Op-Ed: Future Electric Cars Need 200 Miles Of Range

MAR 25 2015 BY STAFF 78

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt

Apple has been dominating the headlines as of late, with its talks of developing an electric car. It’s taken some attention away from some other big news, though. Apparently, there seems to be a race to develop the first 200 mile electric car for around $30,000, between Tesla, GM and Nissan.

At the moment, the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf, Fiat 500e and BMW i3 all have less than 100 miles of range. That’s being a bit generous, as most will only hit 100 miles if driven like a tortoise with no A/C, heat or radio on. But regardless, 100 miles seems to be the consistent number amongst all EVs today. The Tesla has a claimed 200-plus mile range, but doesn’t fit into the same price bracket.

The new goal seems to not only be 200 miles, but to hit the 200 mile mark without getting into $40,000 territory. At the moment, both the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt occupy that price group, while the i3 and Tesla Model S are a bit more expensive. Well, the i3 is a bit more, starting at $42,400, but drops into the $30,000’s after government incentives. The Tesla is quite a lot more, starting a $69,000 before incentives. At that price point, a 200 mile range is expected.

*Editor’s Note: This opinion article appears on BMWBLOG. Check it out here.

BMW i3 Nissan Leaf VW E Golf 1200x800 c1af4ace06b31cec 750x500 Future electric vehicles need at least 200 miles driving range

e-Golf, LEAF and i3

Since Tesla can already achieve 200 miles of range, it will probably be the first ones to accomplish the task, especially with its uber-high-tech Gigafactory almost up to full speed. Elon Musk has already confirmed a Model 3, which will compete in size, luxury and price with the BMW 3 Series. Musk claims will hit that 200 mile mark along with the sub $40,000 price mark. Musk is a man of bold claims, however, he usually has a penchant for backing them up, so I don’t see this as a farfetched idea. While other companies claim they’re up to this task, if anyone is, it’s Tesla.

Tesla Model # first to hit 200 Miles For Less Than $40,000?

Tesla Model # first to hit 200 Miles For Less Than $40,000?

Chevy seems to think they can hang with Musk’s EV giant, with its new Bolt. The Bolt is said to hit both the 200 mile a $30,000 price goal, after incentives. Actually, GM CEO, Mary Barra, has claimed the Bolt can surpass that goal. That, to me at least, is just chest-pumping by GM and will not come to fruition. It’s rumored that GM’s Orion Michigan plant, said to produce the Bolt, will be starting up come 2016. So according to GM, this 200 mile, $30,000 Bolt will be available in 2017, which is ironic as that’s supposedly right on schedule with Tesla’s Gigafactory and Model 3. How coincidental?

Nissan, not to be left out of this party, also claims that it has the ability to turn the Leaf into a 200 mile EV, and considering it’s already in the price range, that would make Nissan first to hit the mark. Actually, Nissan claims that this new “Uber-Leaf” will be able to reach 250 miles, but Nissan also claims that the current Leaf can reach 142 miles, which it plainly cannot. Much of these claims came after the unveiling of the Chevy Bolt concept at the Detroit Auto Show, so it seems to me that Nissan just felt left out and needed to puff its chest out a bit so we would take notice.

Chevrolet Unveils Bolt EB and Next Generation Volt

Chevy Bolt

As far as the i3 goes, there doesn’t seem to be any news regarding a 200 mile range in the future. All we know is that BMW is working on battery technology with Toyota and it already has the lightweight technology to make such a car happen. I think BMW is confident in the i3 as it stands now, but measures will be taken in the future to ensure the i3’s competitiveness in the segment. Maybe BMW, with some help from Toyota, can boost the range on the i3, as it’s light enough to add bigger batteries without making it too heavy.

Out of all the car companies shooting for this lofty 200 mile/$30,000 goal, I see Tesla doing it first. They already have the means to make the Model S do it, and the Model S weighs as much as a small aircraft carrier. So a new Model 3 with less weight than the Model S, less standard equipment and similar battery levels should be able to reach both range and price goals. Maybe Chevy and Nissan can pull it off as well, but if I had to put my chips down on one company to get it done, it’d be Tesla.

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78 Comments on "Op-Ed: Future Electric Cars Need 200 Miles Of Range"

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I’m skeptical that the Bolt will have an EPA rating of 200 or more. I will be surprised. I’m really expecting GM and Nissan to come out with vehicles EPA rated closer to 150.

The Sonic sells for $15K. The bolt which is the same platform as the Sonic will sell for $35K. You are paying double for those batteries. It won’t sell unless it does have 200 mile EPA range.

The actual price quoted by the GM CEO was $37,500, which is $30,000 after the current $7500 federal tax credit.

I agree. I remember when Nissan advertised 100 miles on the Leaf. Never got anywhere near that the entire time I had one.

