Survey: 89 Percent of Respondents Desire Electric Vehicle Range of Over 100 Miles; 97% Percent of Respondents Are LEAF Owners

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 18

Survey Says Potential Buyers Want Range

Survey Says LEAF Owners Want More Range

97 % of the Respondents Drive a Nissan LEAF

97 % of the Respondents Drive a Nissan LEAF

Allow us to preface these results by saying they’re skewed.  They are most definitely skewed.  But we will still share all the numbers here because there’s something else going on that we feel is worth pointing out.

First, why are the results skewed?  Well, when 97% of the respondents drive a Nissan LEAF, so there is no way you can consider the results flushed out to be typical of all electric vehicle owners.

So, let’s say this is mostly a survey on how LEAF owners feel, not on the sentiments of the electric vehicle population as a whole.   Further skewing the results though is that these LEAF owners all hail from one state: California.

Let’s move on.

Here are some of the results from those California LEAF owners.

  • 40% were not satisfied with their vehicle’s range
  • 32% desire 101 to 150 miles of range
  • 27% desire 151 to 200 miles of range
  • 10% desire 201 to 250 plus miles of range
  • 16% desire 250 to 300 miles of range (85-kWh Model S territory)
  • 4% desire over 300 miles of range
  • 10% are okay with the LEAF’s less than 100 miles of range…actually its 1% for 0-50 miles and 9% for 51 to 100 miles

There are tons of takeaway points we could pull from these results.

For example, since a significant percentage (40%) of  LEAF owners weren’t satisfied with the vehicle’s range, then maybe Nissan should respond by offering a longer range option.

And since only 4% desire more than 300 miles of range, then maybe Tesla should not expand the current range of what the Model S is capable of.

Is there anything else contained within this data that’s worth pointing out?

via Center for Sustainable Energy California

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18 responses to "Survey: 89 Percent of Respondents Desire Electric Vehicle Range of Over 100 Miles; 97% Percent of Respondents Are LEAF Owners"

  1. David Murray says:

    I’ve seen endless people asking for Nissan to increase the range of the Leaf. I’m all for that, but I seriously believe the only way to accomplish that currently is to offer two different models. They need to keep that low-end S model available so they can advertise the base price of a Leaf. If they want to make a version with more range, it should be an upgrade. Most likely they should place a secondary battery pack in the cargo area floor. They could probably get the range up over 100 real-world miles (instead of the current 75).

  2. Brian Smith says:

    I wonder why the survey didn’t ask how much more those owners would have been willing to pay for the range increase?

    1. Therein lies the rub. Of course people want more range. I’ll take a 500 mile EV too but the real question is what will people pay for every 20 or so extra miles of additional range? I’d love to see a comprehensive study on that. If Nissan did offer larger packs at what point would the cost not outweigh the benefit?

      Lets say a 29kWh battery was optional and it cost an extra $3,000 and had an EPA rating of 105mpc and they also had a 34kWh option that delivered an EPA rating of 125mpc but it cost an extra $6,000. What would be more popular?

  3. Nicklas says:

    I own a Leaf and cannot comprehend this obsession with greater range… For the majority of travels the current 75 miles is perfect, resulting in a good price/performance ratio.

    Then, during long trips, we just need more fast chargers… it is actually good to stop and rest for a while now and then 🙂

    We live in Sweden and are planning to go to Legoland, Denmark this summer… of course with the Leaf!

    1. Dave R says:

      The biggest issue with the LEAF and longer trips is that a QC to 80% only gets you about another 50 miles at highway speeds before you need to QC again.

      So realistically you might go 65 miles on your first charge (assuming you charge to 100% at home), then 50 miles for each subsequent QC.

      This isn’t really suitable for any trip longer than about 115 miles, especially considering that the LEAFs battery without any active cooling quickly heats up if you perform multiple QCs in a day in a road-trip scenario.

      But let’s say you can do 100 miles (since that’s what the survey says that people want) on a 100% charge and 80 miles on a 80% QC.

      Now you might drive 85-90 miles before stopping to QC which would get you another 80 miles for a total of 165-170 miles with one QC.

      That is a huge amount farther and then the LEAF starts to make sense for longer trips. You still probably don’t want to drive much farther than 250 miles / day, but it could be done with much less time spent charging as you’d have to do currently.

      And a 100 mile EPA range would also give people in cold climates much better range in winter and leave customers with much more usable range as the battery inevitably declines in capacity.

  4. Josh says:

    It is funny to compare the mindsets. Tesla doesn’t feel that a vehicle with an EPA range under 200 miles as a viable vehicle, while none of the other OEMs produce anything with a 100 mile EPA range. I don’t count the RAV4, because it would surely have a lower range if Tesla was t on the project.

    For myself driving in Houston, EPA 100 miles would be much better. It would pretty much ensure I don’t have to QC twice in a day. However my ideal EV would make the trip to Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas, with only one charge stop. Any farther than that and I am headed to the airport.

