|This sign hanging at the BMW i Born Electric tour in New York City clearly states the i3 concept has a 100 mile range while BMW also states it has an "80 to a 100 mile" range in other places|
My answer depends on how much time I have to spend explaining it to them, or how interested I really think they are. If it's very casual and I think they are just kicking the tires, I'll usually tell them my ActiveE can go "about 100 miles" between charges. If I have time and I think they really want to know more details, I'll go into how there are many factors that go into how far you can go like your speed, driving style, ambient temperature, etc. I'll tell them I've driven as far as 110 miles on a charge, but I've also had cold winter days where I can't even make 70 miles. I'll then go into the whole EPA rating system and compare it to how manufacturers advertise gas mileage that the owner seldom can attain.
However the range of an EV is much more critical than whether you get 25mpg or the advertised 30 on your gas car. Most gas car owners don't even really know the exact MPG they are getting, but ask any EV owner and they can tell you exactly what range they can get depending on the different conditions. That's why it's very important that manufacturers don't overstate how far their EV offerings can go. It won't take long for the owner to realize if the car they just bought lives up to the range the manufacturer stated. Sure every EV undergoes the EPA 5-cycle test and gets a range rating, but that only tells half the story. If the EPA range rating told the whole story then all I'd have to tell people who ask me is: "The car has a 94 mile range". While I already admitted I sometimes simplify the range and tell people "about 100 miles" without going into details, I realize that's really not being all that truthful. Prospective electric car owners need to be better prepared for the different ranges they will observe during ownership, as well as thoroughly explaining the range decline as their battery ages.
I also haven't seen anyone really address battery degradation properly yet. We all know the battery will degrade and the car's range will decrease, but how much and when? It's like the 500lb gorilla in the room that nobody wants to address. Nissan is currently having problems with 'early battery degradation' on some LEAFs sold in Arizona and other hot climate areas. They are even buying back some cars that are less than two years old. The prevailing thought is the hot temperatures in Arizona were too much for the LEAF's primitive thermal management system and the batteries were prematurely damaged. But what is 'early degradation'? What should you expect from a car that had a 100 mile EPA rating after five years and 70,000 miles? If that question isn't answered at the time of purchase then it's certain some customers will be crying foul, complaining their batteries are bad and demanding replacements after only a few years of ownership.
|LEAF range estimate page 1|
|LEAF range estimate page 2|
In my opinion nobody is currently doing a good job of properly explaining to their customers the range differences under different driving conditions as well as declining range as the battery ages. This only sets them up for problems down the road. Nissan did take a stab at it and published the range estimate guide I've posted here. However dealers don't explain this information to their prospective customers and I don't even think they included these in their sales documentation. Without a guide of what to expect customers will undoubtedly think there is something wrong with their car when they can't drive as far as they are used to when the temperatures drops or when they suddenly can't make the same round trip to the office in year four of ownership that they had been making the first three years.
|I could only squeeze out about 65 miles on this cold night|
|The i3 coupe Concept promises 80 -100 mile range. Is that for driving conditions in Southern California or Fargo, North Dakota, or both?|
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, and my EV has a true 100 mile range...