OTOH, I know a few Volt owners who frequently beat the 35/38 EPA miles driving normally.

Still, somehow, I think the Bolt will come up short like the Leaf rather than exceed expectations like the Volt. We shall soon see though.

I agree, It’s difficult to hold GMs feet to the fire when they make a blanket statement of 200 miles. And, Nissan would own the car market if their 2nd gen Leaf truly will meet the EPA specs with a 200 mile rating.

I’m think Nissan’s 200 mile claim is more like an honest 120-150 miles at best on the EPA cycle.

There is no magic number for range that EVs need. This mindset is just slowing down the process. Some people are OK with 50, some 60, etc, etc. Not many on a percentage basis need more than 120 for their everyday needs and 200 doesn’t offer much additional functionality. It is not enough for most people for road trips. Of course this is all dependent on price. If 200 miles only costs a couple of thousand more to the purchaser than 150, it should sell fine but if it is $5K additional then I think the 120-150 mile EVs and 250+ mile EVs will sell better.

I think it has been “magic number” for some time. Just as with “80% drive <40 miles/day", per NHTSA, mass market appeal is built around certain benchmarks. As range goes down, so goes down utility, money saved on fuel and free-time lost charging in the wild. We also know range is weather dependent, to greater degrees than with, dramatically less efficient, ICE vehicles.

Range budgeting sucks, whether gas or watts. Adoption is slowed for these practical reasons.

200 mile range under government standards is probably more like 100 miles on my bad day (cold weather, high speed freeway, 15% battery degradation after 30k miles). With daily commute of 60 miles, and considering that I may drive a little when I go out for lunch, I could arrive home with less that 25% charge left in the battery. And most drivers out there would like to have that much in reserve.

@ woz. Wrong. Evs need over 100 miles range for a city car and 200+ miles range for a practical family car. Quick charging is a must have as well. If people only needed 60 miles of range and 8 hours of charging afterward like my first Leaf, the Leaf would have sold millions. Long range EVs are a must have for accelerated adoption and acceptance in the market. Very few people can get by with 60 miles range. I did for 3 years and it was painful being an early adopter spending hours a week waiting at public chargers and driving a few mph looking for a charger that wasn’t broken running on empty. I sacrificed to support Nissan and live by example. I don’t regret it, but it was painful having a 60 mile ev. Now I have the Rav4 and I can go 130 miles on a charge easy. It changed my life for the better. The rav lacks a quick charger because Toyota and Tesla I presume have too many fools on their engineering team to make good product decisions. I’m working on fixing their mistake by getting an aftermarket quick charger on the Rav 4… Read more »


Each driver has their own magic number. Some want 100, some want 150, some want 200, some want 250 . . . some want more.

More companies need to provide a variety of battery sizes. Tesla is the only one that got this right and even they annoyingly canceled one of their original 3 different battery sizes.

The reason that Tesla cancelled the 40 kWh Tesla Model S is that less than 2% of customers were ordering it. Heck, even for the 60 kWh version, only about 7% of customers order it. The lesson seems pretty clear: The overwhelming majority of people who buy compelling BEVs want them to have a pretty good range, and given the choice they wouldn’t settle for a range of less than well over 100 miles, even if they have to pay more for that choice.

Sure, it would be nice if auto makers offered a variety of battery pack sizes. But there’s little point in making smaller sizes if so few want to buy them.

the Model S is an expensive car; i suspect that most of the people who would have considered the 40kwh Model S bought the Nissan Leaf instead. that effectively made the Model S a car that was targeted toward the luxury segment; so you get most of the sales at the top end. i mean, a 60 khw Model S is like $70,000 – that’s basically in the s-class price range, so the people in the market for such a car are generally also going to be able to buy a $100,000 car.

Actually I would have bought a 40 KWh if it had come with a rex option since that would have made it directly able to cope with all situations, vacations included, without the need to be supercharger road constrained, which where also not even present back then. The right car would be an interbreed between a Volt and a Model S. The Volt would lose that central battery problem and get 5 seats, plus double the range and the Tesla would lose that over luxury cost and get a plan B with a rex able to bring it further when the ev miles are gone.

200 miles range + 10 Years Warranty on the Whole Car including Battery (with decent Range Reduction Resistance in the warranty) + Excellent Fast Charging Network! (+ easy to Test Drive, and to buy!) And we are getting somewhere fast with the uptake! Lower Cost – or at least Lower Cost Financing – all helps to make it come together, too!

Wait – that sounds pretty much like a Tesla Model 3! Could GM Deliver on all those fronts? Nissan? Ford??

