Tesla Model 3 vs Honda Civic – Why 400+ Miles Makes Sense


For EVs to overtake gas cars, they need to offer over 400 miles of range.

Some people would disagree with the above statement. This is because the average commute in the U.S. is less than a half hour. Many EV owners will tell you that they simply don’t need a ton of range. Of course, this makes road trips difficult. However, for everyday driving, an EV with some 150 miles of range should suffice. Ben Sullins believes that while most people may not need long-range electric cars, range and convenience must reach or exceed parity with gas-powered cars if EVs are going to completely replace them.

As it stands right now, few EVs have significant range. Part of this is due to the fact that long-range electric cars are expensive. This is changing for the better, but it will take time before we have a wide selection of affordable long-range electric vehicles. Even the longest range electric cars available today only offer 300-some miles, and they’re the most expensive EVs available today, manufactured by Tesla. Most typical long-range electric cars offer around 250 miles or so. This means that owners of battery-electric vehicles may be smart to keep an ICE vehicle around for long trips, especially in cold climates.

EV adoption will occur at a much more accelerated rate if people can’t poke holes in the concept of EV ownership. If the positives continue to grow and the negatives go away, it’s inevitable that more people will move to electric vehicles.

Ben compares range in a Tesla Model 3 to a Honda Civic. Watch the video for his detailed take. Then, share your opinion with us in the comment section below.

Video Description via Teslanomics with Ben Sullins on YouTube:

Tesla Model 3 vs Honda Civic – Why 400+ Miles Makes Sense

Some say that a 150 mile EV is all we need and that a 400+ mile EV isn’t necessary. I disagree. If we want EVs to replace fossil fuel based cars entirely, we need to achieve parity in terms of range and convenience. In this video, we look at what that would take using the Honda Civic and the Tesla Model 3.

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210 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 vs Honda Civic – Why 400+ Miles Makes Sense"

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One can also rent a car for long-distance trips, which tend to not be spur-of-the-moment things anyway

the video though is focused on what a post ICE landscape would need to look like to match today’s convienence

That would match today’s convenience. In PDX, most of the new apartment buildings are put up on the MAX light rail line and offer no parking at all. MAX line and bike lanes (which are full of bike commuters year round) are the daily travel. All around the apartments are REACH, ZipCar and other car rentals. If you only need a car for weekend trips, its a huge savings (20% of take home pay) to just jump in the rental Subaru at the curb for the weekend travel trips.

Extra cost and trouble of arrangement with renting a car will make me stay home more.

It depends on your travel style.
When I was a kid (in the 80’s) we had a station wagon and drove all over the country – and Canada. Road trips – sure!
But that also used to be the mainstream thing to do – today, with cheap airfare – it’s the uncommon thing to do.

Compare travel statistics over time to ensure you aren’t using obsolescent logic. Many people today fly to a destination, then rent a car to use at their destination (and that’s only if public transportation or Uber isn’t good in that destination).

in a post-ICE world… that might be an electric car, or electric cars might be available as well – it doesn’t really change this point.

I used to do this when I had an ICE car anyway, I consider it more convenient, not less. I’m not putting miles and miles on my personal vehicle, and I’m testing driving a newer model with better mileage when I grab the rental.

And if something goes wrong, I get the car out of my hands and pick up a new rental, instead of the alternative of having my own car break down in some unknown location and have it randomly towed to who knows where, wasting my time and money instead of enjoying my vacation or attending an important conference.

The gas savings often make up for some of the cost as well. You can get a pretty good rental for twenty bucks a day, or hundred a week, worth it. And many rental companies offer further discounts for employees of various companies and institutions.

I don’t know where you’re finding rental cars that cheap. They are always multiple hundreds of dollars per week even for econoboxes and then there’s the risk that heaven forbid there’s the slightest cosmetic damage from some road debris thrown up in front of you. Then you get raked thru the coals in damages unless you pay the highway robbery LDWs

I rented a Audi A3 TDi in Lisbon for about 5 EUR a day in December 2017 and I also had rented a Fiat 500L in Faro in December 2016 for a little over 2 EUR a day. Of course that both were off-peak rentals, so the prices were very cheap, but I once rented a Ford Fiesta in 2011 paying full season airport prices (and young driver fees) for 18 EUR a day. There are tricks (even people in Portugal couldn’t believe I got these deals), but it is not impossible to get some really good deals when renting a car.

And the policy of my rent showed the costs for each kind of damage (I can’t remember the prices, but they listed well like 50 EUR for a scratch in a fender, 150 EUR from a broken side mirror and so on). They were above the market prices (by about twice, I would guess), but I obviously could also have all these fixed during the rental before returning the car, but that would be a bit more troublesome.

And for those of us that don’t commute in our cars, but do lots of long distance trips?

Should I rent a ling distance vehicle every weekend?

The vast majority of people don’t do lots of long distance trips. Even if pure EVs only work for 90% of the population, it’s still a win.

I agree, the majority don’t. But some do. Where there’s a requirement then it will be filled.

See my comment further down – there is a need for 400 mile+ cars, but that doesn’t mean that every vehicle needs to have a 400 mile range. Choice is a good thing!

No one type of vehicle is ever going to satisfy everyone’s needs. Gasmobile passenger cars (and light trucks) are now the norm, but they’re not for everyone. Some prefer motorcycles, scooters, bicycles or other vehicles.

Likewise, the time will come when EVs are the norm… but that doesn’t mean they will be for everyone. They don’t have to be, and they’re not going to be.

What are you trying to argue here? That if a vehicle needs 400 miles of range it shouldn’t be an EV, but an ICE?

My argument is that having the choice of buying a 400 mile EV is a good thing.

My ICE Roadster has about the same range as a MR model 3. No where near 400miles.

This is like saying you don’t need an oven at home because on the handful occasions a year where you’ll actually need to bake a cake, you can just as well get one from the bakery.
Even if this is correct, nobody would design a kitchen without an oven.

Frank, are you baking?

I don’t need a long-range oven, I commute by eBake. 🙂

Seriously though – we make a cake, tart or whatever about every two week(end)s.
We also cook meals in the oven (fries, fish, vegetables, etc) one to three times a week.
Yes, we actually need the oven.
We also have two fridges and two freezers, which we actually *need* (small children need a lot of stuff).

A car, OTOH … not for daily use.
But I still want a Model 3. 🙁

No, this would be like saying everyone needs a walk-in refrigerator and a 6-top range just because some people may need these even through most people do not have these things and get by just fine.

This analogy is twisted. If you do not need a a walk-in fridge (long range car) *at all*, it would be the same thing. But almost everybody needs a long-range car at least a couple of times a year – family visits, vacations, road trips, etc.
And buying or getting a second car just for that is simply too expensive and would be a waste.

Man. That is a great analogy!

Thanks 🙂

Agree. Very good analogy.

Lots of small apartments with small kitchens and no ovens.

A plug-in hybrid vehicle might be suitable. All-electric performance for shorter trips, and hybrid performance for long trips.

For my example a PHEV is pointless as the majority of miles will be done using the ICE. If the majority of your journeys are > 100 miles what use is a PHEV with 50 miles of EV range?

so you can drive the 50 miles for much cheaper fuel cost and recapture braking energy….

Sure, but if you’re only saving $300 a year in gas, and the PHEV costs $5k more to buy than the ICE… then what’s the economic benefit?

A BEV with a longer range battery would make more sense as you’re saving on 100% of your journey, not just 25% or less.

PHEV’s are a compromise that rarely make much sense, but are a requirement until BEV prices are cheaper/there is a wider range or BEV’s or there are options for BEV’s with longer ranges. They will all come, but it’s going to take time.

The ability to travel 50 miles in a car without burning any gas at all, every time you take a trip, is worth a great deal. How odd that you seem to be suggesting the gas savings are insignificant. Would you rather he was driving a normal gasmobile? O_o

You are so right. That’s why I bought a Volt – two cars in one. Went all last year – bought no gas.

