By on March 21, 2014

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Yes, we know water is wet too, but this study from the AAA provides some interesting findings regarding how extreme temperatures affect the driving range of electric vehicles.

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By on April 10, 2013

So-called “range anxiety” is the biggest — perhaps the only — issue being discussed in the electric-vehicle debate nowadays. Whether it’s a Leaf crapping out at the sixty-mile mark or a Tesla Model S driving in circles around a parking lot to drain the battery for theatrical purposes, electric cars and range potential are linked in the minds of most potential buyers by a true Gordian knot.

If the people at Phinergy are correct, that knot can be sliced by a sword constructed from charged aluminum plates — and the resulting rewards would be spectacular, to say the least.

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By on February 20, 2013

The drama circling around the New York Times test of the Tesla Model S doesn’t surprise me one bit. Why? Because I understand, perhaps at a deeper level than most of the motoring press, how batteries work. Perhaps that has to do with growing up in a family of engineers and scientists, but battery technology has always interested me. So when people from Phoenix came to me crying in their soup about their LEAFs in the heat and friends started wagging fingers at Tesla and the New York Times, I figured it was time for a battery reality check.

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By on May 22, 2011

Though an global Accenture study [via Green Car Congress] found that up to 68% of respondents would consider a plug-in electric vehicle for their next purchase, the issue of range continues to be the great unknown. And unfortunately for all the models and predictions of future EV sales, the issue of range points to some severely irrational consumer behavior. Namely, there’s a giant disconnect (nearly ten-fold in fact) between the actual number of kilometers driven each day and the range expectations for future EV purchases. Meanwhile, 62% of respondents rejected battery swapping, the most credible current solution for range anxiety, for reasons that are not immediately clear. In short, Energy Secretary Chu had beeter be right when he says EV range will triple and costs will be reduced over the next six years… otherwise, EVs will die a quick death at the hand of consumers’ outsized range expectations.

By on May 17, 2011

When I was a kid I was told that by the time I was 30 we would all be piloting nuclear powered flying cars. Reality, of course, has dictated that gasoline is still the most cost effective way of delivering what the average person considers a “normal driving experience.” In an attempt to change not just how we “fuel” a car, but the very way a car is integrated into our lives, Nissan has released the first volume produced electric car in North America. Yea, yea I know about the GM EV1, Toyota Rav4 EV and the Ford experiments, but let’s be real, Nissan has already sold more Leafs (Nissan tells me the plural is not Leaves) in the first few tsunami-effected months of this year than GM sold during the two years of EV1 production. How did they do it? We borrowed a white Leaf for just under three days to find out why 20,000 have already pre-ordered one of these pure-electric cars.

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By on February 2, 2011

Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles (FCVs) are enjoying something of a comeback lately, as everyone from Hyundai and Honda to GM and Daimler are talking about forthcoming production versions of test-fleet FCVs. And with EVs poised to both dominate the short-term green-car game and inevitably disappoint consumers, it’s no surprise that the perennial “fuel of the future” is enjoying a fresh look from automakers. But if high cost and range anxiety are the flies in the EV ointment, the FCV-boosters are finding their hydrogen cars tend to suffer from the same problems. Daimler says

By 2015, we think a fuel cell car will not cost more than a four-cylinder diesel hybrid that meets the Euro 6 emissions standard.

but that by no means guarantees its Mercedes FCV will be truly “affordable” by any reasonable standard, as diesel-electrics are considered one of the most expensive applications of internal combustion power. And then there’s the whole range issue. Yes, FCVs refuel faster than EVs, but even the most ambitious of Hydrogen-boosters, Daimler, are only pushing vehicles with a 250-mile range. Which is why we puzzled a bit over The Globe And Mail‘s assesment that

Three Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL models will make [a 125-day] global trek, which will seek to highlight the real-world benefits of fuel cells versus EVs – mainly their much further range

Flipping over to AutoMotorundSport, we find that the irony which completely escaped the G&M is threatening to overwhelm Daimler’s entire demonstration. And, as is only natural when things like this occur, there’s a bizarre TTAC connection…