A 200 miles ev doesn’t make sense because 200 miles is going to be reduced a lot at 75 mph in the winter and even if you can make 200 miles that is still too short for a pure electric. You need a 400 miles EV or a 100 miles EREV. And a real car by the way not a four seater or a back amputee or both like the Bolt.

The actual problem is more to the effect that the current batch of EVs can reach that magic 100 miles under absolutely ideal conditions. Sure, most people only drive 40 miles a day on most days, but many Canadian Leaf owners have found that getting 40 miles a day out of their cars when it’s -30 outside is a bit of a stretch.

So there’s a big difference between “miles driven” and “energy used”. The 200 mile cars of the near future will need that much energy to make people comfortable in their cars, and I’m not just talking about range anxiety.

People may not “need” more than 40, 60, or 100 miles, however, I think the perception is that they do. Having a 60 mile commuter car and a hybrid “road trip” car worked for us, but now that we’re trying the one car approach, 60 miles doesn’t cut it, and HSR is far from being finished. There are two advantages to a 200+ EV: 1) Reducing charger congestion. Public charging has been a challenge and a hassle, the burden of which was only eased after installing a home charger. Folks who don’t have that option will benefit from reduced charger congestion. 2) One car households (single folks especially) who neither need nor want a second car would not be locked out of going on trips. It is much more reasonable to stop every couple hours for a QC than to stop every 30 to 45 minutes which you would need to do in a EV with 60+ miles of range. Now having said all of that, I suspect that between 200 to 300 mile EVs is the sweet spot. There may be a few outliers, but generally I think the 200 to 300 range would cover the dual purpose of… Read more »

stopping for 30-60 minutes every 2-3 hours to recharge is acceptable only to EV enthusiasts; i suspect that most drivers, who are used to 5 minute gas fill ups, would find 30-60 minutes to be unacceptable. FCEV research should tell you that auto makers realize that the current BEV model is not going to be acceptable to the general public.

There are other reasons for wanting a larger battery pack:

1. Larger packs wear out more slowly; that is, they lose less capacity because they get charged less frequently.

2. On road trips, larger battery packs can be fast-charged more quickly (on the basis of miles of range per minute of charge) than smaller battery packs. Yes, you -can- charge the 85 kWh Model S at a Supercharger faster than the 60 kWh Model S.

i assume that what you are really trying to state is that the faster charging rate occurs up to 80% state of charge, beyond that the charging rate must slow down. for example, an 80% charge in a tesla model s can be achieve in as little as 30 minutes, but a full charge takes more like an hour.

that said, if you doubled the battery storage capacity, the charging time would incrase: so 80% charge would then take at least an hour. i suppose the alternative would be to increase the recharge voltage to something in the kilovolt range but i would think that such a recharging station would be hazardous indeed. that’s the problem with recharging a battery; there is a limit to how fast you can *safely* recharge a battery. by contrast, the main selling point for the FCEV is that you can refill in 5 minutes and be on your way. the way to achieve that kind of speed with a BEV would be to do a battery swap.

While I don’t portend to speak for Lensman…I believe he was referring to the FACT that a larger battery can be charged faster to the same number of miles. Obviously a larger battery takes longer to top charge…and all batteries will charge faster for the first 80%. However, given the SAME charge time a larger battery will simply get you further down the road with more capacity (and faster sub 80% charging).

“..200 doesn’t offer much additional functionality. It is not enough for most people for road trips.”

This is not correct. My ranger pickup offers about 200 miles of range, and I have been all over the USA with it. The issue is charging time, and the 200s coming out don’t appear to address this in large part, outside of Tesla.

Well, keep in mind that Tesla didn’t offer the Supercharger when the Model S was brand new. Perhaps it’s not too much to hope that the nominally 200-mile EVs will inspire the creation and distribution of EV chargers offering a faster charge than even the latest DC fast chargers.

I love this competition because in the end the true winner will be us (the consumers). I am cheering for all of them and I hope BMW gets in the race too. The losers will be big oil companies and their suppliers.

“Since Tesla can already achieve 200 miles of range, it will probably be the first ones to accomplish the task, especially with its uber-high-tech Gigafactory almost up to full speed.”

I doubt Tesla will beat GM. GM has a near production concept. Tesla has yet to draw a line on a piece of paper. And don’t forget how notoriously late they are w/everything. I don’t know how you can say the Gigafactory is “almost up to full speed” when it’s still just some beams and a metal roof at this point.

Agreed, the Bolt (or whatever they name it) will arrive in Q1 2017, while the Model 3 will arrive in late 2017 or early 2018.

You might be right, but I’m not 100% convinced. Yes, the Model S was late, but that was their first totally in house developed and production car. Yes, the Model X is delayed, but they elected to keep rather complex systems, such as the gull wing doors, in the production model (I believe it’s been said that is one of the major reasons for the delay).