That’s what we have. An all-electric short range EV for my daily commute. My wife drives a PHEV minivan for daily errands and such. And that’s the one we take for long trips. We have about 85% electric miles on the PHEV. It’s all electric range is about 30miles.

If you only mainly long dist trips, buy a hybrid gas car.

flying is cheaper than driving now for long distance trips – unless you just love to waste time.

Do you personally actually do this? At rental rates of $50/day I would personally break even in just 12 days compared with annual insurance on my gas guzzling 2008 Prius each year. My Prius gets better gas mileage than most rentals and I don’t have to go through all the rental hassle each time I want to road trip. EV proponents (like myself) need to abandon the geeky and impractical concept that all we need is a 150 mile car because average commutes are shorter. This logic is counterproductive to EV adoption.

You pay only $600/year for car insurance? Must be nice! Mr. Google says the average is $1,426 per year.

But if you’re paying $50 a day to rent a car, you’re crazy. Enterprise’s weekend special (Friday thru Monday) is only $13/day for up to 100 miles. Sure, if you’re driving on vacation, you’re gonna rack up more miles than that, so you’ll have to pay an extra fee for unlimited miles. But you’d have to rack up quite a few extra fees to get to $50/day!

By the time you add up cost of fuel, insurance, taxes, and annual maintenance, you’d have to rent a car for weeks and weeks to pay as much as the average person pays to support his car for a year!

Renting in holidays and busy travel seasons are basically impossible with limited or no selections and inventories at busy locations.

I’m not sure I agree. My Mazda 3 has ~300 miles of range. That’s nice, because it saves me from having to make lots of quick trips to a gas station, and I don’t need to stop to refuel when I drive 220 miles to visit family. With a 200-mile EV, I can skip most of those trips by fueling at home. The long-range trip wouldn’t be a big deal if it took 10 mins to recharge instead of 30-40. I don’t necessarily need a bigger battery, a faster charging one would be fine.

The Road Trip EV Charging Time – is split into 2 parts: A) Is there a suitable Fast Chargers Available – at the place I would would normally stop along the way (if any), that I can use; and – B) When I get there where I am going, can I charge up (Overnight, or – before having to leave to come back)? Basically – if you are driving 220 miles in a 220 Mile Range EV, you likely want to Charge up with about 40 Miles range left (~ 20%), so in this instance, about 2/3rds the way there, and as you only need to go another 1/3rd the distance – IF – you can charge up when you get their anyway, you only need maybe to charge up to 70% (or about a 50% SOC Up Charge / Top Up. At a Current Tesla Supercharger, 20-30 Minutes should be fine! Sure – the TayCan can do it quicker – if there is a charger for them at this same spot, and you could buy one, but – for now – this is a reasonable equation. However – that would be the Base Range Model 3 or the New… Read more »
30% greater energy density is a myth. Everything we know about the Model 3 batteries, suggests the cells have at most a couple percent higher density than the 18650 cells in the 100D pack. However, switching to the different format could give some 10 – 15% higher capacity (while increasing total weight), all else being equal — mostly due to the taller cells (gaining more volume from the same footprint); but also packaging efficiencies from the larger diameter. In fact, packaging efficiencies could give a much larger gain, if the denser module architecture from the Model 3 was fully adopted — though I have a suspicion that if they did that, they’d do away with the stacked extra module in the front of the pack at the same time (since it might be awkward to integrate a smallish extra module with the new architecture; and also, the weight gain might be just too big) — so I don’t expect seeing much more than 15% total volume increase. Along with slightly higher density, we might be looking at a 120 kWh, perhaps 125 kWh pack. That should suffice though to boost the range to about 400 miles… Of course we could… Read more »

“30% greater energy density is a myth.”

Thank you.

I agree they could get to 120 kWh/400 miles (on the Model S, with the right wheels). 400 miles EPA is a terrific halo number, and completely separates Tesla from the coming mid-200s Euro competition. It also separates them in Europe with 700+ vs. 500 km on WLTP.

I also expect a 90-ish kWh Model S “SR” with 300 miles EPA.

Only a personal wild guess here, but I believe in Tesla wanting to clearly separate their flagship cars, the X and S, not only from the upcoming European competition (so, an high-end 425 EPA miles Model S and a 400 EPA miles Model X, are likely), but also to separate them from the actual LR Model 3 (and also its 325 EPA miles range version coming in 2020). So I concur with the idea of a sort of SR Model S, but with something with some 350 EPA miles of range.

30% greater energy density is a myth. Everything we know about the Model 3 batteries, suggests the cells have at most a couple percent higher density than the 18650 cells in the 100D pack.

Probably the new 2170 cells do have a 30-35% higher energy density than the 18650 cells which Tesla was using when they first build the Model S… in 2012. But certainly not much higher energy density, if any, than the 18650 cells Panasonic is currently making.

I really don’t understand why Tesla reps would engage in this kind of hype, unless it’s to further convince people that Tesla’s EV tech is superior to everyone else’s. Well, it is superior! Just listen to Sandy Munro rave about what he found in his Model 3 teardown. No need to resort to this kind of B.S. to support the idea.

I think it’s a combination of the two. I agree with you, if you can recharge an EV in 5 minutes, 200 miles are ok with the right infrastructure. With a range of 500 miles a charge can take an hour, of the range is 300 miles maybe 10 minutes are ok.

My wife & I just returned from a road trip from Rochester, NY to Pittsburgh, through the heart of West Virginia to Charlottesville to Jacksonville to the Keys & back – in our Tesla Model 3. Superchargers nicely laid out for us in Trip Planner SW. No problem.
That said, charging stops took longer than gasoline fill-ups so each driving day was about an hour longer – with the present charging infrastructure. Both range & charging times will only get better.

We’re still in the phase of the rEVolution when trips require a bit of planning beyond what one would have to do if making the same trip in an ICEV. “A bit” can be a tiny increment up to a substantial amount depending on the vehicle, availability of chargers, etc.

My wife and I recently made a trip (also from Rochester) to the Wilkes-Barre, PA area, and there was no way I would have tried it in almost any EV on the market today. It would have required at a minimum altering our route to access a QC, as there were none at or anywhere near our destination. (And as for recharging via 120v at our relatives’ house, that would take too long given other logistics of our planned visit.)

EVs are already at the point of being highly capable and excellent all around vehicles for local and short trip use that can rely solely on home and destination non-QC or even L1 charging. But stretch the distance and the current fledgling state of the US public charging network can become painfully apparent.

Certainly true today that EVs aren’t a complete solution for everybody. 400 miles of range, with 20 minute recharges to 80 percent, combined with growing charger availability will make it nearly impossible to find trips like this. EVs will largely be a complete wash compared to ICEs on long distance travel at that point. We are within a year or two of this vanishingly small downside disappearing completely for the leading edge products in most major markets. The vehicles will be in the market and the chargers will exist even for this route. In 10 years, this will be true for virtually all EVs in most markets around the world.

We have come a long way since NiCd rechargeable batteries.
It will get better faster now that the industry realized how important it is

We don’t need to get rid of ICEs completely. We only need to reduce petroleum consumption sufficiently to mitigate climate change, improve energy security, and avoid the need for shale oil and tar sands. PHEVs really seem like a great long-term solution to me – if everyone can reduce their gasoline usage by 80% or 90%, that’s a win.

PHEVs is a great short term solution. Some would argue that it is a bad idea all together though I think it has helped. The transition will happen kinda like saying “We don’t need to get rid of the horse and buggy all together.” Not arguing that reducing gas usage by 80% or 90% isn’t a win and a critical one for the planet. I’m saying that the transition to all electric is happening faster than I would have imagined. I started with a Chevy Volt in 2011 for it really was the only thing that would work for my driving pattern at the time. An 80-mile LEAF would not suffice. Now there are a lot of 250-mile options arriving that will work for a larger percentage. It will happen when a battery can be supplied at the “pack” level for $90-$100/kWh. Tesla is around $100/kWh at cell level now and will probably hit the pack level by 2020. At that point, sell the buggy and put the horse to pasture.

