Your EV Battery Lifespan Might Last Longer Than You Think

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A fresh look at actual driving records has yielded a surprising (to some) conclusion about the useful lifespan of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Conventional wisdom has it that EV drivers will ditch their ride after the battery loses 20% of its storage capacity, but our friends over at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory looked at actual driving records and they say that if you are a typical EV owner, you’re not going to feel the difference.

So, how does a 20% difference make no difference?

Chevy Bolt EV battery lifespan

EV Battery Lifespan By The Numbers

We’ll get to the numbers in a second, but the head of Berkeley Lab’s powertrain research team, Samveg Saxena, sums it up brilliantly, so let’s start with that:

“…We have found that only a small fraction of drivers will no longer be able to meet their daily driving needs after having lost 20 percent of their battery’s energy storage capabilities. It is important to remember that the vast majority of people don’t drive more than 40 miles per day on most days, and so they have plenty of reserve available to accommodate their normal daily trips even if they lose substantial amounts of battery capacity due to degradation.”

EV advocates have been saying that for years, right? Well, now Berkeley Lab has the numbers to back it up. The idea is to look at useful EV battery lifespan in terms of actual driving patterns.

That sounds simple enough, but confirming that with real data took some doing. The first step was to gather actual driving records, which are available from the Department of Transportation’s National Household Travel Survey. The survey logs every detail of a car’s 24-hour daily cycle, including parking and driving.


 

Given the state of the EV market, those driving records are going to be for gasmobiles but the key thing they provide is a record of a driver’s daily habits, regardless of what kind of car they drive.

To translate that into battery driving, the Berkeley Lab team used the popular Nissan Leaf as its EV model (about 24 kilowatt-hours of energy storage capacity).

The next step was to feed the data into Berkeley Lab’s in-house Vehicle-to-Grid Simulator, which the lab developed in order to measure EV energy use for driving and charging.

When the team factored in variables, such as the type of charger (Level 1 or 2), city or highway driving, hilly or flat driving, and climate control on or off, they drew more than 13 million different profiles out of a pool of 160,000 records from the Household Survey.

In a nutshell, the researchers found that at a 20% fade in capacity, EV batteries still meet the needs of 85% of drivers. Even at 50% capacity, the battery still accommodates 80% of drivers.

That’s nothing — more than half of EV drivers will still be able to do their daily run when the battery degrades to 30%.

That’s fine for range, but if you’re wondering about performance, the team also looked at power fade and found that it does not have a significant impact on performance. The key factor in useful EV battery lifespan is capacity.

If you want more numbers, go to the Journal of Power Sources and look up the research team’s study, “Quantifying EV battery end-of-life through analysis of travel needs with vehicle powertrain models.”

EV Battery Lifespan: We Told You So

Wasn’t CleanTechnica just saying that this whole thing about needing super sexy long-range EV batteries, as in way over 200 miles, is way overblown?

Well, we have been (especially, Zach Shahan has been). Sure, with more capacity there’s the convenience factor of not having to charge up more frequently, but once you get into the 200 mile range and up, you’re talking about hours of uninterrupted driving, which most people are not going to get into.

As for charging convenience, that’s already beginning to fade as a factor. Unlike gas stations, which require you to make a special stop, charging stations can be placed at homes, workplaces, and convenient public places such as shopping malls. And you can just plug into the socket in your garage. Regardless of how often you have to charge, you’re going to do it seamlessly during the course of your day.

The real need for long-range EV battery capacity would be for long-distance driving, but driver stamina acts as a counterbalance, and most people don’t do much long-distance driving.

If you’re the kind of driver who stops to rest every few hours on a long-distance trip, then all else being equal, a range of around 200 miles would give you plenty of EV battery lifespan, even taking capacity fade into account past the 20% mark. The key factor would be the availability of quick-charging stations along the way.

So, before you run out and get yourself a new EV, log your driving for a while and see what kind of battery capacity fits your habits. Aside from that, range anxiety is a non-issue.

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Photo Credit: Chevy Bolt EV by Tina Casey.


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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

Tina Casey has 3152 posts and counting. See all posts by Tina Casey

99 thoughts on “Your EV Battery Lifespan Might Last Longer Than You Think

  • This article is not about battery lifespan but about forcing you to have the EV Range of 40 mile commute. This is excellent for old people and other city dwellers who live a boring life.

    There is no study on bi-modal distribution of driving habits such as working hard and commuting during the week and playing hard driving to places during the weekends? This describes more about the habits of millenials. No matter how many articles you yak about that 40 miles is enough for 85% of the population, it wouldn’t sell that much, because you are practically doomed to buy another car for the weekend trips. It is better to have the car with the most flexibility in terms of driving range giving the limited places you can charge up, such as your work and home. So where is such study?

