While many people don't always NEED lots of range, it's critical as EVs move forward.
To say that range isn't important for EVs just doesn't make sense. However, in the past, as fans (our site included) have worked to push EV adoption, it has been repeatedly pointed out that most people don't need 300 or 400 miles of range on a regular basis. So, many people could own a short-range EV and be just fine most of the time. This is especially true if their EV is a second or third car.
With that said, the keyword is "most." Who wants a car that will work for them in MOST cases, but may not prove viable for longer commutes, very busy days, frigid conditions, and road trips? People shouldn't have to sacrifice when switching from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric car. If they do have to sacrifice, they're probably going to hesitate. This is likely even more true if the short-range EV is very expensive.
Our good friend Sean Mitchell talks about why he thinks range is still king when it comes to electric cars. He owns an older Tesla Model S and happens to do a ton of driving, so he knows what it's like to have range anxiety. In fact, before his battery swap, his Tesla had 200 miles of range. Mitchell compares this to the Porsche Taycan and its 201-mile range. The Taycan is an incredible car in almost every way, but will its range cause concern for buyers?
Check out the brief video and then share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Video Description via Sean Mitchell (All Things EV) on YouTube:
EV range: Why it’s still the most important feature - even for the Taycan
Let’s talk about EV range
Some people say it matters, other say it doesn’t.
I’d like to address why it is still the most important feature for an EV - even for a car like the gorgeous looking Taycan.
I had someone comment on one of my videos recently and tell me that Porsche owners don’t buy their vehicles for efficiency but for performance.
I quickly replied back that in order to have performance you must have range.
Here’s what I mean:
If you have a 200 mile Taycan, as beautiful looking as it is, and you’re driving this vehicle how Porsche has designed it, you’re probably not driving the speed limit. That means that 201 mile range will be less. Don’t forget that range is also slightly reduced when the weather gets below freezing.
But let’s assume you live in a country where people never speed, you only travel 50 miles per day, and charge your vehicle at home. Will an EV that has 200 miles be sufficient? It sure will.
But the moment you want to take that car on a road trip you will be stopping every 150-175 miles to charge. And while the EV charging infrastructure is good, it is not as dense as gas stations are in 2020. This means you’ll be charging more often in a Taycan than say a Performance Model S - an EV that has 348 miles of range and stopping every 300-325 miles.
Even the 2012 Model S P85 had 265 miles of range.
I know what this is like because before my battery swap my Model S went about 200 miles.
I’m not the only one either.
I put out a survey on Twitter asking which feature was most important between range, performance, self driving, and price. Of the more than 3,100 people who voted, 54% said range.
Why is range the most important feature in an EV?
I suspect it’s because range of EVs is not quite on par with a gas vehicle - yet.
The most efficient Model 3 is able to travel about 322 miles on a single charge for about $50K. The most efficient fully gas Toyota Corolla will travel close to 450 miles for about $22K.
At some point when EV range is on par with gas and charging infrastructure is equally dense as gas stations, range may not be as important as other features.
But until then, range should be a top priority for automakers.