I think we are nearly past PHEVs. After 2022, pack prices will be down enough to make comparable pricing a reality.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

PHEVs will always be significantly more expensive than ICEVs, especially one with the kind of range that gets people to 80/90% of miles.

PHEVs really can’t succeed at large scale if BEVs can’t succeed at an even greater scale.

Base model Toyota Prius Prime PHEV is $27,000.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

And a base model Corolla is about $19k.
And the Prime has a small battery, runs the engine if you need defog, and only has 25 miles of range so you don’t get an 80%-90% reduction in gasoline usage.

“PHEVs will always be significantly more expensive than ICEVs”.

Maybe, but a Toyota Camry was always more expensive than a Chevy Malibu, yet people vastly prefer the Camry.

I may be an outlier, but I prefer the Malibu over the Camry. But honestly, the Impala is the best, though I think it competes with the Avalon more than the Camry. At the same time, I am not the biggest Toyota fan.

“PHEVs really seem like a great long-term solution to me – if everyone can reduce their gasoline usage by 80% or 90%, that’s a win.”

So true. We lose sight of the prize in the advocacy of EV’s. Reducing one’s emissions by 80% by 2050 is the key per our climate scientists though it seems events are raising the percentage while lowering the time we have to do it in.

A Subaru PHEV CrossTrek ($40K) would reduce my emissions from 5.0 tons of emissions to 2.5 tons, a 50% reduction. An Ioniq PHEV ($34K) would reduce my emissions by 76%, 1.2 tons from 5.0 tons.

PHEVs are useless for any vehicles that *regularly* go long distances. That includes all freight transport, most fleet usage, and all public transport / transport on demand.

PHEVs do make sense theoretically in many private use cases. However, most people don’t want to bother with both filling up gas *and* charging; with the ride being smooth, quiet and clean some of the time, but not at other times; with the power train having extra complexity and requirements, rather than simplifying matters… People like simple, clean, complete solutions — going all the way. PHEVs are useful as a transitional technology; but they don’t have a long-term future. Once long-range BEVs are affordable to most people, PHEVs are dead. Minor inconveniences in fringe situations might put people off at first — but contrasted with all the advantages, it won’t do much to deter a complete transition in the longer term.

Filling the gas tank once a month isn’t a bother, is it? A PHEV costs substantially less than a pure BEV, doesn’t it?

“A PHEV costs substantially less than a pure BEV, doesn’t it?”

No. In fact, if we take Chevrolet as an example, the BEV costs a bit less on a per-passenger basis. A tiny, cramped Chevy Volt, with barely enough room for 4.5 adults and rather little luggage space, costs MSRP $33,520. A much roomier Bolt EV, with plenty of room for 5, costs MSRP $36,620. On a per-passenger basis, the BEV costs $7324; the PHEV costs $7449.

Also, BEV prices are going to continue to drop substantially year-on-year, as the prices come down on batteries, EV motors, and other parts of the EV powertrain. Contrariwise, PHEVs will always be stuck with having two powertrains, and the prices for gasmobile powertrains has long since bottomed out.

“However, most people don’t want to bother with both filling up gas *and* charging” – Not true, at least not for me. I like charging to avoid fill-ups, but don’t mind filling up on gas once every 2-3 months either when I finally run out or when I take a long trip.

Short term it makes sense. Long-term, go full EV. Right now, I think there’s not much point to PHEV Sedans when the Model 3 & Bolt show you can do it full EV. We need PHEV options for BIG VEHICLES.

If PHEVs could reduce gas consumption by 80%+, then it would certainly be a lot better. But the best stats I’ve seen are for the Volt, and the average Volt gets only about 66% of its miles from electricity. (I haven’t seen stats for the Clarity PHEV.) Not to belittle that 2/3 fraction; that’s quite a bit! But I’d like to see it be 85% or better.

I hope that PHEVs will continue to get longer ranges with each new generation, just as BEVs do.

If you have 400 you are just dragging around extra weight. I came from 75 mile cars, Leaf and Spark. With the 315 mile range TM3, most of the range I don’t use. Starting with the fact that I don’t fill up more than about 285, as per the maker’s recommendation. Then, I consider anything with 2 digits (<100 miles) to be an indication that its time to charge. Just as with gas cars having less than 1/4 tank is an indication to gas up.

I commute 30 miles, or 60 miles a day minimum, and charge about every two days. There are chargers both at work and at home.

I agree. I think the only point of a 400-mile battery is to ultimately prove it is currently a bad idea. As Scott says, you are just hauling around too much unnecessary weight and burning energy to do so. When the battery gets lighter it will hurt less, but ultimately it’s just learning new methods. If you are traveling 600-mile weekly round trips you are an outlier. Not saying you don’t, just saying it is not smart to build to outliers. If it happens a few times per year what is an extra hour or two annually to give up stopping at a gas station 50 times a year entering your zip code and selecting “no” I don’t want a slurpy with that.

The problem is those “outliers” are quite a significant number when you start adding each type together.

Those people that don’t commute and use their vehicles only for longer trips, those people that use their vehicles to tow things, those people that live in colder climates. They are a significant minority.

Sure, the average person only uses their car to commute a few tens of miles to and from their place of work, but that still leaves millions that don’t. Currently they aren’t catered for, and will stick with ICE until they are.

Andy – quote: “Sure, the average person only uses their car to commute a few tens of miles to and from their place of work, but that still leaves millions that don’t. Currently they aren’t catered for, and will stick with ICE until they are.” ———————- I agree with you – but the word missing from what you write is “yet”. A mistake frequently made with new technologies is to look at them and find flaws *in their current form* and conclude that therefore they’ll never be suitable. As example, I’ve heard an objection to getting a telephone a century or so ago went along the lines of “what’s the point of getting one? Hardly anybody else has got one?” Perfectly valid – but (with hindsight) totally missing the point. (Initially only businesses got a telephone, but nowadays…….) With BEVs, then you may be absolutely right that *at the moment* there are many people that CURRENT BEVs aren’t suitable for. But there are increasing numbers for whom they DO work. That’s no problem – it just means that some will find them suitable earlier than others. Don’t judge what will work for you in the future on the basis of… Read more »

Yet is just another way of saying until they are…

Andy, you’re right, maybe careless language from me, but I was just trying to emphasise the point about not looking at todays technology and making overall judgements from such into the future. Point I’m really trying to make is that your “significant minority” will become numerically less and less as the technology and infrastructure matures and improves.

Maybe never become zero, but……..

We are both in agreement here. We’re both saying that the tech/cars aren’t available now, but will be in future.

All I was pointing out was that there is and will be a requirement for 400+ mile batteries. They may be a minority, but that minority is still millions. Those people won’t move to a BEV until their requirement is met, which is why in future some vehicles will require larger batteries/ranges than we have now.

Weight has a much, much lower penalty in a bev.

80% of inertia (largest weight dependent variable by far) is returned.

In ice 100% is thrown away.

Wouldn’t 80% of inertia also be returned in an ICE if it was a hybrid?

Probably depend on the size of the battery, state of charge, etc etc. In which case I’d expect a hybrid that wasn’t plugin to likely be less able to regen the energy than a PHEV, as the latter would more likely have a bigger battery. Either way, it’s quite true that weight has a lot less penalty in any electric vehicle with regen than a “pure” ICE.

“80% of inertia (largest weight dependent variable by far) is returned.”

By regenerative braking? No, more like 30-35%.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

More battery is never just extra weight.
The issue with 400 miles of range is that it’ll probably add cost. So unless it turns out that there’ll be some amazing cheap battery that’s high/low on energy/power density, I don’t see 400 miles being outside of the premium segment.

What about people driving a minivan or Suv to work everyday? We all should be all in a one seater car to work everyday.

