply negates the increased capacity. Until last week, the world record for longest distance on a single charge for an electric vehicle was 623.4mi, achieved in a slightly-modified Daihatsu Mira EV a couple of years ago. Granted, it was on a closed track at speeds of around 25mph, but that’s an impressive distance.
This year, a four-driver team in Japan has pushed electric vehicle range limits by following the same formula of small vehicle and low speeds. Using an electrified version of the Suzuki Every, a Japanese minicar, to drive around a 15.5mi course at speeds around 19mph. Over the course of about 40 hours, the four drivers took turns driving until the battery ran out, 808 miles later. Just for comparison, that’s 305% better than a stock Tesla Model S 85kWh, and 191% better than David and Adam Metcalf’s 423.5 mile run. Still, I wonder, what ever happened to that 1,000mi-range Liberty Electric Vehicle?
Image @ Jiji Kyodo