I expect that the Model III will not be as complex as the Model X and will benefit from lessons learned and production efficiencies gained from Model S development. Will it be on time? Probably not. But I expect it will not see delays as significant as the Model S and Model X.

I also expect that they have a finished design and are probably engaged in prototyping right now. We might start seeing some test mules or alpha’s next year. I think Elon is being a bit more tight lipped with the Model III than he was with Model S and Model X (at least, more so than he usually is).

“(I believe it’s been said that is one of the major reasons for the delay).”
Not from Tesla. Just speculation from others.

“I also expect that they have a finished design and are probably engaged in prototyping right now.”
In a recent interview with Elon, he wasn’t even sure how radical he wanted to go with the design. He said he was leaning toward more radical. He also said the focus is on the Model X. Next year they will focus on the Model 3. I doubt they have any prototypes.

+1 Kdawg

Despite the author’s unfounded skepticism, GM already has the Opel Karl platform on tap and are hooked up with LG Chem for the longer range batteries. Plus, they have decades of EV experience, between the Volt and EV1. They would have to work pretty hard to screw it up at this point.

I am hoping for all three 200 mile models in 2017, to push the hockey stick on EV adoption. I don’t think the uptake will happen with 75 mile EVs.

Just how hard did GM work to “screw up” the Cadillac ELR?

You don’t produce a bad EV by working hard at it. Rather, you produce one by hardly working.

For example, by taking a very cheap gas guzzler like the Sonic and trying to shoe-horn a BEV drive into it. That’s what GM is doing with the Bolt. That’s how you make a compliance car, not how you make a compelling plug-in EV.

A $75K ELR was never going to sell, although it may sell for $45K. The Sonic isn’t a bad little compliance car and that’s exactly what it was designed to be. Some people need to get over the fact that GM crushed the EV1s and move on.

I still agree with KDawg. The Bolt concept is solid, attractive, sellable and most likely the closest to production. I also have confidence Tesla and Nissan will deliver their 200 mile EVs, soon after.

I love the idea of a ground-up EV design, over a converted ICE. I really wanted a BMW i3, until it came out with a 22KWh battery and bizarre styling. I still think it has design elements from the the future. But, 81 miles of range is a deal-breaker and the 28 HP REx is a joke. I need an EV I can actually drive somewhere and I don’t live in a hamlet or a Mega City. I live near a freeway, so I will probably buy a Bolt or a Model III.

I live 160 miles from LA and 140 miles from San Diego, round-trip. So, 200+ miles is ideal for me

I have no doubt the Bolt will debut before the Model ≡. I also have no doubt GM has no intention of making and selling a plug-in EV that will offer real competition (in both quality and quantity) to its own best-selling gas guzzlers. “Some people need to get over the fact that GM crushed the EV1s and move on.” If this was aimed at me, you entirely missed the mark. I fully realize the reality: Battery tech simply wasn’t advanced enough for the GM EV1 to have been made at a price which GM could have made a profit on. Yes, I’ve watched “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, but I recognize that a lot of that was propaganda, and untrue. Recognizing the fact that legacy auto makers are not going to make and sell compelling plug-in EVs in large numbers isn’t “blaming” them. But neither is it excusing them. It’s just recognizing the reality: They have a strong financial disincentive to make and sell truly compelling plug-in EVs. One can hardly blame them for not being eager to kill off their own lines of best-selling gas guzzlers by offering plug-in EVs that drivers will actually prefer! Some people aren’t… Read more »

“Some people need to get over the fact that GM crushed the EV1s and move on.”

This comment wasn’t directed specifically at you. I hear constant GM bashing on the EV forums and that is all in the past. I was upset when they crushed the EV1s too. But, my eyes are on the future and if GM can deliver a 200 mile EV, I say good for them.

What will really be interesting is IF Tesla can deliver a $35K Model III (I predict it will be closer to $40K) AND GM releases a $37K Bolt. That’s a very easy choice for me.

as to the price of the ELR, given that when the Volt was introduced, people were paying $45,000 for fully loaded cars, it is reasonable to expect that GM would have charged more for the ELR. i think that main reason that the $75,000 didn’t work was because of a lack of EV range – had the ELR had the range extender with 100+ miles of EV range, i think that there would have been a lot less complaints.

as to the ev1, i also think that the continued whining about the ev1 is crazy, that thing would not have been commercial viable; it was truly a car for ev enthusiasts, and there aren’t enough of those for a viable automobile product.

i’m not so convinced that the sales model that Tesla uses to sell the Model S will work with higher volume price segments. my thinking is that for Tesla to sell a high volume automobile, they are going to need a dealer network. the people who are willing to spend $100,000 on a Model S are more likely to self educate on automobiles (that and most of them have enough disposable income that they don’t really have to think too carefully about car purchases), but i think that the general public will rely upon being educated by a sales person. then the question becomes one of: can Tesla really deploy enough showrooms by themselves to get sufficient market coverage. for example, there are *four* tesla showrooms in the entire chicago area; that’s ok for selling the Model S because those showrooms are in areas that have a lot of high income households, but four showrooms is not going to cut it if Tesla wants to sell a mass market automobile.