“What about people driving a minivan or Suv to work everyday?”

Maybe they should, in the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Go home and rethink your life.”

“We all should be all in a one seater car to work everyday.”

Yes, or even better, using mass transit where practical.

“If you have 400 you are just dragging around extra weight. I came from 75 mile cars, Leaf and Spark. With the 315 mile range TM3, most of the range I don’t use.”

How’s the resale value of that 75 mile Leaf, hmmm?

We need to kill this myth that the only advantage a larger battery pack gives is a longer range. There are many advantages: Fewer days per week in which charging is needed, longer battery pack lifespan and hence higher resale value, less of a restriction on range in very cold weather, and faster charging at a DCFC charger.

If you think you aren’t using the larger capacity in that Model 3 battery pack… then think again.

If I had two identically speced EVs one with a 250 mile range and one with a 400 mile range, I would not seriously consider the 400 mile range one. Maybe some retirement travel trailer scenario. But that is years down the road. And, for retirement stuff I would be willing to invest the time and effort to snipe a used one.

And I would be the exact opposite. I’d take the 400 miler (assuming price was reasonably more, not outrageous). Do I use that range often? no. But my trips beyond 200 miles are to areas where charging is scarce.

But I’d guess electricity is not scarce, so your problem is more accurately the availability of charging points, not the battery size.

Thankfully these are extremely cheap to build out relative to the cost of other fueling stations.

Depends, I regularly stay in accommodation where all the electricity produced from a generator as it’s not connected to the electrical network.

The more remote a location is (and generally a place with less charging options is proportional to remoteness) the less likely there will be an ability to charge at that location, even in future.

That said, VW’s “mobile” chargers shown on this site a few weeks ago may help a little with that.

The farther into the future, the more likely that even the poorest, most remote locations will be provided with electricity using solar power.

Solar is not the panacea everywhere, especially as you go further north (both light and snow issues). There’s also the issue of how long a vehicle would take to charge and reliability of that charge (rock up at 5pm in December and plan to leave at 7am the next day for example). Hence the requirement for either charging system with integrated battery (like VW’s concept), or just a vehicle with a larger battery pack to begin with (no requirement to charge in the first place).

If the place only sees a couple of vehicles a week, and has no permanent structures then the idea of a solar array there is as silly as the idea of a fuel station there now. Simple solution – have a larger battery pack in your vehicle.

I’m really not sure why so many people are against the idea of vehicles having the choice of a 400 mile or larger battery pack!

After living with my Bolt for 35k miles I would pay a small premium for a 400 mile range. The up sides are many, faster charging, more range per charge, better cold weather range, longer battery life due to reduced cycles. The down side is cost and maybe a slight loss in efficiency due to more weight. That is easily made up by the extra battery capacity.

Having usage around 2m/kWh at highway speeds (80mph) in really cold weather, the only fix is more battery capacity.

I completely disagree on two fronts.

First, Civic is an economy car with front wheel drive platform, weak engine, noisy interior and no autopilot. It cannot be directly compared to a premium enthusiast grade rear wheel drive platform car. To match M3 performance you need a RWD platform V-8 (or turbo-six) ICE car. Cars like this have lower cruising range than the Civic.

Second, A Civic owner does not have a gas station in his garage. He cannot refuel at home and have his gas tank full every morning.

Live in an apartment and you have no home garage or charger.

The percentage of people buying cars own homes is much higher then general population.

Percentage of people buying NEW cars, maybe. But you need a robust used car market to support new car sales.

Over 60 percent of U.S. residences have parking space access to outlets today. It’ll take years to satiate both new and used car demand just from those potential buyers. We’ve wired almost every living space in the world with electricity and we were all much poorer when we did it. It’ll be much simpler to string wires out to parking spaces than it was to wire the homes. In a short time, parking space wiring will be as ubiquitous as microwave ovens. The only reason this would not happen is that robotaxis begin operating in earnest and kill car ownership demand in urban areas first.

Every apartment I’ve lived in has had an assigned parking space, usually in a garage or soft-story setup where installation of a charger would be relatively simple. In CA, at least, apartment managers must allow you to hire an electrician to install a charger if you have assigned parking. (You might be on the hook for all of the cost, however, and not eligible for certain rebates available to property owners.)

“In CA, at least, apartment managers must allow you to hire an electrician to install a charger if you have assigned parking.”

In the entire State of California? Last I saw, it was only a few municipalities requiring that. But I have no doubt that California will be the first to make that a requirement by State law.

“Live in an apartment and you have no home garage or charger.”

And how many more years is that going to be the norm? It’s like complaining back in the early days of the Model T that your apartment didn’t have any place to park a motorcar.

Times change.

Agree 400 isn’t needed. With 300 to begin a trip, you’d need less than 30 minutes to load another 100+ in range. Yes, that’s worse than gas, but to give up on a 300 mile EV because those limited, longer trips, will mean those extra minutes borders on stupid, IMO.

The uninitiated over-play range anxiety. I do agree w/the point about cold weather, but there are too many other benefits of owning an EV that I think put it in the ‘win’ column.

“640K (of memory) ought to be enough for anyone.”

Why not have a win, win, where people have the option of buying a 400 mile EV if they need (or think they need), or want it?

Because it isn’t a zero sum game. More range impacts cost, weight, efficiency, cabin space, and charging time.

It’s fine when presented as you did as an option. I believe most of the pushback occurs because that extended range is often presented as a wide scale requirement for EV adoption. Novices will believe simply because it’s more that it’s better.

Every idea should be presented with the percentage of drivers that it actually impacts. Almost everything is presented as if it impacts 100% of the general driving population, when in fact it rarely is.
So what percentage of folks would really benefit from 400 miles of range?


So what percentage of folks would really benefit from 400 miles of range?”

Wrong question. The question should be: “What percentage of folks will really benefit from having a battery pack in their EV large enough for 400 miles of range?”

The answer is: All of them, whether they understand all the benefits or not.

I disagree that everyone would benefit. For many urban and suburban drivers there would be a marginal benefit at a significant cost. I’m going to keep pointing out that the extra range isn’t free. It costs money, and space, and weight, and efficiency. My problem with this whole line of argument is that it puts the thought in people who may consider an EV that current offerings are insufficient. The line of thinking goes from “I’d like an EV.” to “Well folks are saying that I need 400 miles of range and 10 minute charging so that I don’t have range anxiety.” to “Wow! I’d need to spend $120,000 to get what folks are saying what I need.” to “Well, I guess I’ll get another ICE and check on EVs in 10 years when they may have what folks tell me what I need.” Instead of presenting absolutes it should be relative discussions. Yes 400 miles of range would be great. However, 200 miles of range is good enough for the vast majority of the trips urban and suburban folks take. Yes 10 minute charging would be nice. However, that much power actually damages the battery and on the occasional… Read more »

True there, the internet always seems to insist on black and white discussion. No grey, no compromise.

To me the idea that “EV’s should have 400 miles of range” does not mean all EV’s should. just that there should be EV’s that give you that option.

The lack of a 400 mile option is one of the things currently holding me back from purchasing a BEV.

Others have touched on this, but the author’s idea of “convenience” is focused on the occasional long trip and not the daily commute. I never have to go out of my way to charge my Bolt for my commute. I have to plan a stop or two on a trip at a charger, always at a meal time anyway. For these reasons, I tell people that my Bolt is the second most convenient car I have ever owned. The only car that is more convenient is the CMax Energi (a PHEV) – the best of both worlds.

Different people have different usage of their vehicle. Just because it doesn’t make sense for your usage pattern doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.

Your comment doesn’t make sense in response to what I said. Did you mean to reply to someone else? Or could you elaborate?

Both views are valid.

Yes, but most of the time folks calling for these extreme corner cases put it in terms of everyone needing exactly what they need. That’s the problem. It’s the “I need 400 miles of range and 10 minute full recharge, so you do too.” syndrome.

