EV battery technology has progressed to the point that range anxiety is becoming a thing of the past – at least on paper. A new study from Consumer Reports found that real-world driving ranges often fall way short of automakers’ advertised range estimates, but some exceed their on-paper numbers.
I’m guilty of complaining about EV charging infrastructure, but I’ve never been in a situation where charging times or lack of access ruined my day. That’s the exact opposite of the experience two thieves recently had in Georgia, as their stop to charge their Tesla Model X was their undoing.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced today that it will distribute $5 billion to establish electric-vehicle charging along the interstate highway system. Managed by the newly formed Joint Office of Energy and Transportation formed after the $1.2-trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed in Congress, the federal spend is a joint operation between the DOT and U.S. Department of Energy.
By 2030, the federal government is hoping to have a network of 500,000 charging stations in a bid to reduce range anxiety and spur EV adoption. But it wants individual states to make the necessary investments to connect the highway-based network to cities and towns. As you might have guessed, Democrat lawmakers have broadly supported the imitative while Republicans are calling it too expensive and a distraction from other aspects of U.S. infrastructure in need of maintenance.
Audi engaged in a publicity stunt this week to prove electric vehicles can be legitimate workhorses, capable of towing sizable items long distances without issue. While most EVs aren’t actually rated to tow anything, Audi’s e-Tron is supposedly able to haul a few thousand pounds worth of whatever behind it.
Audi Tulsa and Audi ONE, Audi of America’s Herndon-based electrification strategy team, supported the all-volunteer Oklahoma Chapter of the Electric Auto Association in testing that theory by taking one from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the Fully Charged Live electric-car event at Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
Under idyllic circumstances, the 500-mile journey should have depleted the crossover’s 95-kWh battery pack twice. However, Audi’s press release seems to indicate using an EV to tow a trailer is anything but ideal, and the resulting figures prove it.
Just the other day, Porsche discussed how excited it was with the number of people placing reservations for its hot new Taycan EV. Unfortunately, that release appears to have been timed to draw attention away from the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of the Taycan’s “fuel economy” — a figure that was waiting around the corner to bash Porsche’s shins with a lead pipe.
When the German automaker announced the model, it claimed the electric sedan would offer ranges of up to 280 miles on a single charge using the European Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). The real number came in at 256 miles for WLTP. Since EPA estimates are typically much more conservative than WLTP averages, many expected maximum range to come down substantially once the United States finished testing … and come down it did.
The EPA calculated the 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo as having a maximum range of 201 miles.
First off, we could debate whether a true “stripper” vehicle even exists in this era of generous standard content; arguably, my Chevrolet Cruze L doesn’t even make the cut — though one peek at the headliner material suggests otherwise. But I digress…
Certainly, the upcoming Nissan Leaf Plus is not the starting point of the Leaf line, but the new 62 kWh variant, with its larger battery and additional grunt, does include a modest “S” trim. And it seems the cheaper version of the long-range electric hatch packs a range advantage over its pricier siblings.
Much like with gasoline-powered vehicles, just how far you’ll travel in an electric car before your “tank” runs dry depends on driving style and the peculiarities of your chosen route.
A British publication has now put a range of electric vehicles, most available (or soon to be available) in the U.S., through their paces, reporting back on whether owners can expect to recoup every last mile promised by the manufacturers and the EPA. Your mileage may indeed vary.
Even though they’ve been around since the late 1800s, 60 percent of Americans surveyed this year said that they were “unaware” of electric cars. While one is forced to wonder exactly how the question was worded, no possible answer inspires confidence in the public’s knowledge on the subject of EVs.
It would seem, at least in this instance, that modern-day America is largely unfamiliar with the electric car. There is also an underlying range anxiety afflicting prospective buyers. That doesn’t bode well for the rapid normalization that many automakers are anticipating in the years to come. However, there is a silver lining for an electric future.
Now it can be told: About ten years ago, my pal Rodney was an employee at NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway Company(™). Not for long, however. He was fired for making a very specific suggestion to his female boss. TTAC is a family-friendly site, so the best way I can rephrase what he said would be this: “If you (meaning the boss) were to let me (meaning Rodney) aggressively sodomize you in the company bathroom, not only would you experience a form of pleasure with which you are currently not acquainted, it would also result in a significant change in your management style, for the better, particularly as it relates to me, as you would then experience submissive feelings whenever you spoke to me.”
I should point out that Rodney was speaking from honest experience here, having convinced at least two other women in the corporation to participate in similar activities.
“This time, however, I was the one who got f***ed,” Rodney mournfully confessed to me a few days later. “The worst part is that this put a real crimp in my plans for Obsidian Black.”
“Obsidian Black?” I replied, like I’d been the recent recipient of a traumatic brain injury.
“Obsidian Black,” Rodney clarified.
Or No Go?
One item that came up often on TTAC’s request for feedback on Code Brown’s review concerned its range. And while range anxiety is real for some, the P85D sports a 200+ mile range (253 according to Tesla’s website) which met my needs in a large metropolitan area.
But when I hit the road for The 24 Hours of LeMons, range anxiety was real.
With most EVs getting around 100 miles on a single charge from their battery packs, such vehicles are more suited for the downtown core than a trip to the mountains. However, Renault and LG Chem are looking toward boosting range toward Tesla-like levels, together.
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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