I’m trying to get my mind wrapped around GMs manufacturing capacity for the Bolt. There’s been speculation the max manufacturing capacity for the MI plant is around 25K to 30K cars. Either the total cars or total batteries will be a limiting factor, unless I missed the announcement of GM building it’s own Gigafactory. If GM actually delivers a 200 mile range car, CA will easily consume the 30K cars produced. I suspect the Chevy Bolt will end up being a popular compliance car and the rest of the States may see a Bolt for sale by 2025.

IMO, there is not one magic threshold that fits everyone (like koz is saying above):

– 20 miles is good for a PHEV commuter that needs to be electrical inside city walls.
– 40 miles in a PHEV pretty much eliminates 60% to 90% of gas burning, as the Volt proves.
– 80 miles starts to be good for pure EVs.
– My guess is that the next threshold would double that, so 160 miles on the EPA cycle. That is my personal target for a pure EV after my Volt.
– Then 320, which is a little more than an high-end Tesla can do. I don’t see the need for more.

In Europe about 40% of the cars have a range of 500 miles or more (typical diesel golfs, ford focus, audi & bmw (most are diesels) etc etc…So electric cars will need some good range to convince average Euro car drivers to switch to electric or at least a good (reliable/well maintaned) fast charging network. Typically my car range is about 550 miles (TDI engine). So I wouldn’t for sure settle for less than 200 miles REAL range with a very good fast charging network. So I am quite inclined to think that 200 miles range cars availability may be a turning point for the industry. Another issue we have is short range of electric cars at our cruise speed on highway (often about 80 mph). Not so impressed by Teslas on that point of view yet.

It’s still early days in the EV revolution. The Model T Ford couldn’t run at high speed for hundreds of miles on the Autobahn, either. If you tried to run the Model T at its (rather slower) top speed for long, it would certainly break down.

Someday we’ll have BEVs which can be run on the Autobahn right alongside ordinary gas guzzlers. But that’s not what the EV revolution needs to shift into the next higher gear. “Crawl before you can walk; walk before you can run.” Right now most EVs are doing the equivalent of crawling, and we would like them to walk.

Running at 80+ MPH on the Autobahn for hours is the equivalent of… well, running.

Perhaps that is true but for people that do that day in day out, it is hard to imagine being satisfied with a car that can’t do that anymore. It doesn’t need to do it for 600 miles but the Model S with its 260 miles range is only able to do that for a 150 miles so that is already too little. So 200 miles range will mean 120 miles autobahn, which is not enough.
It is always easy to move up but very hard to move down even if there are indeed very positive aspects of going electric, long range high power is still a problem.

Dan Hue said: “– 20 miles is good for a PHEV commuter that needs to be electrical inside city walls.” A 20 mile range isn’t a serious range for any car designed to be driven on the highway. It might be adequate on, say, a small island, but it’s wholly inadequate for general use. “– 40 miles in a PHEV pretty much eliminates 60% to 90% of gas burning, as the Volt proves.” The figures at the Volt-stats website show ~71% of Volt miles are electric. While every gas-propelled mile that gets replace by an electrically-propelled mile is good, I personally would want at least 90% of my miles to be electric, were I to drive a PHEV. Sure, the Volt is a good PHEV. But a PHEV with an all-electric range of, say, 70 miles would be a lot better. “– 80 miles starts to be good for pure EVs.” Given that the Leaf seems to have reached the limit of demand at ~60,000 cars sold worldwide per year, and given that top-selling gas guzzlers sell as many as 450,000 worldwide per year… I don’t think we can justify calling ~75 miles of EV range “good”. A more accurate… Read more »

20 miles ev range is a joke actually a bit like the plug-in Prius. If you really only have a commute of 10 miles going and 10 miles back, take a bicycle or a bus, so that is a kind of non-sense.
40 miles is what the volt is doing but then again that is only a range of 20 miles, rather short for a lot of people. So you need recharge at work to make it viable.
80 miles is already much better and adding a little to get 100 miles is almost perfect if at least you keep a rex in the car otherwise you are again stuck on vacation or longer trips.
For pure electric, especially in Europe where diesel cars have extra long range, 400 miles is the bare minimum otherwise it simply doesn’t compare with the 1000 miles some diesels do.