So many of us will continue to push back against the extremes solely because it needs to be made clear that while the corner cases are needed on an individual basis for some drivers, that those cases do not, and should not, be normalized. It is equally as important to project that extreme use cases don’t apply to average urban and suburban commuter drivers except in very rare cases.


Sure, and both those arguments are equally wrong/irrelevant.

It’s just a never ending circle – the push back gets more pushback from the other side, which equally gets pushed back again… etc etc.

Oversizing the battery is a strategy to improve fast charging as well. If all the range you need is at 80% or under your fast charge sessions won’t need to taper nearly as much.

Bigger batteries will also DCFC at a higher overall rate so you get more miles/minute while doing it.

Every time we have a disruptive technology, there are always naysayers who will say that the new technology must beat the old technology on every single measure or it will never succeed. And this just isn’t true. It just needs to beat the old technology on certain metrics. For example, when digital cameras came out, many people said they would never succeed because you couldn’t get prints made at the photo store. And while ironically, you can actually do that now, the reality is hardly anyone ever does. When DVD players came out, people said they would never succeed until they could record their favorite TV shows on the format. Again, ironically, this ability did eventually arrive (long after the format had won) and relatively nobody ever ended up using it for that. I could go on and on. But this is really no different. Most people believe they need 400 miles of range, but once they have the ability to charge at home and fast chargers along travel routes, it will be a non-issue.

My favourite examples: capacitive touchscreens never beating resistive touchscreens (allowing for precise pen input)… Or touchscreens never beating keypads, for that matter.

BTW, the major downside of digital cameras for a long time was lower light sensitivity and dynamic range. AFAIK it’s pretty much a non-issue nowadays — but digital cameras took over everything but a few niche uses about a decade before the issue was fully solved…

in photography another good example was the transition from tape to solid state for video. When the first solid state video cameras came out there were obvious positives – but in other respects they were a nightmare. The smart money saw both sides of the coin – use each technology as appropriate – but it should have been obvious that solid state was the long term winner as cost/GB came down.

Unfortunately, I don’t see batteries coming down in cost at the same speed……

No, batteries are not electronics, and are not subject to Moore’s Law.

But they — along with other parts of the EV powertrain, such as EV electric motors — are coming down in price fast enough to make BEVs cheaper than comparable gasmobiles, almost certainly less than 5 years from now.

CDs will never take off because they lack the fidelity and dynamic range of vinyl.

Bad analogy. People are deserting CD’s currently and there’s a major resurgence in Vinyl.

In that analogy we’ll find in 2050 people moving back to ICE vehicles in record numbers because they like the ICE characteristics. :p

In 2050 people will be moving back to ancient ICE because nothing with a computer in it will survive global thermonuclear war. 😛

THIS! You made exactly the same comment I was going to make. This person’s entire concept of technological change is misguided. History proves this.

“Every time we have a disruptive technology, there are always naysayers who will say that the new technology must beat the old technology on every single measure or it will never succeed. And this just isn’t true.”

Indeed! That’s why I get irritated when people insist that BEVs need to charge as fast as you can fill a gasmobile’s tank, and that EVs will never replace gasmobiles until they do.

Yeah… just like motorcars will never replace horses until they can be powered by hay or grass.

A 10 minute fast charge time for BEVs would be perfectly adequate, especially since most charging will continue to be slow charging at home or work. No need for the much higher cost and difficulty of building cars and EV chargers for a 2-minute ultra-fast charge.

To each his own on this subject, I am soon to finish a year with a BMW i3 Rex after previously owning first a Leaf and then an Ampera ( UK Volt). I sold the Leaf because the electric range was not enough for extended trips and I had to keep a second ice car. The Ampera electric range although less than the Leaf covered most but not all my local trips but really had too much ice ability even for my extended trips.
The i3 Rex has proven ideal for my needs and locale so its really down to individual usage, there is enough choice now available if prospective buyers just analyse their driving patterns.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

At this point the three most important things are
(1) Battery supply
(2) Price/cost
(3) Access to home and travel charging

Fix those, and demand and sales will just continue to grow.
EVs are awesome. People will adjust. Remember when you charged your cellphone once per week?

Sure, more range is better, faster charging is better, but EVs are awesome and people will adjust to the new reality.

A very valid point. After spending a ton of money, nobody wants to rent a car for long road trips.

Personally, I have found my 310 mile TM3 to have insufficient range on a couple of situations. An electric car with below 300 mile range is not practical at all.

I just ran into a guy the other day who was telling me he went back to Chicago for Christmas (from L.A.) and that he drove. When I asked why he drove, he said he wanted/needed to take his large dog with him. He rented a high efficiency car instead of taking his own SUV because he’d spend less than half as much on gas, plus avoid the wear and tear. The only hiccup was that the crappy California windshield waster fluid (basically blue colored water) froze up solid in Colorado!

400 mile range is nice, but 200 miles is well sufficient with good fast charging capabilities. You will make stops on long trips anyway. There’s room for multiple sizes. Hence model 3 is a winner in this regard – the base model has the right range and charging capabilities to make it an excellent long-trip vehicle.

Jfast charging is a major problem even clean electricity abundant Montreal-Quebec+ countryside……………………

200 miles will have difficulty making it between chargers during winter at highway speed while not having slow charge times from topping it off. 350 mile range seems like a sweet spot for me, maintains a good range in winter and at high speeds and use it in the lower 20-60% range most of the time for fastest charging. I personally would not regularly use Standard Model 3 for long distance travel.

Adding more chargers solves that problem too.

Which just moves the problem along. So you’d be happy to stop every hour and a half for 20+ minutes to recharge? That’s a significant extension of your trip time if going long distance.

They do not want to hear logic. EVs are great for everything but long trips. They forget that 310 miles of range only gets you about 280 if you want to keep your battery healthy. You then only get back to 250 at the charger before it tapers, leaving even less range for the next segment.

All much better than my 7 bar Leaf getting about 35 miles on a full charge.

It’s not a matter of not hearing logic. It’s a matter of figuring out the cost to get that additional range. The issue is always presented in an ICE context where 3 extra gallons of gas can easily generate 100 miles of extra range. Batteries do not operate on the same scale. That scale is closer to needing 1 gallon per mile. So asking for 400 miles of range is equivalent to having to carry a 400 gallon tank at all times. Even worse it’s full of fuel at all times too.

So when folks say that capacity is only needed when traveling, or that it’s overextended for commuting it is an attempt to balance the costs in weight, and space, and money.

Since it isn’t free, the addition of range needs to be on a case by case basis as opposed to a blanket statement that should apply at all times.


Two situations the gas Subaru handles that the Model 3 or Kona EV have to be able to handle. Cold winter drive from 0-6000 feet, 130 miles roundtrip in the snow and slush with four people and ski gear in the car. The cold will likely take 30% of the battery. The grade going up another 30%. The snow on the road, another 10%. So 50% of the battery getting to the mountain. 120 miles left on Kona and mid-Range Model 3 AWD. Going down hill I’d expect a lot of regen power so should be able to get home, 65 miles, with 50 miles left. There are EvGo chargers along the route so not a LOT of anxiety. Even with a 10% battery capacity loss after 5 years, the 250 mile EV’s should hold up. Trip to Whistler, 360 miles requiring a one hour full DC fast charge on the road in the Seattle area and ability to charge the vehicle at a the resort. The various properties do offer Level 2 charging so Tesla and Kona could both be charged while at the resort with the single travel charge in Seattle. Third situation is summer travel, 200 mile… Read more »

OMG! Everybody wants 400, 500, 1,0000,000 miles of range. Most people don’t need it and won’t be willing to pay for it when presented with the costs. Driving a Tesla in the US or other areas with significant Supercharge coverage does not require beyond 300 miles of “real world” range except for the most extreme drivers (500+miles/day multiple times per year) or for those that really, really value convenience. Arguments about convenience and the need to EV’s to meet or exceed range and refill times that don’t include the inconvenience of regular gas fill ups for non-distance driving are specious and misleading.