    Charging away from home where you have to pay is now more expensive per mile than gasoline. There is no company here in existence that has charging costs offered at par with your baseline tier rate at home. They will always charge at a premium, and it ends up costing you more per mile than using gasoline. So free public charging stations would become harder to access as more EV would vie for it, and if you charge at a paid station, you are going to pay through the nose. And that leaves us with another reason why the longer the range the better for you. The longer the range, the more options of places to go for you and more chances that you can get back home to charge at the lowest rate.

    Why has the 85 kWh Tesla Model S won out over the 60 kWh model?

    The only thing I agree is that the 200 mile EV range such that of the more affordable Bolt would be the perfect range for many, and it would sell way more than the 80-120 mile range.

    • totally agree. anyhow in short time EV range will be no more issue, battery improvements, and compliments for the comment.
      EV marketing must switch to sexy.
      charge at home with Solar.

      • A bit EV marketing/advertising would be a change over here! And sales people who believe in the product,all of which are sadly lacking in the UK,IME.

    • Marion’s criticisms don’t hold up. First, car sharing services like zipcar allow anyone to get a gasmobile for a weekend trip. Or just swap cars with a friend (or your spouse). Second, there are still plenty of free public chargers – most Nissan dealers for example. Even the DCQC is free at some of these locations. There is also Nissan’s “No charge to charge” which gets you 2 free years at popular charging networks. Also if there were enough charging spots to be competitive, prices would have to come down.

      85 kWh Tesla won out because luxury car buyers don’t skimp on features to lower the price a little, they just buy it loaded. Model 3 will be a different market where price matters more.

      Of course longer range is better, up to a point. 85 miles is probably too short for some, but 200 is overkill for many. Here’s an idea – cars with option packages for different battery sizes. We will know the EV era is really here when you just select a standard car (Accord, Camry, Focus), then select power train (Electric, gas, hybrid) the select your range.

      • Not everyone agrees with the Zipcar hype.

        • Have you ever heard of Hertz or Avis. They are these new fangled things they have at airports. Really. You should check it out.
          Whats a Zipcar. Oh, that. I am so Uber that. Maybe you can get a Lyft.

      • Will Nissan dealers with chargers allow the charging of other companies’ cars? I assumed that the only cars a Nissan dealer would allow to use their charger would be Nissans, maybe even restricted to Nissans bought at that dealer.

      • but she said she can only drive one car that she owns.
        The rest of the world doesn’t exist. And car buyers are rational. Right. Me, too.

    • Charging away from home is very rarely done. They SHOULD provide a premium . . . aren’t restaurants always more expensive that cooking at home? Duh.

      85KWH won because if you are buying a $70K car then obviously you have lots of money so why not pay $80K for the bigger battery? And most of them pay much more for lots of options.

    • Just because you need to drive somewhere every weekend doesn’t make that any kind of norm even among millennials.

      I know people who make good money and don’t have a car at all. One woman I used to work with who never owned a car, would just rent one whenever she needed one (weekends ~twice/month).

      If people can make not owning a car work, they can certainly make EVs work.

      Every EV story always brings out the people that have relatives 300 miles away that they visit every weekend, or their constant ski trips to the cold mountains, or two their massive boat…

      Basically if you don’t want an EV, you can likely find excuses, but if you do want an EV, you can likely make it work.

      • True. The general usability of an EV is not determined by those who have unusual needs.

        The first task is to produce EVs that work for a large portion of all drivers and then deal with niche drivers.

        • Bob, don’t be silly. All EVs should be 4×4 monster trucks and be used for commuting 2 miles.

        • You are always going to have the petrolheads who can’t live without their 5 litre 8 cylinder gas guzzlers
          And we should accept they have needs, and they should accept a 500% raise in oil taxes;)

          • hehehe

          • Only 500%? If I could make the decision I would bankrupt them. 😉

    • ***old people and other city dwellers who live a boring life.***
      Age-ism?

    • The study was based on REAL drive habits, not what people think they might do or want to do.

      • Marion has excellent points. That real drive habit was an over simplification of driving patterns. The driving pattern on the weekends is vastly different than the workdays.

        • You think they missed the weekend driving in the study?
          I don’t think so.

        • Marion is constantly extrapolating from herself onto everybody else and likes Mr. Volt over Mr. Tesla. Nuff said.

          • nakedChimp – Yea, but what about the EV thought police?

          • it gets nauseating after awhile though doesnt it?

    • The only reason I’m not driving around in a leaf is they are comparatively expensive compared to a low emission petrol car, economically it doesn’t make any sense for me to trade in at the moment, the leaf with its present range would be ideal for me and millions like me but not at £5000 more than its ICE equivalent.
      Yours, old boring, rural dwelling Coley;)

      • We solved that issue by buying a used Leaf.

        • Looked into that, but the warranty stipulations put us off,
          When I go EV I want a guarantee that should things go ‘tits up’ then the manufacturer. Is prepared to put its money where my arse is sitting.
          Given the total lack of interest by my local dealerships in even arranging a test drive, then I have serious doubts as to their commitment should I have a technical difficulty in a brand new ‘straight from the forecourt purchase’ never mind a second hand model!