We do need to push for BEV’s with higher electric range and the infrastructure to support those vehicles. 200 miles affordable BEVs is the beginning not the end of where we really should be. 400 miles EPA all electric range cars that will charge in 10 minutes or less is the goal. I support all that is being done because we have to creep before we walk.

I would rather have 150 miles of EV range with a range extender for $35k. Superchargers really work best with closer to 100 kWh pack. On the 60 kWh the supercharger is an option so one should just ask those Tesla owners if that is enough range. Remember, somebody that spends $35k on a midsize generally doesn’t have enough disposable income to have more than one car and the gasoline infrastructure exists.

I find the article a tad silly. Ten years from now we will have electric cars with ranges 500 miles, 400, 300, 200, and 100. 200 is just a number that gets a corresponding price. 100 mile cars will be bigger sellers once people see they have to pay $7K extra for them. You can get a current Nissan Leaf for $28K. Bolt is $35K.

In the long run, 10+ years from now, maybe 300 mile electric cars will be the norm.

i agree that 200 miles of range under $40,000 is a very good target, but if the assumption is that this car is to be a BEV, i still question the practicality of the BEV. as a practical matter, it is not enough to say that a car has “x” miles of range – if you want to drive the thing every day, then you have to consider: what is the minimum range that you will get?; how many miles/week will you drive? and how many miles/week can you gain back through recharging? it is not practical to tell people that they can use quick charge stations like gasoline stations because a gas station offers a 5 minute refill where a quick charge station is a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour (depending upon how complete of a recharge is desired).

the real model is the PHEV in which the car has enough electric range to replace virtually all gasoline driving in day to day use, while providing a range extender so that you don’t have to worry when you drive more than usual.

Yes but the problem is that most PHEV have only 20 to 30 miles of ev range with the volt having 38 miles but only 4 seats (4.5 in the Volt 2). The BMW i3 has 80 miles but also only 4 seats and no trunk. So we are still waiting for the 100 miles EV with 5 seats and a trunk.

auto makers are ultimately about selling cars, and they realize that there is not a lot of volume in the “cost no-object” segment. the Volt, which had only 37 miles of EVA, according to the EPA, was still quite expensive when it was introduced. it would have been even more expensive if it had had 100 miles of EV range. because of the expense of batteries, GM had to make tradeoffs, they couldn’t make an affordable car that provided enough range for virtually all local driving, so they had to settle for a target of 80% of driving (when you achieved the EPA range, which is really an average for the year so some times you get more range and other times you get less).

right now, the most important task is to get the price of *EVs into a higher sales volume range. as price of batteries comes down, it will be possible to achieve more EV range and still stay within a reasonable price range. eventually, you will see PHEVs with 100+ miles of EV range.

This article , as usual at insideevs.com , glorifies Tesla and bashes its competitors .

It’s an op-ed

…And it was not written for inside ev.

Perhaps rightfully so. Where were all the “competitors” offerings and concepts at before the Model S raised the bar and is proving that EV’s if done well (Not dorky looking moon buggies with 80 mile range)will sell.

rightfully or moneyfully …?

Show me one decent sized company…European or otherwise…where money isn’t a bottom line factor. Economics 101. Furthermore, the benefit to the planet, the reduction of reliance upon fossil fuels, and the general furthering of automotive technology more than undermine your argument.

“Euro point of view” said:

“This article , as usual at insideevs.com, glorifies Tesla and bashes its competitors.”

If and when other EV makers demonstrate they are serious about making compelling EVs with a range large enough to appeal to most drivers, and demonstrate a commitment to making and selling them in large numbers, then perhaps InsideEVs will “glorify” those auto makers, too.

Looks like 2017 is the earliest that might happen, and it may not happen even then. Tesla has committed billions of dollars to build out sufficient battery manufacturing capacity to actually supply a large number of 200+ mile EVs. The other auto makers? Not so much. Relying on 3rd party battery manufacturers like LG Chem means those other EV makers will have to share a battery supply “pie” no larger than the pie Tesla has all for itself.

That’s right, a time will come when a car manufacturer will not be judged by the number of cars it produced but by the number of GWh battery equivalent it produced.

As Kdawg said, it’s an Op-Ed. It’s also been posted on the BMW blog. And I didn’t see any bashing of Tesla competitors, merely an opinion that the Bolt’s EV range may not live up to expectations and that the Leaf may not either. Much like the Leaf did not when it was first released (as I stated above, Nissan said 100 miles but I, and many others, never got anywhere near that).

Also writing from (continental Europe), for many reason I do not think Tesla’s future is rosy but whatever happens Tesla will always be remembered for having made electric cars look sexy, practical and desirable. I am not sure GM, VW reactions would be as strong regarding e mobility now would the Model S never have existed. Probably the only car company that did not need Tesla to have good inspiration is Nissan.

i don’t think that Tesla’s future is rosy either if the goal is for Tesla to be a going concern in the automobile industry. i don’t even think that this is elon musk’s real objective, he makes too many decisions that might be good technology ideas but the economics are not so good. i think that musk’s real objective is to influence the future of transportation and that the point of Tesla is to build up assets that will ultimately be sold to one of the existing auto manufacturers.