Significant on the interstates. Non existent off them for most of the country.

That’s not accurate. They are in cities too now. Additionally, there are few areas of the country where you can drive 250 miles and not come close to a Supercharger and those are sparsely driven areas.

The problem is that it is not real world range in many cases. I agree that 300 mile is enough for almost everyone, as long as it makes 300 miles in all conditions and at all speeds. 😉

Going 140 km/h at -10 degrees drops the range below 300 for all EVs I know about.

300 miles “real world” to me is not all conditions and all speeds for me. There isn’t an autobahn here. 70mph with some adverse temp, wind, or rain is real world. Adverse conditions affect all autos. How much more often, how much more inconvenient is it to stand in the cold a gas station is it for ICE cars for normal daily driving in the winter time?

My comment below is really aimed at those sitting on the fence over present Ev choices I do however agree with Ben Sullins that we should embrace an all electric future as soon as possible.

The battery range debate is no different to the engine debate in ICE vehicles. The solution is simple, it is a standard solution in most ICE vehicles and it’s already becoming a standard solution in EV’s.

Have different range options. Tesla, Hyundai, Rivian and now Nissan are all doing this for that very reason. For the same reason there are 6 different engines available for the Ford F-150, and normally at least two different engines available in most ICE models, there should be at least two different batter ranges available in BEV’s.

Have batteries with ranges of everything from 150 miles to 600+ miles, with range options based on the type and usage of that vehicle, then let the purchaser choose what range they want.

The issue today is that there isn’t a range option for those longer trips. That will change in future with 400 mile+ battery options becoming more standard. That wouldn’t mean – if you only commute back and forward a few miles in your car (why not cycle or take public transport?) – you need to choose the long range option however. It just needs to be an option for those that need/want it.

Or even ecycle. Oh wait, they only care about the environment if it is low effort….

Probably a very long time before you see 400 mile EVs and it’s nothing to do with consumers wants. A manufacturer can sell 4 x 300 mile EVs using the same batteries as 3 x 400 mile EVs and the margins will be similar on both cars so they will make 25% more profit on the 300 mile car unles they charge an amount for the 400 mile that no one would pay. And with batteries is short supply for the foreseeable, that cements the equation.
So those who want/need/thinks they need 400 will either have to stay with ICE a very long time or just accept the occasional inconveniences for the many conveniences of EV. Or they will have two cars, one EV for most mileage one ICE for longer trips..

Drone footage of Shanghai China giga at 08:30

Many places I go dont even have a grid to attach a charger to.
Solar/wind/water turbines are getting more popular but an installation to charge a dozen guest’s cars would be enormously expensive. Having a big generator running all the time ruins the atmosphere (social – noise and environment – emissions) so we should not really consider that an option.

So it’s either ICE, PHEV or long range BEV. The latter would still require high current chargers in remote places but would be feasible. The range must be at least 200 miles fully loaded for driving plus enough energy to manage the TMS for a week from an 80% charge obtained before leaving the grid (way too inconvenient to wait hours to get to 100%)

Gas stations can’t operate without grid availability either. So I guess this means you are going to “many places” with spare gas cans full of fuel?

If so, this is such a tiny percentage of the car buying public that you might as well be describing a location that is only accessible by private plane or helicopter. I mean sure, that exists, but it’s completely irrelevant to the general car market.

Move to a developed country with 250+ km/h trains.

The U.S. is a developed country, just not centrally planned. So public transit doesn’t work in most places.

Public transit works in US if you move close to stops and change job near stops. Problem is, no one will do that, everyone asking for public transit’s expecting the public transit to come to them instead.

Also, I’m curious how other countries deal with mentally ill homeless people camping / peeing / pooping in public transit. If you ride public transit, you’ll find the stench of pee and poo overwhelming in very short time, especially in CA the homeless capital of US.

How does everyone live and work near stops? Sounds very uncomfortable….

Speaking from personal experience, that’s not how people take public transit. You don’t have to live close to the train/bus station. Rather, people drive their cars a short distance from their home to the bus/train station, park their car at the station, and then ride public transit from the station to work. It’s done every day.

I have taken public transit (both train and bus) for thousands of miles. I have never witnessed this pee/poo stench thing. And I live in California.

I have witnessed it, and I live in California. BART is known for having this issue. I’ve also experienced it on buses (people reeking of urine).

I’m in Southern California – my experience is on the trains and buses of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. It may be a different environment than that found on Northern California public transit, such as BART.

It’s Sparky’s delusion that public transportation is filled with teeming hordes of diseased human vermin with filthy habits.

I think he takes the snobbery and disdain for the “common folk” somewhat farther than most one-percenters.

Living and working in both Canada and the UK I have not found this issue at all. I have taken public transit to work almost every day I have been working.

Well other countries have working social systems which makes mentally ill people have a facility to stay at and homeless people have a home. 😉

You should try it, it is called socialism and it is awesome. It makes it better for everyone…

Bolt EV speaks the truth about the dark underbelly of public transit that many refuse to acknowledge. But NYC gives CA a run for its money for homeless capital of the US. Wintertime is the worst in the NYC subway system as NYC’s homeless seek shelter and warm from freezing temperatures. Our uber-liberal, socialist/progressive mayor and city council have decriminalized many quality-of-life crimes instuted by former mayor Giuliani, bringing about a return of the bad old days. Nowhere is this more evident than in the NYC subway system. Cops can no longer arrest people for pooping and peeing in the subway, and can only ticket/fine them. A monetary fine isn’t much of a deterrent to someone who has no money to begin with and who will never pay the fine. If you thought you had a crappy commute, read this news article about a morning commute, ironically on the No 2 train. “A straphanger took the name of the No. 2 train a little too seriously — and spread feces all over a pair of subway cars during the Monday morning commute, riders and cops said.” Thankfully, there are no pics of the inside of the afflicted subway cars. https://nypost.com/2018/04/02/subway-rider-smears-poop-all-over-no-2-train/… Read more »

A serial Tesla basher commenting about “truth”. Almost as ironic as his chosen screen name, “Impartial Observer”.

I see you’re just as hostile to public transportation as you are to EVs. I guess we know who you’re shilling for, then, don’t we? Big Oil.

The premise of the article assumes a paradigm that may not exist in the future. Autonomous on-demand cars may mean you switch cars in the middle of the trip, for example. Who is going to even own a car when on-demand is 10x or more cheaper per mile. And no maintenance.

Will not be 10x cheaper and very far in the future. Wait time is now for the car, not charging it.

“Ok kids, get all the camping stuff out the back and we’ll swap into the other car for the last part…”?

On demand will never be 10x cheaper when comparing like for like.

Why will an on demand EV be cheaper than an owned EV? Especially when both have AV technology.

Sure, it’ll be cheaper in certain circumstances, just like Uber now is cheaper in those same circumstances. Doesn’t mean everyone has abandoned their vehicles.

Sooo, one of my cars (Tiburon) only has a 290 mile range. I have no problem with that. The other, a 1971 C10 pickup has just 220 miles of range. I’ve been everywhere in that thing. Must be missing out?

That’s because you can fill those up in 5 minutes and double the range. Batteries are not there yet. Bigger batteries can alleviate that somewhat by allowing faster charging for more of those miles.

What’s the value of the bigger batteries? Specifically what percentage of the time is the utilization of the extra battery capacity vs it’s cost. If you use that extra capacity 10% of the time, but the vehicle cost 40% more than the smaller battery option, is it really worth it?

Let us not forget that the only time the issue is truly relevant is on a road trip. What percentage of the time does one drive road trip miles? Is the convenience of more miles and a bit faster charging worth the overall cost of the battery capacity required for that convenience.

Bigger batteries are not free. So how much would folks be willing pay to get that benefit?


For some of us, a large precentage.

We did 15,000km in our vehicle last year. At least half of that was on two trips of >2,000km (one was 5,000km). At least half of the rest of that was trips of > 400km (in below freezing temperatures at highway speed) and the rest was a mix of >200km trips and a little bit around town.