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By on November 20, 2010

The first time I came to Houston, TX, was  in 1986. The “reverse oil crisis” had brought the price of crude below $10, and Houston was a ghost town. In nearby Port Arthur, unused oil rigs piled up at the shore, and grass grew on downtown Procter Street. Now, Houston, home of the Petroleum Club (and some clubs the greater Baruth family would fancy), could become the model city for electric vehicles. According to plan, nobody will be farther away from a charging station than five miles, and you can charge up as much as your EV can eat for a flat monthly fee. (Read More…)

By on November 19, 2010

Did you know that there’s an Electric Drive Transportation Association? It’s a group that wants you to ditch your ICE-powered car and run on battery instead. Their member list is huge. Just about every important automaker is on it. Utility companies  from Austin Energy all the way to the Tennessee Valley Authority are members. Battery manufacturers, component suppliers, infrastructure developers are members. The City of New York is. Hertz is. And if things get dicey, the association can call upon their member L-3 Communications-Combat Propulsion Systems to provide fire support.

But as big as they are, they are scared. They are worried that customers may not plug in. Or, as Reuters put it, they are concerned that “the ‘range anxiety’ drivers of plug-in electric cars may suffer is preceded by anxiety over the wisdom of buying one.” And what do they do to allay these fears? Cheaper cars? Longer lasting batteries? Free charging stations? (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2010

Yes, we know the drill: range will vary with an EV, even more so than with a gas car. Nissan has now set out a number of scenarios to project the range of its Leaf EV. It confirms what we’ve been saying all along: this is not the car to buy if you like driving fast. There’s little doubt that a Baruthian blast could deplete one in some 30 miles or less. On the other hand, if you like driving at a steady 38 mph… (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2010

What does the line “It’s More Car Than Electric!” mean? Beats us, but apparently it’s supposed to make you want to buy a Chevrolet Volt. Maybe “The electric car you can just put gas in on those days when you’re not giving a crap about the environment” was too long. Perhaps “It’s actually a series hybrid” didn’t pop with consumers. And maybe “Avoid the scary Range Anxiety® you get with ‘real’ electric cars” was too aggressive. All we know is, GM has registered “It’s More Car Than Electric,” and it’s time to get used to it. Meanwhile, how did we not find the ad parody above sooner?

By on September 21, 2010

Now that GM is thinking about trademarking “range anxiety,” the only choice left to Nissan is to do something about range anxiety. (Just in case GM is successful with their trademark application, we’ll call it Arrival Angst™ … remember, you’ve seen it here first, just in case we’ll have to call you as a witness.)  According to The Nikkei [sub], Nissan “will offer buyers of its Leaf electric car a service to ease drivers’ dread of having the batteries run out while on the road.” (See, even The Nikkei is staying away from “range anxiety.” Alright, let’s trademark Distance Dread™ also.) So how will that service work? (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2010


People have a lot of fears with electric cars/extended range electric cars. Will the government subsidies distort the market? Can manufacturers be able to sell them profitably? Are they really that environmentally sound? But the one which gets everyone is “range anxiety”. Will I have enough juice to get me home? It’s an issue which manufacturers are dealing with in their own ways. GM has come up with their own way of dealing with it; they’re trademarking it: With range anxiety being trademarked, someone just dreams the word, and GM’s lawyers will be on top of him, and make him surrender the illicit dream. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2010

Range anxiety. The performance angst and penis envy of the new millennium. So you want to be nice to the planet. You no longer want to desecrate dead dinosaurs. You want to plug in and tune out.

But you also want visit grandpa and grandma who live 150 miles away, and you don’t want to overstay your welcome with an orange cord dangling out of the window. What to do? It’s so simple, that we wonder why nobody has thought of it: (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2010



While GM has problems trying to get the Volt price point to a point where customers won’t suffer a coronary (even with help from the DC sugar daddies), Nissan has a few problems of their own. Nissan is still reeling from the news that a Nissan Leaf would save you the princely sum of $361. Now, Automotive News [sub] reports another black eye on Nissan’s “Prius Killer”. Automotive News says that Nissan’s “100 miles range” may be slightly off in real world conditions. How far off? (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2010

Wired hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head when it titled its recent review of the pure plug-in Smart ForTwo Electric Drive “Smart EV Would Be Smarter if It Were Cheaper.”

Well, it’s not. As a matter of fact, it’s insanely expensive. (Read More…)

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