Do you recall _why_ the 40kWh model was discontinued? Because virtually nobody bought it.

People like you, who strained middle-class budgets to buy a Tesla, are rare, and I’m sure a $2500 difference would have dissuaded virtually none of Tesla’s customers: surveys of Tesla customers show that apart from the Prius, most had previously (or still) owned luxury or sports cars.

Also, unlike what the article said, this isn’t an anti-Tesla bill: It affects BMW, Mercedes & Cadillac as well.

No it isn’t. At the contrary I find that BMW gets too glorified especially for the i8 which isn’t even a true electric. Tesla is a true electric and, to my point of view, even a bit too much so since it suffers from not having a rex especially on the 60 KWh model and the former 40 KWh one.

It’s been said by many that there is a psychological tipping point of 100 miles of range, below which most drivers won’t even consider buying an EV. So it has surprised me that, for example, Nissan hasn’t upped the range on the Leaf, and that BMW released the i3 in the USA with an EPA range of only 81 miles. It also surprises me that suddenly multiple EV makers are planning to build nominally “200 mile” EVs, which I suppose means about a 150 mile real-world range. Why jump to a claimed 200 miles when none other than Tesla cars have even 100 miles of range? I don’t know if -all- EVs need to have an all-electric range of 200 miles, but certainly they need to have a minimum range, when fully charged, of 100 miles, even in the worst weather conditions. Given that plug-in EVs may well lose as much as 30% of their range in extremely cold weather, perhaps those nominally 200 mile EVs are actually the minimum necessary to guarantee 100 miles of range in all weather, especially after several years and a bit of battery degradation. With new BEVs coming that will, apparently, double the range… Read more »

What if a simple Range Extender Concept for EV’s was a Gasoline Fueled ‘Heater’ for the cold days that normally sap batter range? If you could manage Battery Temperatures with a fueled heat source, you would reduce some of the need for public Charging Stations frequency, as the summer range Could be the Winter Range, and Vice-Versa!

Why don’t ICE Cars add ‘Instant On’ Electric Heat for Defrost (like they do for Seat Heating), and could Fuel not be also reduced if it was simply used to provide heat – a process that could be optimized easier I think, than optimizing a Gas Engine!

As I understand it, the Leaf uses a heat pump to provide heating. It’s a pretty efficient method of providing heating compared to resistive heating. For the EVs that use liquid cooled batteries, you could use a water-air heat pump (the thermal source would basically be from the liquid using a water/air heat exchanger) which would make it even more efficient (and help out with cooling the battery as well).

From reports by actual Leaf owners, it appears that altho the heat pump is considerably more energy-efficient than a normal (resistive) electric heater, it’s pretty useless below about 40° F outside temperature.

Ha! “Batter Range!’ Batters Up! Of course – that was to say “Battery Range!”

The coming of the 200s, really 50KHW battery cars+varying amounts of lying about range, will be GREAT but will also underscore how much charging time matters.

Look at the cars discussed in the article (real or imagined):

Bolt: 50KWH with 50KW CCS charger, %80 in 40 minutes

Tesla: 50KWH with 130KW tesla charger, %80 in about 20-30 min.

Leaf: 50KWH with 50KW Chademo charger, %80 in 1 hour.

(yes, GM is lying).

After the 50KWH cars, we need to press on charger time. Making the battery bigger just makes the car heavier and more expensive. Any battery improvements after that are better spent on smaller cheaper batteries.

At 100KW charge, you get a 30/50 car, that is, 30 minutes to charge a 50KWH car. At 200KW charge, you get a 15/50 car, 15 minutes for 50KWH.

200 miles is more than 2 hours in the seat. Most reasonable people take breaks at that point. 15 minutes is not as fast as gas fill, but on trips people waste time buying coffee and candy anyways.

Thus 15/50 is a reasonable gas REPLACEMENT car. As in no need to buy another car that is gas.

That is where we need to go. We have commuter cars covered.

My estimate is that the nominally “200 mile” EVs will all have a bit less than 50 kWh in their battery packs. For example, Nissan touts the current Leaf as a “100 mile EV”, with a 24 kWh battery pack. Double that, and you get 48 kWh. Tesla can build a more efficient EV than Nissan can (in fact, the Leaf has almost exactly the same efficiency as the larger and heavier Model S), so I’m guessing the Model ≡ will have approximately 45 kWh.

“At 100KW charge, you get a 30/50 car, that is, 30 minutes to charge a 50KWH car.”