I would be quite happy to spend a bit more and get a larger battery, so I didn’t have to spend so long waiting around to charge on 1,000km+ a day drives.

Sure, I’m not the average driver, but I’m certainly not unique. There are plenty of people out there, which is one of the reasons companies like Rivian are aiming for 400+ miles on a charge.

A 150 mile EV is equal to 6 days of 25 miles a day driving.
And with no charging it’s a 50 mile trip to another town, and back with a 50 mile buffer.

With charging at the destination it’s a 140 mile trip, charge and go to dinner and come home.

Moving the goal posts to the extreme corner case is just another example of EV Fear Hysteria.

It is simple, really. Just calculate the kWh that you can jam into your vehicle during any given interval. Currently I put 30 liters in my 2010 Prius in about a minute, i.e. the time needed to insert the nozzle, fill, and remove it. That gives us 1026 MJ (34.2 MJ per liter for petrol) and so 285 kWh in a minute.

EVs don’t even come close to that kind of energy transfer and convenience, regardless how good the battery is.

I charge at home and at restaurants while I eat. Gas cars cannot even get close to that level of convenience.

Yet in real life refueling in a private garage multiple times a week and only having to use a public charger for infrequent trips (which for me can be counted on one hand over a full year) is BY FAR more convenient than stopping as a gas station once a week.

^^ this!

Far too many comments, even from EV enthusiasts, seem to be written with the idea that EVs will only be charged up at DCFC chargers during trips. In reality, I think we will continue to see EVs doing most of their charging on slow chargers at home or at work.

You have a point but no one buys a car that 100% fits their needs. I see so many small cars/sedans at let’s say Ikea. How do you fit a couch or a bed/table in that? You don’t. On longer trips it just takes a tiny amount of planning and you will get there. It is not that hard. If you do a long trip you have to stop at least for lunch, and having children you have to stop more “need to pee”. Mostly you can combine stops for at least lunch and another little break with charging the car. So you don’t “loose” time at all. It’s just making most of it. When I drove from Ghent to Marseille in a Model S it took me half an hour more than it would be in an ICE car. I almost made the exact same stops I would do in an ICE car, only the last one was 20 minutes where we had to charge only. But even then another little break is OK. At the end of the trip I was far more awake/relaxed then doing the same trip in an Audi A4 avant. And now Ionity is… Read more »

But people do buy cars that they expect to meet 98-99% of their daily needs. Sure, people will rent a pickup or a U-Haul truck when they need to move large pieces of furniture.

If people bought cars that met only 95% of their needs, then most cars would have no back seat. In reality, very few Americans buy cars without one except for pickups, and even there, “crew cabs” seating 4-5+ seem to be getting more popular every year.

I think EVs will split between short range, less than 300 mile, city car, long range greater than 400 mile travel cars, utility vehicles with big batteries, and something like a battery powered trailer that can be towed easily.
I see most households having two or three from these categories.

I don’t think we will have any one range just like we don’t have any one engine now.

What gas engines and EV batteries have in common is that they are the most expensive part of the car. Therefore those are the part that will be most customized.

“I don’t think we will have any one range just like we don’t have any one engine now.”

Perhaps surprisingly, there is an unwritten rule for gasmobiles: All of them have a gas tank large enough to give them a minimum of 300 miles of range. The only reason that’s not yet true for plug-in EVs is that batteries are too expensive. Over time, as the prices and sizes/weights of batteries continue to fall, we can expect average EV ranges to creep up to 300+ miles.

I think that’s inevitable. It’s not like buying an EV suddenly causes people to start driving only shorter distances. Well… not most people, anyway. We’ve all seen stories…

400+ mile cars make sense for another reason too. Better battery longevity. I would barely cycle a 400 mile battery, so it hopefully last me 20 years without appreciable degradation. Vehicle replacement rate has a high impact on its overall environmental impact, and is also a common anti-EV talking point.

Nonsense! This constant comparison between BEVs and ICE powered vehicles is the old proverbial apple and orange debate. ICE cars are capable of 400+ miles of travel before the tank runs dry. Therefore, why not have a larger tank for, let’s say, 800 miles — better yet 1000 miles. Get the point? Most EV owners charge at home (like I do) – some at work – a few at public charge sites. Someday technology will provide ECONOMICAL long range EVs but for the moment, that day isn’t here. Publically pissing and moaning today over limited range only serves to misinform and convince the public that EVs are not ready for prime time. We know better.

My car does 700 miles on a tank. My car is a pickup with an extended range tank – standard on the 4×4 version in Canada (but not in the US, where there are two tank sizes).

There’s a reason it’s standard and it’s not to do with having to refuel it less often in your commute to/from work.

Does that mean all cars should have a 700 mile tank? No, of course not. Does that mean some should have the option of having a longer range? Sure.

400 miles is ridiculous. That is a massive expense and huge amount of weight to lug around for something you only need like 2% of the time. It will be a niche thing for high-end cars.

But unless/until the battery costs drop and energy density increases big time, that’s just a really bad idea for now.

I get that some want a perfect ICE replacement, but when the only downside is a 45 minute wait at a charger every 4 hours on your infrequent long trips, that is just not a big deal. We all LOVE our cellphones even though the call quality sucks compared to landlines, you have to charge them, and they drop calls sometimes…but the advantages outweigh those downsides.

Go find me an ICE car that is silent, doesn’t vibrate, doesn’t spew deadly toxic emissions, doesn’t have a lurching transmission, needs no oil changes, can be charged up at home, and can be fueled for 10,000 miles a year by throwing 5 solar PV panels on your home’s rooftop!

Why is 400 miles ridiculous? It would fit my long travel needs. And someone else might look for 500 mile range. In summer I have no problem having an ICE cream while charging enjoying the sun, but in winter it would allow me to do my drive (cold + mountains) without having to charge halfway. For this convenience I am happy to pay extra!

I think I covered that with “That is a massive expense and huge amount of weight to lug around for something you only need like 2% of the time. It will be a niche thing for high-end cars.”

For most people, paying $10K or $20K more for something very rarely needed won’t make sense. But for a few it does.

That is a strange argument. Along the same line one could argue why people are buying SUV’s of a truck size they hardly ever need because once a year they put a tent in the trunc. A BEV with sufficient range that avoids me to charge at freezing temp is what I would like as customer and I am willing to pay for that as I would use it every second week. For some, (and quite a few families I know) 400 miles would do the job, not 3sec for the quarter mile.

Why stop at SUV’s and trucks. Most people don’t need sedans either. A small hatch would suit the majority of peoples needs 98% of the time.

Speculawyer –
“400 miles is ridiculous. That is a massive expense and huge amount of weight to lug around for something you only need like 2% of the time. It will be a niche thing for high-end cars.”

Yes it is ridiculous for current and near future Li Ion technology, and massive expense and manufacturing pollution, and just masks the problem that you can’t recharge as quickly and easily as you can refuel.
Still, regular people want cars that provide dependable freedom of movement, even if they may exercise the option once a year or two only. Enthusiasts may do a lot of things to prove their point, up to walking around the world, but not general public.

Meanwhile Hyundai has Nexo that is the same EV but makes its own electricity, so it can go for almost 400 miles, refuel 0-100% in 3 minutes, and leases for less than half the cost of somewhat comparable Model X. And you don’t need to rely on ratepayer subsidized feed-in electricity rates to pretend that PV panels on your roof has anything to do with your car charging at night.

Can I plug in and get these benefits at home? Didn’t think so. Next!


I have a Model 3. I charge it to 244 miles every night and commute 47 miles to work and another 47 back daily. My errands can add another 50 miles. I am perfectly comfortable with my car’s range. Being able to charge 310 for a long trip is nice but I have yet to need that. 400 sounds cool but it’s completely unnecessary when you can refill as you sleep. Gas cars can’t do that, that’s why they need more range.