    • Not driving a lot = “a boring life?”

      Don’t think so.

      • Yeah. Driving for 3 hours is so exciting.

  • And when it’s down to 10% you can still use it…. It’s almost as good as a bike! *sigh*… Why waste a good topic and potential article by adding some pretty…not so smart… assumptions on that the general public will be happy with a 40 mile car.

    Battery degredation will be very noticable and painful if you start with a very short range BEV, especially if you combine that with a wintercold day or even just a cold rainy day.

    Will it still run? Yes. Will someone be able to make use of it? Yes. But if you can’t use it yourself don’t expect to get any value out of it when lending/selling/giving away it to a senior citizen wanting to get to the grocery store and back or to someone wanting to replace their bike (well at least in winter or so) for the short commute to work and back.

    Once again increased range is the clear winner. 20% or 50% degredation of a longer range EV will not be as painful. Also winter/cold/rainy driving gets better since the percentage of battery needed to warm it up decreases.

    And the most important factor of them all. The number of battery cycles is the most important factor for battery degredation and the more range you have the longer will you be able to go on the same number of cycles and also the longer you can go before battery degredation sets in.

    At a 1000 full cycles:

    80 miles EV = 80 0000 miles =12900 km

    200 miles EV = 200 000 miles = 32200 km

    265 miles EV = 265 000 miles = 42600 km

    Battery life, cycles and degradations is of course very different depending on the chemistry used so time will tell more about this. But it’s fairly easy to understand that the risk of battery degradation and diminishing usefullness is in generally higher with a low range BEV.

    If people wanted a bike and not a car then they would buy a bike. And if they wanted a NEV and not a car they would buy a NEV.

    • Yes, it is what people want.
      How many SUV drive in the cities only?
      How many pick up trucks get used daily for hauling goods?
      On the other hand Taxi drivers have been buying hybrids, because they do save them money!

      • *lol*… you are missing the picture. It’s not what people want, it’s what they need. At least if they should be able to visit friends and family, go to a shopping mall or even in many cases to have the range to be able to get back and forth to their work.

        It’s not even remotely close to idiotic things like (almost) anyone having a pick up truck.

        A hybrid saves you money and gasoline. But it also takes you from point A to point B. If the Taxi couldn’t do that the Taxi driver would get another vehicle.

        Anyway, if you want one of those and never need to go further than 40 miles I’m sure their is a used i-Miev somewhere for you to buy.

        • The weekend travel scenario is often being ignored intentionally by the religious EV lunatics. They want to force you to buy the short ranged Leaf !!!

          • Are you at all familiar with US driving patterns?

          • What about driving patterns in other places, like Canada, longer distances.
            That is there I live.
            Also please do not forget people like myself, contractors, trades people who do drive a lot more than the average person.

          • Since we’ve been talking about US driving patterns and EV purchases I’m not sure what we gain by switching over to talking about driving patterns in a different country.

            Let’s look at US driving patterns once more.

            Over 80% of all US driving days are under 60 miles. Over 90% of all US driving days are under 80 miles.

            There are people who commute over 60 and over 80 miles a day. And there are people who routinely drive more than 60, 80 miles for other reasons. Someone who has a workday pattern of over 60, 80 miles is doing that more than 200 days a year. Since we’re talking averages, that means that there has to be a lot of people traveling seldom, perhaps never, over 60, 80 miles in a day.

            20% of 365 is 73 days. Someone driving over 60 miles a day for 200+ days a year is doing their 73 plus two other people’s 73 days.

            No one is saying that a “100 mile range” EV is a fit for everyone. But at the same time not everyone has to have a “200 mile range” EV in order to do the driving they do.

          • The problem with the chart is most of the test subjects use ice vehicles! With them they start with about 300 mile range or more and don’t degrade much over the next 15 years. So no matter the terrain they have no worries but starting with under 90 miles full charge the temps and ups and downs of your trip matter.

            Remember the range is not set in stone in a EV. Being told don’t let the soc go below 20% and don’t charge above 80% already cuts the range from 90 miles by 40% so you have 54 miles in range left and your chart says I would be almost home. If I were a average driver.
            Then we have the degrading of the battery and it starts from day one even if you don’t notice it. 200 miles if only for safety seems like a minimum? Remember 200 miles is only a estimate if you don’t use heat or cooling to and from your destination and drive under your normal speed and on flat ground. That 200 miles is probably more like 120 to 130 miles of real world driving.

          • I don’t see how the type or age of a car determines how much someone drives a day. You commute, you shop, you visit friends, whatever.

            There may be a few people who need more than a 200 mile range (Tesla sells an EV with a 300 mile range).

            The point is, there is a portion of the population that can easily use an EV with a 100 mile range.

