Range worries analyzed

Range worries analyzed

With an EV in your garage, your “tank” is always topped up every morning—certainly not the usual experience with gasoline-fueled cars. So with an EV, you will worry about a tank that is only quarter-full far less often.

A long-day’s road trip into unfamiliar territory, however, forces the driver to plan. It is not about finding a place to plug in, provided you carry along a 100-ft extension cord. Superchargers and Level Three public chargers excepted, the limiting factor is the considerable time that it takes to charge, and what you do during the wait. Essentially, one must look for hotels with nearby charging facilities (and perhaps phone ahead to reserve space). That means, at best, only 250 leisurely miles each day.

But overnight (ten hours) on 120 volts only gets you another 45 miles (a full charge takes 52 hours). With a 24 amp line at a Level Two public station, you get 190 miles overnight. With a 40 amp 220V circuit (the NEMA 14-50 connector), you get the full 300 miles. (These are Tesla Model S numbers.)

So there should be less range anxiety for ordinary around-town stuff where 50 miles a day is a lot--but there is less freedom of movement for last-minute get-away weekends where you haven’t planned ahead. Yet with what you are saving on fuel every month, you can afford to rent another car for such infrequent occasions.

ian | 5 maggio 2013

Don't forget about all the 50 amp connections at RV parks and camp grounds.

You're pretty much spot on though. Until the Supercharger network gets built out multi day road trips will take a bit more planning than usual. To say that you're limited to 250 miles a day is simply not true. Unless you're going seriosly off grid. Even then I bet if you did some research you'd be able to find a connection with enough juice that you wouldn't have to wait more than a few hous for a full charge.

Benz | 6 maggio 2013

I want to say something.

But how shall I phrase it?

Owning and driving an EV requires you to think differently.

You know, there is a normal toothbrush and there is an electrical toothbrush. Both are used for the same purpose. And both require a different way of using it. People have to get used to it. That's all there is. People need to adapt and accept that as time goes by, gradually things do change. Nothing stays the same (almost). Therefore, I say: "Go with the flow". But not everybody does that.

Yes, that's what I wanted to say.

Brian H | 6 maggio 2013

What is needed is more "Power to the People"! :D

wcalvin | 6 maggio 2013

I was including RV parks in Level Two. The problem there is; Who wants to hang around an RV park for so long? They are not usually in scenic spots or near a motel. Just handy in a pinch.

ian | 6 maggio 2013

Well said Benz! By far the best post of yours that I've read. ;-)

wcalvin - Gotcha. I still think your 250 mile daily is a little conservative. I don't have an S yet though so I'm only basing that on what I've read.

alanwwebb | 6 maggio 2013

Range anxiety is for newbies and journalists.
After you've driven an EV for awhile, you get to know it.
You don't try to drive 300 miles unless you are making a point.
You won't get 250 either unless you are pretty careful.
You tool around comfortably for a couple hundred miles, go home
and charge up.

But, I will say the Model S eats electrons far faster than our Roadster Sport.
Could be hauling the extra 1900 pounds up those Colorado hills.
Ya think?

zero2hide | 6 maggio 2013

And let's keep in mind folks, the USA has electric infrastructure already in place to support EVs. Access to cheap electricity is almost everywhere here, and can even be produced by a variety of mechanisms unlike say hydrogen stations, (they'll catch on real quick btw, not!)

My personal gut feeling is that pure BEV adoption will happen way quicker than the general public can currently visualize, but it will be other countries that will lead the way in the adoption curve due to higher gasoline costs relative to income.