How Far Can An Electric Vehicle (EV) Go?
Updated: Feb 11, 2022
In 2022, more EVs are available than ever before, including the Rivian R1T, the first all-electric pickup, and the Lucid Air, winner of the 2022 Motor Trend Car of the Year award. As EV sales increase, ownership is becoming more mainstream and widespread. Now, EV shoppers have many options, from simple sedans to luxury cars and powerful SUVs.
If you're going to have a business installing EV Charging Stations, you should know about EVs. For instance, how far can one go?
Many solar installers are also installing EV chargers as a way to upsell customers and provide a value add service.
Many potential EV drivers are concerned about recharging their EV batteries on the go because it is harder to charge a car than fill up with gas. Although range anxiety may not be a direct concern of your customers, let’s explore this critical topic so you can help educate the masses.
What Is An Electric Vehicle?
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have one or more electric motors to propel the vehicle and a battery pack to store energy. However, all-electric vehicles do not have an internal combustion engine and most have regenerative braking, which helps charge the battery when braking.
Now, there are all-electric sedans, SUVs, CUVs, sports cars, and pick-ups available on the market. Both legacy automakers, such as BMW, Chevy, and Hyundai, make EVs, as well as American start-ups like Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid Motors. Also, there are all-electric delivery vans and semis on the horizon.
By contrast, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) contain one or more electric motors and an internal combustion engine, and its battery pack can be charged by plugging in the vehicle. The batteries power the electric motor, while a fuel source (often gasoline) powers the internal combustion engine.
Most models run on electricity first and then switch to the internal combustion engine when the batteries are depleted. Toyota, Ford, BMW, Hyundai, Volvo, and Mercedes all manufacture PHEVs. Although the all-electric driving range of plug-in hybrids is typically far less than for BEVs, drivers can use fuel to augment the range.
What Is The Average Range For An Electric Vehicle?
Because BEVs rely only on power from the batteries, they must be charged periodically. Often, this is roughly similar or less compared to how far a conventional vehicle can drive before it needs to be refueled. However, a number of factors can also impact electric car range, such as ambient temperatures, topography, and driving style.
The average range for an EV is currently just under 200 miles, but ranges are gradually increasing in newer models as battery technology advances. However, EV ranges vary widely among manufacturers and models. For example, a quick search of manufacturers’ websites shows the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt’s range is up to 259 miles per charge, yet the 2022 Mini Cooper’s range is just 114 miles at most. The Jaguar I-Pace and Polestar 2 have similar ranges at 234 miles and 249 miles respectively, according to the manufacturer.
Many automakers are offering standard and extended-range options with a larger battery for an additional charge. For example, the Nissan Leaf with the standard 40 kWh battery can go up to 149 miles on a full charge or 226 miles with the 62-kWh battery. The R1T Rivian pickup has a 314-mile range and a 400-mile long-range version will be available later this year for an additional $10,000.
Some BEVs have far longer ranges, partially because they have higher-capacity batteries. For example, the 2022 Tesla Model S has an EPA-rated range of up to 405 miles on a single charge. Impressively, the Lucid Air Dream Edition R has an EPA rating of 520 miles.
Increasingly, many companies are starting to add BEVs to their corporate fleets, sometimes to help meet carbon emission reduction targets. One big selling point is that the cost of owning a BEV is lower than a conventional car because they require less maintenance and it results in savings on fuel. Depending on the needed range for the vehicle, some models are insufficient for commercial use.
So, How Far Can An Electric Car Go On One Charge?
Because the range of an EV varies depending on the model, start by researching the EPA-rated range. Remember that real-world driving conditions can also impact the vehicle range, usually decreasing the range.
Over time, the range of new BEV models has increased significantly. For example, the first-generation Nissan Leaf had a range of about 85 miles with a 24-kWh battery compared to the standard 40 kWh battery with a 149-mile range available now. And, as battery technology advances, the range of future BEVs will likely increase accordingly.
When traveling long distances, it is often necessary to charge on the go at a commercial EV charging station. As the charging infrastructure improves, there will be more public charging options than ever before and these options are likely to increase over time. Now, shopping centers, parking garages, workplaces, business districts and even some multifamily buildings have charging stations.
How Long Does It Take To Recharge An Electric Vehicle?
Charging times for EVs vary largely based on the type of charging station and the capacity of the battery. For example, Level I EV battery chargers that use a standard wall outlet and can take up to 24 hours to charge. By contrast, most Level II chargers take about 4 – 6 hours to fully charge a depleted battery, making them far more appealing.
DC fast chargers are the fastest option available, and some can fully charge a battery in minutes instead of hours. However, regularly using a fast charger can cause battery degradation, reducing the capacity of the battery slightly over time.
For this reason, Level II chargers have become popular for home use, and many EV drivers install these chargers. Currently, DC fast chargers are prohibitively expensive for most homeowners, so they are mostly just commercially available.
What Impacts An EV’s Range?
There are many factors that can decrease the driving range of a BEV. Likewise, many of these factors also decrease fuel economy for internal combustion engines.
Temperature: Unfortunately, EV batteries don’t perform as well in cold conditions, so vehicle range decreases by up to 20% in colder temperatures.
Heat & AC: When the heat, seat warmers or air conditioner are on, especially on full blast, it decreases the vehicle range. When battery life is an issue, it is helpful to have the heat or AC on low.
Speed: Traveling at higher speeds, such as over 60 mph, decreases the driving range.
Payload: Excess weight in the vehicle also shortens the range. When possible, avoid hauling heavy items and cargo.
Driving style: Quick acceleration and fast driving reduce the range of BEVs. Thus, accelerate gradually when possible.
Battery degradation: As batteries age, they become less effective at holding a charge. When possible, avoid exposure to extremely high temperatures when parked and avoid fast charging except when it is imperative, like on a road trip where charger availability may be scarce.
Does An EV’s Range Decrease Over The Life Of The Vehicle?
As BEVs age, vehicle range decreases due to battery degradation. However, most EV manufacturers offer a battery warranty for a specific number of miles. For example, many offer an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty for the battery ensuring at least 70% of its original capacity.
When purchasing a used EV, it is essential to consider how degradation may have decreased the range of the EV. Also, the battery warranty is an important consideration when purchasing a used EV, because some out-of-warranty battery repairs are expensive.
EVs Are In It For The Long Haul
Although EVs were an anomaly a few years ago, they are becoming far more mainstream and gaining popularity. In 2022, Cadillac, Mazda, and Mercedes-Benz released their first BEVs. Now, most automakers have at least one all-electric model and some, including BMW, Kia, Audi, Tesla, and Hyundai, have multiple. Meanwhile, Nissan and Toyota announced multi-billion-dollar investments in BEVs over the next few years and many more all-electric models.
Although EVs are an excellent way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, charging them with renewable energy helps them further slow climate change. Thus, solar energy installations and electric vehicles are an excellent combination.
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