            There are people on both sides of “average”.

          • If you use a average as your chat is? It is possible that there are more who have a extreme amount of driving than those who drive under the average but even if 50/50 the argument is on the size of higher millage EV battery than on the bare minimum and 84 is just that!
            I don’t think the manufactures put as much importance on daily use as they did final cost? Their prices were already pushing the higher end of the big 3. Even today I can buy a Chrysler 300 C with most of the driving enhancements that Tesla has for about the same as a Leaf SL with barely anything on it.
            The biggest problem still is 84 miles is a guess from full to dead!

            You said “The point is, there is a portion of the population that can easily use an EV with a 100 mile range.”

            If it were a true 100 miles I would agree and that is why I said 200 miles as it stands today remember 40% is not recommended to be used so that puts it at 120 miles then add in weather and driving habits and elevation changes what do you have! If I got a true 100 miles in a reasonable comfort level I would own one today.

            If most people only need to drive around town there are some pretty nice Road ready Golf Carts that cost 25 to 30% of EVs that would do the trick also. I know they would not work for short commutes!

            The size of a car is a problem also for a lot of people I know I am not comfortable in a small car. Unfortunately in the last four years my family has been in two accidents that ended in the cars being totaled! The first although bruised and aching we both walked away the second my wife again walked away with a few bruises and some painful ribs. I would hope that these EVs would hold up as well as both of our Chrysler 300s did. The first we were rear ended while stopped by a car going between 50 and 60 mph. So that is something else to consider? Remember the majority of accidents happen within 25 miles of home!

          • “If you use a average as your chat is? It is possible that there are more who have a extreme amount of driving than those who drive under the average”

            Probably just the opposite. For example, when my sister was working as a sales rep she drove long distances 2-3 times a week. She drove “140+” days for many other people.

            “I don’t think the manufactures put as much importance on daily use as they did final cost? ”

            Cost has controlled the range of EVs and PHEVs. Manufacturers seem to have pushed the range as high as they felt the market would bear. The <100 mile Nissan Leaf sells for $29k. Had they made it a 200 mile EV the price would have been above $40k at the time of release.

            You don't want to drive an EV. Got that. Enjoy your gasmobile.

          • What about the needs of 3 year olds with a smoking habit? Ever thought about that Mr. Strawman?

          • “religious EV lunatics”?
            That article up there is just about some research where scientists look at data and found that most people will be fine with 40 mile range in a BEV most of the time.

            I’m sitting on a pc here with 2 screens.. can always just look at one at a time for sure and for 90% of people out there this would be overkill, but guess what.. I don’t run around telling everyone that he definitely needs 2 or more screens to work on a pc.

          • The original “40 miles will work for many almost all of the time” research came from a study conducted by GM and Toyota. After that study GM developed the Volt.

          • Oh boy! I have been just waiting to join a religious EV cult? Where can I join? Do I have to be a lunatic, too?

    • If nobody buys the LEAFs and other current-gen, affordable EVs, then the car companies won’t continue to develop them further.

      Also, a 10% loss of capacity in a LEAF battery means 10 less miles of range. In a Model S, it’s 20 miles. The bigger the battery, the more miles of range lost to each percentage point drop in battery capacity. Just keep in mind that your argument only applies to people that need close to the full range of their EV as people who only use 20 – 40 miles a day will have plenty of range to spare in their LEAF for years to come. So those drivers that push their EVs to the edge as far as range is concerned will feel a 20 mile reduction more negatively than a 10-mile reduction.

      On the flip side, larger battery capacities decrease the depth-of-discharge the battery experiences compered to a smaller battery given the same driving profile. This will slow down the degradation somewhat, but there’s still the aspect of battery calendar life (meaning that they will degrade even if they are left on the shelf and never used.)

      If a LEAF or other EV with similar range works for the driver’s needs, then it is a good option. Those needing more than 100 miles of in-town driving range per day can try to plug in at work or wait for the 200-mile EVs coming out in the next few years. Even then, lots of drivers will not have their needs met in some way by these vehicles. But they don’t have to work for everybody, especially since there are millions of drivers out there for which they could work just fine. A bigger battery would help get rid of the range anxiety that keeps potential EV buyers from taking the plunge, but we’ll see just how much the 200-mile EVs end up costing (and how expensive it will be to “cure” range anxiety) before making any conclusions.

  • Meh, we still need bigger batteries for BEVs and a good selection of PHEVs.

    • Even though real-world data says the opposite?

      • No, because this real world data says the same thing that the other studies have. It will cover 80%,or 85%, or 90%, or even 95% of a driver’s needs. But the real issue is that we need to replace all of the fossil fueled powered cars with ones that are powered by electricity, not just some of them. So some longer range EV’s are going to be needed to see this happen.

        • Actually no. We don’t need to replace all of them. This isn’t an all or nothing game.