How do you get to charge a 50kWh battery at 100kW rate for 30 minutes?

Math doesn’t work especially since you can’t charge at 100kW once you reach about 70% full…

The article says: “The Tesla has a claimed 200-plus mile range, but doesn’t fit into the same price bracket”… “The Tesla is quite a lot more, starting a $69,000 before incentives. At that price point, a 200 mile range is expected.” Ummmm… Tesla touts a -300- mile range for the Model S, not 200+ miles. And Nissan touts a 100 mile range for the Leaf. Both are inflated numbers, and the Leaf actually has a higher percentage inflation than the Model S. (Leaf claimed range 100 miles; real-world range ~75 miles: 33% inflation. Tesla Model S claimed range 300 miles; real-world range ~265 miles: 13% inflation.) The coming Tesla Model ≡ will be the one with a nominally 200 mile range, and in theory will compete with the next-generation Leaf and GM’s Bolt. But I find it unlikely that there will be much actual competition. Like the Model S, Tesla will likely sell as many of the Model ≡’s as it can make. Contrariwise, the Bolt is a compromise car made by taking the extremely cheap Sonic and shoe-horning an electric drive into it. Furthermore, GM is dependent on LG Chem for its batteries… and LG Chem is only planning… Read more »

Simply stating the Bolt is a “compromise car” and that GM is “shoe-horning” an electric drive into the new Sonic is overly incredulous at best. And flat wrong at worst. Seeing that GM has designed the Bolt in parallel with the new Sonic, and brand new Gamma G2SC Platform that the Bolt and Sonic will use, affords a measure of flexibility. Which is the underlying point of building cars off of a platform regardless of model, vehicle size, pricing, or drivetrain.

I’m very skeptical that Tesla can deliver a 200-mile car for less than $40,000 by 2017, and even more skeptical that they will beat Nissan and GM. Tesla has a reputation for delivering a great product, but at the expense of deadlines. Nissan will be first to market, but as usual, it will fall short on range.

The company that we are forgetting is Kia. They are expanding beyond CARB states and have an impressive product. They will be in a position to deliver a revised Soul EV by 2017 and will probably compete nicely with whatever product that Nissan offers.

By 2017, Elon will just offer you a barebone Model 3 for $34999.

Want a seat? $2K. Want leather? $2k.

Want 200 miles EPA range? $10K

A nicely equipped model 3 with 200 miles range will cost you $52K out of door…

Then 2 weeks after announcing the base model for Model 3, the $34999 version with less than 200 miles EPA range (but with Tesla claimed 200 miles range) will be cancelled due to “low demand”.

We will only have a $45K version that doesn’t even come with leather and barely getting 200 miles EPA range….


This works of course as long as Elon can keep the bloom on the Rose, since Tesla of course never advertises. He just does the “in one week tesla will have a starting date of the next tease of announcement that we might soon be doing something later on”.

Then the $35,000 model 3 with 10kwh battery will be never actually made, other than in the press releases, and they’ll have a 25 kwh model ‘software limited’, possibly with 10 kwh good cells and 15 kwh dud place holders in the battery pack since software won’t let you use it anyway. I had a radio shack computer that was designed rather like that.

Yup, this about sums up what will happen. The $34,999 version will have a 200 mile range at 55MPH / 70F, cruising over level terrain with no wind. You want 200 miles on the EPA sticker? That’s extra. Supercharging? That’s now $3k (as opposed to the $2k in the Model S 60kWh).

I’m not convinced they will cancel the entry-level Model III. However, they will not release it in 2017 due to production constraints. Might as well eek out profits from the fully-loaded versions first. We’ll see the entry-level Model III sometime in 2019, maybe even 2020.

My guess – GM and Nissan will hit the showrooms around the same time (remember the first Leaf / Volt were delivered within a week of one another in December 2010). The Leaf will have ~160 miles EPA and the Bolt will have maybe ~180 miles? Doubtful either will hit 200 miles on the EPA cycle.

When a rocket goes into space it is 100% fossil and 0% electric, although it could be at least electric within the atmosphere on a kind of extra zero stage. The reason is said to be that it is not worth the hurdle to make it somewhat electric.
When a car is made at Chrysler it is made 100% fossil because it is not worth the hurdle to be somewhat electric.
When a car is made at Tesla it is 100% electric because it would split the baby if it was still somewhat fossil.
When a Volt is made at GM it is 62% electric and 38% fossil because it would be too hard to be more electric.
When an i3 is made at BMW it is 95% electric and 5% fossil, but you only get four seats and no trunk.
Can it really not be that someday a compromise be found that make a car being 95% electric and 5% fossil but with 5 seats and a trunk and that a rocket be made 95% fossil but also 5% electric even if only 5%?