    1. Josh says:

      (Typed this while sitting at a DCQC ironically)

    2. David Murray says:

      I agree. I live in Fort Worth and I’ve thought about trying to take a trip to Austin or Houston in my Leaf. Even if there were QC stations along the route, I’d have to stop and QC 4 or 5 times between Fort Worth and Houston. That would add 2 or 3 hours to my trip. I think it would be reasonable for an EV to have enough range to make it half-way to a QC station near a restaurant. I usually stop to eat on such a journey anyway.

      The unspoken issue about these road trips is also the speed. The speed limit between our two cities is 75 mph and most people are driving over 80. The Leaf’s battery drains very quickly at that speed. So right now Tesla has the only vehicle that would be able to handle a trip like that at a decent speed with one supercharge at the half-way point.

    3. Jeremy says:

      The second gen rav4 EV is a tesla drivetrain and battery…

  5. bloggin says:

    It seems this survey is based on consumers wanting economical commuter EVs, as opposed to consumers looking for $70K+ luxury EVs. Two different consumers.

    While economical consumers tend to look for just enough to get them where they are going, the luxury car buyer is looking for more, more, much much more range because it’s available.

    But 200 EV miles looks like the sweet spot for commuters, with the lowest diminishing returns based on the survey:

    – Going from 150 to 200 EV miles has a low 5% drop(32% – 27%), while going from 200 to 250 has a 17% drop(27% to 17%).

    Which seems to be consistent with what comers have bee saying all along, and why GM is talking about a 200 mile EV.

  6. Warren says:

    Clearly, these folks want Tesla range at the price of a Leaf. They live in California, and could have purchased either, but went for the Leaf. I want that too, but I know it won’t happen for at least five years, if ever.

    1. Dave R says:

      100+mi range is a long ways from the 208-265 mi that Tesla offers – only about half. Bump the LEAF’s 24 kWh battery pack up to 32 kWh and that would get it up to 100 mi EPA range. If Tesla can sell 25 kWh for $10,000, it should only cost about $3,200 to do it.

      If you made 8 kWh a $3,200 option, I guarantee you that virtually everyone will buy it – the same way that nearly everyone was opting for the QC port despite a lack of QC stations.

  7. Bennyd says:

    100mile of EPA range is ideal. My wife commutes 84 miles each day. The extra buffer will eliminate range anxiety. The BMW i3 is almost ideal but pricy.

  8. Brad B says:

    As regards anything else interesting in the data. I think the results are heavily skewed to the acceptance of shorter range numbers because the poll took the opinions of those folks that have already made the decision with their wallet as to the range that is acceptable to them and as indicated in the chart most want at least a little more than what they have. A poll of 97% Tesla owners would be completely at the other end of the spectrum. Though they are happy with there 265 mile EPA car, in watching the various Tesla forums I would say that you could take the 32% bar on the chart and place that on the 300 mile plus range and the approximate bell curve would taper either side of that. There is no way only 4% of them would want 300 or more miles. I think Elon said that only 4% of Tesla buyers chose the 40 KWh car that would have had 140 mile range. A poll of ICE drivers would be even worse. My two cents ;^)

  9. Doug Liser says:

    The Leaf is really about a 50 mile car. If you start with the recommended 80% charge and park it with 15-20 miles at night, 50 is a comfortable number even with some HVAC, highway and extreme stop-go. A larger battery would:

    1. increase range (obviously)
    2. increase battery life (fewer charge cycles)
    3. reduce charging cost by reducing peak power recharges

    Because of the last 10-20 mile safety buffer, adding say 20% of battery increases usable range by more than 20%,

    I would pay $500/kwh to go up to around 34kwh. The Rav4 has 40kwh, although less efficient than the Leaf. I’m probably leasing the Rav4 next unless Nissan can improve range.

    1. evnow says:

      “extreme stop-go” = longer range (if not heating).

  10. Brian Keez says:

    I took the suvey, have 43k miles on my 2011 LEAF and did respond that a 101-150 mile range is preferred. The car (combined with DC Quick charging) meets my needs. However, I have a commute with various destinations that are 50 miles away, minimum. Yesterday, I drove 160 miles and QC’d three times. It’s wonderful that the DC Quick chargers are available but with a 150-mile range, I would have only needed one stop to charge. The Tesla S would be range-nice but would not save me any money.

    If I can move closer to my main service area, I will rarely need to quick charge.

  11. John says:

    There are two major components to the EV pricing, the glider with motor and the battery.

    Battery prices are working their way down but the market for used batteries has not developed quite yet. If we consider that a battery retired from an EV application still retains 80% of it’s capacity we should expect a reasonable recovery value as these batteries find secondary applications. If we can get 50% recovery value on the battery then the TCO for an EV with larger batteries gets even more attractive.