          • By the time we replace 30%, we will have EV that cover 95% of needs and fast chargers popping up everywhere. By the time we replace 60%, we will …

          • Getting high percentage numbers is more about changing user expectations than emulating the exact operation of gasoline vehicles.

            Gas powered cars didn’t replace horses by learning how to graze.

            The generation who wouldn’t give up horses, eventually died off.

          • I will partially agree in that the next year or two or five that we can’t replace all with EV’s. But in the long run yes we will have to, there is this little problem called climate change that is being caused by increasing CO2 levels. In order to get that under control personal transport is going to have to quit using fossil fuels and go electric.

        • Not quite. It means we need a mix of EVs some with 100 miles, some with 150, some with 200.
          I think the best solution is to offer EVs with a couple of battery pack options and let the buyer decide.
          Just because some drivers need 200 doesn’t mean they all do.
          Whats with this one size fits all deal?
          Nobody drives a subcompact for a large family. And a city dweller with tight quarters doesn’t need a full size van.
          Same with EVs. There will be a variety, I hope.

          • I never said that they all had to be long range EV’s, just that some are going to be necessary. With the worlds growing population, and more of it moving into the middle class that can afford transportation we can not continue to use any type of gas mobiles. Even the high mileage scooters and motorcycles are causing pollution issues in Asian cities where they have seen high adoption rates. So all personal transport needs to be EV, and some of it needs to be long range or we will never get the CO2 levels reduced.

          • Yes. You’re right. I just don’t want to lose sight of the need for a variety. Ok?

          • No problem, and I just want to see some long range affordable EV’s become available or I and my neighbors in our rural infrastructure lacking situation will never be able to quit supporting the fossil fuel companies and the problems that result from that.

          • If you are looking for an affordable EV that goes 200 miles that will happen, sure.
            Its never going to be cheap to have an EV far from civilization and go long distances under todays expectations. We can’t just replace the existing oil infrastructure and energy usage habits at the same cost.
            Like you can forget towing or Winnebago EVs. Thats just too inefficient. And expensive. Part of why Tesla works is they have little aero drag.
            Thats just not how EVs work. Some of the habits we have gotten used to are never going to happen again.
            Even trucks will have to stop having huge mirrors hanging in the wind.
            Things like air and water transport are not going to be battery powered. They will be bio or synfuel, which is OK.
            People will still live all over the place, just like now.
            Its just that IMO, lifestyles will be different.
            All these conversations about people in Teslas that want to drive 100 miles at 80 mph and don’t have enough range put that reality in stark contrast with ,,, uh… shall we say, others?

          • “Its never going to be cheap to have an EV far from civilization and go long distances under todays expectations.”

            Never is such a long time. ;o)

            We’re looking at a target price for Panasonic batteries at $100/kWh in a few years. $180 now, $130 when the GigaFactory is running. Materials cost of $70 with $30 for manufacturing cost and profit. But doesn’t that depend on capacity?

            If capacity grows it essentially means that we get more storage per unit of materials. As long as capacity increases come from reasonably affordable materials and not pounds of unobtanium won’t we see the $100/kWh price drop?

            If we see a continued capacity growth of 8% (recent history average?) in ten years our $100 batteries should have more than twice the capacity.

            Take a Tesla Mod3, give it $100/kWh batteries which should bring the cost well under $30k. Then stick in a second motor for 4wd and make it a crossover or pickup so that we rural folks can haul the stuff we haul.

            Now increase capacity so that the selling price drops below $25k.

            We’re there. We’d have a fully functional, affordable firewood and grocery hauler that could navigate our often rough and unplowed roads.

            Second owners (buying off skiers who need to be seen in the latest models) could slap in a new battery for a couple of thou and keep the car on the road for 300k, 500k miles or more.

          • If you tow big stuff you know it eats gas. Tow with an EV and you have to stop more frequently to charge. Same-same.

            Assuming we see capacity continue to grow someone will sell EVs designed to pull big loads distances. A 600 mile battery pack, unloaded. A 300 mile range pulling a fifth wheel.

            Super-super chargers to pump power into those big packs in a hurry.

            It will be a while. High hanging fruit.

          • It may not even reduce range that much, pulling the approximately 2 1/2 ton load of my dual axle trailer with tractor and equipment only cuts the mileage of the diesel truck 10% if that.
            On the way back from Florida last week I noticed that the newer travel trailers/camper homes are making much better use of aerodynamic designs. Everything from the little 12 footers up to one that must have been 35-40 feet long. All sorts of pulled loads could benefit from the cowlings and training wings that are being used by the big rigs. Seems like these will become more common the more the haulers become EV’s.

          • Fuel economy while towing drops because you have to shift into lower gears to climb hills and accelerate at a reasonable rate. The added mechanical friction, pumping losses, etc. suck the fuel tank dry. While an EV built to tow loads will have an oversized motor, it’s efficiency at higher output doesn’t drop nearly as much as an ICE. Plus, most cars can’t regen brake while an EV can convert a lot of the momentum of slowing down the vehicle + trailer back to stored energy. The non-electric vehicle just has to send all the extra momentum of the load its hauling up in smoke instead. The fuel economy drop of towing with an EV might not be as much as you think.

            The added wind / rolling resistance of a trailer is still an issue. However, aside from 18-wheelers, towing is a very small part of our fuel demand.

          • You’re right.

            “Its never going to be cheap to have an EV far from civilization and go long distances under todays expectations.”

            Never is such a long time. ;o)

            Its just that its not cheap to do that with FF now. It still won’t be cheap. Or easy. With an EV. Not really fair to expect it of EVs, you think?
            I am just responding to all these expectations. I actually sat behind a table at Detroit Auto Show responding to this kind of stuff.
            Like prompts from people saying we should end all renewable subsidies. I didn’t have an iPad to instantly point to a graph of renewables vs oil subsidies then.

            You are a reasonable guy. Are the guys hauling a boat behind their Winnebago gonna be reasonable? I think they will be hit in the wallet by fuel costs until they submit.

            Even though it works, I have a love/hate the way Tesla has made inroads by feeding the needs of people who want to drive 80mph hundreds of miles.

            And yet my mind and heart have cognitive dissonance when I drive through Wyoming and see the folks driving pickup trucks hauling family and farm stuff. Those guys aren’t gear heads or weekend energy busters, their people who pinch and work hard out in the field.

            It really hard to see that with EVs. Not real soon. Towing and heavy vehicles are not (light duty)EVs strong suit. Its not that there isn’t good torque. Its range and heat.

            Maybe I will feel better when I see EVs advertising towing capacity. But right now, if you look around, you won’t find any. (cars or pickups, apologies whatzhizname with the 80k pickup trucks)
            Nothing cheap. That needs to be corrected.

          • There’s a parallel electric truck industry that doesn’t get as much coverage but it’s developing product.

            Ian Wright was one of the co-founders of Tesla and is now running Wrightspeed. They’re going after the truck business with PHEVs for now.

            http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/27/8119981/electric-trucks-wrightspeed-ian-wright

            As battery prices drop and capacity increases battery packs will pack more kWh and electric miles will increase.

            The guys towing big stuff know what it costs to buy fuel. My sister and BiL traded pickups they were using to pull their 5th wheel because of fuel costs. And I got the feeling that mileage was a frequent discussion around the parks where they stop.

            Companies certainly know fuel costs. The few that don’t pay attention will start when they find their competition underbidding them.

          • I know that they are coming, am just concerned about it being sooner rather than later due to the CO2 situation.
            Actually just 150 miles no matter what the road and or weather conditions (hills, – 20°F, etc) would cover what we need, especially with the way the DC fast chargers are spreading.
            I also like the changes that seem to be coming, shared, autonomous EV’s will make a big difference in what transportation costs for people that prefer to live in the country. A car doesn’t have to be sitting in my driveway 24/7 for me to be able to make my fifty or one hundred and fifty mile trips depending on the day of the week. I don’t think that there are enough people around here to ever make mass transit practical, but sharing seems like a very reasonable option.
            The future is on its way, I for one am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

          • Yes. You won’t have any problem. But I saw lot so people in cars and trucks driving through Wyoming. They are used to hauling hay and towing stuff long distances because there is nothing, … I mean nothing … between destinations.
            Some of those needs will be very expensive to meet. Those guys are already paying for F-350s and higher diesel and gas. Thats not going to get any better. EVs are not a cure for that. Demographics. Lifestyle changes. We all can’t do what we used to when gas was cheap.
            You seem to be adapting and might not have such extreme needs? I don’t know. I just think its not going to be easy for remote farmers and ranchers doing conventional stuff.

          • ” We all can’t do what we used to when gas was cheap.”

            Not today. But ten years from now? Much cheaper batteries and rapid chargers all over the place.

            Batteries are almost certain to get cheaper. $100/kWh is our target with today’s lithium-ion chemistry. That should not be the floor.

            Electricity is likely to get cheaper. Especially if one is willing to let the utility use their vehicle as dispatchable load.

            Vehicles are likely to be driven far more miles before being crushed. It makes sense to freshen up interiors and exteriors when the mechanical systems are in first rate condition. A new battery makes an old EV basically powered like a new EV. More lifetime miles driven means lower per mile purchase costs.

            And insurance costs will drop as technology reduces the rate of accidents.

            I can see just the opposite. We’ll find it considerably cheaper to drive. And with auto-driving cars, much more enjoyable to drive.

          • Yes I am definitely trying to adapt and actually plan to get a Model X to replace our half ton truck for the needs of our small homestead type farming. It has also been said that it will have towing capability, so if it can pull a 2 1/2 ton load within 40-50 miles of home will be able to retire the diesel truck too.
            Charging infrastructure is very sparse around here, but plan to cover that with the surplus we have off from the solar and wind turbine during the summer and add some more tracking solar for during the winter. If storage gets cheap enough in five years or so have daydreamed about adding enough to be able to do night time charging but with the efficiency losses that is still a big maybe.
            With more companies joining the EV bandwagon, and the unknowns of future tech advances it is hard to tell what things are going to be like in ten or twenty years, but I am trying to keep a positive attitude and do the best we can.

  • Here’s a novel idea. How about for once we assume that the general public isn’t completely idiotic. Let’s even assume that when they say they need something, like a frivolous 200 mile range car, that they might actually need it. Let’s further assume that they aren’t lying about wanting to visit their family and friends in other cities, or occasionally go on a camping trip, and that they don’t want to piss off their spouses by arriving home with a quarter mile of EV range remaining.

    Ok, now let’s build that car, not the 40 mile shitbox that we assume they need, based on our deep understanding of their lives and needs.

    • Here’s another novel idea. How about we recognize that different people have different needs and, in fact, a large number of drivers could easily use a lower range EV?

      We could start out by recognizing that we, each, do not represent 100% of the world’s population.

      • We agree then! Excellent! Now we can stop writing articles about how nobody actually needs to drive more than 40 miles away from home, right?

        • Please show the audience an article on CT that states that: “nobody actually needs to drive more than 40 miles away from home”.. I dare you.

          • I am not really sure… but I think that might have been a literary novelty called satire involving exaggeration
            – Spock

          • Lol, you “dare” me? Well I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU to calculate what 30% of the Leaf’s original 82 mile range is. Spoiler alert, it’s 24.6 miles, and that’s what the author said was still good enough for 50% of people who drive EVs.

            You’ve just been DOUBLE DOG DARED. This is getting serious!

      • Yes Bob, this is a US site and talks about US patterns and actions
        But it does cover’s action/trends for the whole world and we HAVE to change the whole world.
        So the changes have to take actions for the whole world into account, because if we do not the planet, our species, will miss out.
        We will have to have solution for everybody and all aspects of our living!

        • Martin, from your comment you’re either pretty young (<18) or a non-technical person.. slow down there. People are working on this, but it won't be here tomorrow and the dirtball with the naked chimps on it will be able to endure it.
          The only ones heavily affected will be naked chimps and if we don't make it some other species will come after us and maybe learn from our mistake.. 😉

          • No I am not young, close to 60 instead, but I do think we will have to have solutions for every aspect of our lives, but they do not have to be right now.
            I do the things I ‘preach’, build a net zero house for myself and want to drive electric, but what I do need for work does not exsist yet.
            And yes I am non technical, but I do can build things.

          • We don’t have solutions for everything yet. But we’ve got a lot of the problem covered.

            Between now an 2050 we need to get to roughly zero CO2 emissions. That’s 35 years.

            We’ve got the technology right now to easily cut CO2 emissions by 75% or so. Replace coal and natural gas with renewables. Replace ICEVs with EVs. Move some vehicles that require liquid fuels to biofuels.

            The world gets about 80% of its energy from fossil fuels. Getting to zero in 35 years means cutting 2.3% per year and that is well within our ability. We can do that simply by getting busy. The US, for example, needs to install about 3x as much wind and solar as it did in 2012. We got 0.8% of our electricity from wind and solar the following year. And install some more for vehicles.

            We’ve got the problem of how to economically provide for long periods of low wind and solar input. We need to make sure we have a good biofuel answer for the places where we need liquid fuel. But we’ve got 20 to 30 years to work out better solutions. Look back 20 years to 1995 and think about how much we’ve developed since then.

            These are not unsolvable problems. We’ve got some ‘not great’ solutions. What we need is better, mainly cheaper.

        • yeah, but one solution for everyone? I can see some people having longer range needs, but everyone? every … single .. one?
          No I don’t think everyone can drive a Leaf. Not at all. Should range be longer. Yes. Absolutely.
          Its kind of a tempest in a teapot. There will be lots of EVs from lots of manufacturers, with lots of different ranges, and options for all kinds of different people.
          There are now, and there will be even more, or so says, GM, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Tesla…..

    • But, but… the other guy tells me car buyers aren’t rational? How can I keep you both happy?
      OK, some car buyers are rational.. Better? But lets not call anybody idiots.
      We can use more endearing….
      Or say, sorry honey I just drove the EV and it doesn’t have any range left. You will have to walk. LOL.

    • Yeah, when people say they need 350hp, off-road capability and the ability to tow 5,000lbs just to drive to work and get groceries, we can totally assume they are being rational. But you’re right in a sense that people buy cars based on what they believe they need. So the people really concerned about EV range will need bigger battery packs to put their mind at ease. It’s a shame that millions of people don’t realize that a 100-mile range EV would work great for their commuting and errand needs while a 2nd car or a rental could take them on all those camping trips. While batteries are getting cheaper, paying for an extra 24kWh of them that you have to then lug around and hardly ever use is a bum deal for the people that don’t need them. For the people that do need to drive more than 100 miles a day however, good things are just around the corner.

      • Last time I was at Yosemite I noticed a few Zip cars with SF tags on the back.

        What we will need is more distributed rentals rather than forcing people to drive out to the airport to get and return their rental. I can see rental lots at the edges of town on the main travel routes. Free parking for your limited mileage EV while you take your long trip in a high mileage range EV.
        With automated vehicles your rental 300 mile range crossover can pick you up and drop you off at your house.

        You might use a 300 mile range EV to go from your house to Yellowstone and then use a 100 mile range EV with really big windows and a fold out kitchen (whatever) to drive around the park for a week. The 300 mile range EV could haul some other people home and bring another set back during your week’s stay.

        • If we could ever work out the safety and legal issues surrounding pusher or generator trailers, you wouldn’t need to rent an entire vehicle to go on long trips.

          • True, but I see no signs of work being done by the big manufacturers.

      • You slipped back into doing what the author did, which was making assumptions about what other people need, based on your own needs.

        So consider my own case. I frequently (a few times a month) drive beyond the range of a Leaf. A Leaf has about 50 miles of range in the cold, and I have a 20 mile commute. That means that if I want to go somewhere after work, I can only go a maximum of 15 miles from my house.

        I NEED to have a car that can take me more than 15 miles from my home all year round. I don’t need a bigger battery pack to “put my mine at ease”, I need it because I need to actually go places, and some of those places are more than 15 miles away.

        Needing to go > 15 miles from my house isn’t the same as buying a bro-truck. It also doesn’t indicate a mental deficiency, which is what you implied. What I can’t understand is how so many people, including yourself and the author, can believe that your needs are representative of the entire population.

        • With a modicum of respect…from the article:

          “…they say that if you are a typical EV owner, you’re not going to feel the difference.”

          To me, it sounds like you are the one asserting your needs over wtf the article was talking about. It analyzed reported driving patterns for actual drivers based on their reporting on their actual driving patterns. As the article very clearly states not 100% of the population fits this pattern. In fact, much of the article tries to quantify what portion fits the profile of an EV driver.

          I strongly suspect you are not this group and I also suspect what EV offers today does not fit your pattern. I get it and I think you would be right to not buy an EV. I really really hope battery advances and/or other changes makes you fit this category some day.

          However, for people who live in urban/first-tier-suburban areas who were concerned with range concerns…the data is showing their fears are over-amplified. I agree this does not fit all drivers, but I found the data in this article very interesting. If you are urban and do not have long commutes then seeing data showing existing EV users are not very close to hitting the wall is nice.

          • Fwiw, I actually do own a Chevy Volt. I would own a Tesla if it was more affordable. The current batch of short range EVs just doesn’t cut it for normal people who aren’t willing to make significant sacrifices. We need affordable 200 mile BEVs asap, and we don’t need so many apologists.

          • “normal”

            Do you define that as “folks just like you”? There’s a lot of that going around these days….

          • I’d say that it is normal to occasionally need to drive >30 miles after work. Maybe to visit someone, maybe to go to a restaurant or a store. Do you find that abnormal?

          • I can look at US driving patterns and see that a large portion of all US drivers would be well served with lower range EVs.

            It’s not about normal or abnormal. It’s about identifying specific niches and building cars/trucks that work for those drivers.

            Your Volt would not work for me. Does that make you abnormal?

            (“>30 miles” is a red herring)

          • By the way, nice try with the implication there. It’s impressive that you can turn a discussion about EV range into implication of bigotry.

          • When you start defining “normal” as folks like you then you have wandered into the land of bigotry.

            Think about it.

  • Yet another article with zero information content 🙁

  • Thank you all for another lively discussion — especially Marion, who jumpstarted things with an observation about EV drivers who don’t get out much.

    I think we can widen the EV range satisfaction net by being a little more inclusive, though — for just one example, consider people who live in suburbs as well as cities and small towns, doing part of their daily commute by car and part by mass transit, with longer drives on weekends and vacations being served by another car in the household.

    • Just wondering, what area/areas were used for the study, did they include people living in the plains and how about Alaska?

  • My biggest grip is the difference between cold weather and warm weather charging. In the summer I am at about 80% of original capacity, but in the winter I get less than 50%. So my winter charge is 40 miles, its still more than a round trip to work, but not much. We have had to charge at outside stations or dealers a couple time which would be fine if they had super chargers, but they don’t so we ended up stranded for an hour to get less than 10 miles of charge to go home!

    • How cold is cold where you are?

      The coldest places may need a lot of parking lot charge points so that EVs can be topped up and warmed up while people are at work/shopping/school.
      The rapid charger system will improve. That’s not a help when you read it now, but things will get better.

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