The focus is on the corner case. No one is concerned with what is done on a daily basis. Theer is almost always a projection to the worst case scenario: A need to drive double the range of the EV in a limited timeframe, in bad weather with limited charging options. Many folks feel the need for their car to satisfy that case even though it’s more likely that someone will win the lottery than to take that actual trip.


I think price is a bigger factor than range. Big batteries = longer range = higher price. If people think they need the long range, they look at the price, frown, and head for the local ICE dealer where they can get a bigger vehicle for half the price. I think we need to show people that a range of about 100 – 150 miles makes for a very comfortable and reasonably affordable commuter vehicle, which doesn’t pollute while stuck in traffic. Then make it easy and affordable to rent another vehicle on those occasions when they need substantially more range. Once people see how this could work for them – especially if it saves them money and hassle – I think a lot more would give it a try. We need to get out of the mind-trap of thinking that more range (or more horsepower) = better. Why pay (a lot) more for something you rarely – if ever – will need? For perspective – I own a 2015 Nissan Leaf (EPA range estimate 84 miles). I have put 29,500 miles on it in the 3.5 years I’ve owned it. It replaced an ancient Honda Accord which averaged about… Read more »

Longer range would be great. Currently, that requires really big batteries. It seems to me that I would rather have a smaller range (200 miles) if charging was as fast as gassing up. I rarely drive more than 200 miles.

I hate the “just create an article to get your article count up” such as this one.
It’s articles like this that actually create LESS EV adoption.

If IEVs runs too many articles for your taste, you can certainly find EV advocacy sites with a much, much lower publishing frequency.

Nobody is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to read any given article here… or even any at all.

I think if EVs are ever going to replace gas they need a system where it will take less than 10 minutes to charge the car enough to go 300 miles. I dont want to be stopping every three hundred miles on a road trip, and wait 6 hours for my car the charge.

Hmmm, I think a 10 minute charge will be perfectly adequate. If you are only stopping every 300 miles, you’re gonna have to visit the rest room when you stop anyway. Even if you don’t take the opportunity to buy a soda or a snack, and even if you pay at the pump with a credit card so you don’t have to pay inside, you still won’t be spending long cooling your heels with a 10-minute charge time after returning from the rest room.

I don’t think a 10-minute charge time is going to be a deal-killer for most people, given the convenience and the time saved from being able to charge up at home or at work, rather than having to drive to the gas station once a week.

What is this, 2010? 6 hours? Are you serious? Fast charging today is in the ballpark of 200 miles in a half hour or less.

So one can travel up to 500 miles (initial 300 + 200 extra) on a single 1/2 hour charge. Is that extra 20 minutes really the difference between having an EV or not?

Why do we keep seeing these FUD posts? Russian Trolling?


For long distance travelling, charging speed is a more important factor than the range of the battery.

I honestly think if there were enough Fast EV Chargers that could go from 0-80% in 15-20 minutes, then what you really need is as many Fast Chargers as you have gas pumps. Whether your car had a 200-mile range or 400-mile range wouldn’t be the factor.

To some extent, but no need for nearly as many fast charging points as gas pumps, since most likely 90% or more of charging will continue to be slow charging at home or at work.

You’ve missed the point. The most critical thing is fast charging in less than 10 minutes for 400 extra miles of range for the everyday 600 mile road trip that everyone seems to take. No one cares about daily charging because that’s not what cars are used for.

I hope everyone can feel the sarcasm.


The new battery tech will improve the battery capacity by 3 fold at least within the next 5 years.
1000 mile range is coming.

I can then fill my 50 gallon gas tank so that I can get 2000 miles of range on a single tank, too.

What? Cars don’t have 50 gallon gas tanks? I wonder why not?


What is often lost in the discussions about range is that the impact of cold weather and wind plus speed on highway range. There are plenty of people in the various model 3 forums observing their 310 mile LR model 3 becomes more like a sub 200 mile of highway range car at various combinations of cold weather high speeds and winds. For me the 310 miles of range my model 3 LR offers was the _minimum_ for me go ICE free. At least monthly I do trips with 220+ mile stretches with no SuperChargers. If I lived somewhere with real winter 400 miles would be my minimum range.

One of the reasons 400 miles is my minimum too. It’s perhaps one of the things people in warmer climes forget.

Or one can still buy a brand new Chevy Volt & just drive around with a token 1 gallon in the tank & just drive on the battery for 60miles per day. The one time you need a 400ml drive or even a cross country trip just fill up the 9gallon tank. Or you can just fly there or rent a car for that purpose. When you return home go back to driving on battery power only again. Last time I put $5 worth of gas was last July…the gas is still there. Viva Volt!!

Cross-posting this: Our 2016 Honda Civic EX-L coupe 1.5 liter turbo (automatic CVT) can get 56 mpg if we keep it under 70 mph on flat freeway. Its combined mpg for the entire time we’ve driven it (50,000 miles) since we bought it new is 40 mpg. I love its looks (except for the back end) and the way it drives. It’s got great acceleration, braking, very smooth shifting, etc. The one huge issue is its very bumpy ride. The greater Los Angeles area is full of potholed streets, and even the freeways have lots of uneven pavement. My husband is OK, but my neck has taken a beating. When I drive over expansion joints on the freeway, I feel as though I’m vaulted vertically into the air. So we’re going to sell (we paid in full) and look for a high mpg replacement with a smooth ride. So we zeroed in on the Clarity. I test drove one today and the brakes felt as though they weren’t working properly. They were spongy, and depressing the pedal seemed to have no slowing effect on the vehicle. Does anyone have more data on this? Another concern was the seat. The lumbar… Read more »

There is an active participation in the Clarity section of the InsideEVs forum. You would be welcome to post your concerns there! 🙂


I have seen discussion of the “peculiar” behavior of the car when starting a trip by going down a hill, in that it will start the gas motor when it seems completely unnecessary; but certainly nothing to worry about.

I haven’t seen any reports of problems with the brakes not working. That seems to be a serious problem. Maybe that unit was a lemon?

As far as the seat not fitting you, I suggest getting the proper seat cushion and/or padded cover, to fit your individual needs. One size does not fit all!

Why ICE cars have 400+ mile range if 200 miles is enough?

Because the cost to double the size of a gas tank is less than $50, with minimal impact on space or weight. If gas cars required a 400 gallon tank in order to get 400 miles of range, with the corresponding weight, space, and cost, then ICE cars wouldn’t have 400 miles of range either.


Certainly longer range will help make plug-in EVs more competitive with gasmobiles, but I question that 400 miles of range needs to be the minimum. Gasmobiles get along fine with 300 miles as the minimum. And yes, EVs do lose range in very cold conditions, but then so do gasmobiles.

The real problem is that EVs take so much longer to charge than it takes to fill up a gasmobile. When the average charging time gets down to, let’s say, 300 miles of range with a 10 minute charge, then EV drivers feeling the “need” for more than 300 miles of range will largely disappear.

Charging times have already fallen quite a bit since the first generation of EVs, and competition will continue to drive that down. I’ll be quite surprised if we don’t see at least some plug-in EVs able to charge 300+ miles of range in 10 minutes or less, within 10-12 years at the most. Batteries are capable of more than an order of magnitude of improvement in such things as energy density and practical charging speed… unlike gasoline, diesel, or other fuels.

Another issue is batteries (using current technology) really don’t like being charged when cold. So a bigger battery could help that by increasing the number of trips not requiring an intermediate charge and providing extra capacity to heat the battery so it can be charged. What I would really like to see is a wide choice of battery capacities ranging from perhaps 150 miles to 400 miles+ of range. In our case, our Leaf’s 150 miles of range is perfect for an intown car while the 310 miles of range of our model 3 is our minimum for road tripping.

You’ll actually find that all of the top selling* vehicles in North America have >400 miles of highway range, not 300. There are two that have just below 400 miles of urban range though, but then urban range is less important.

*At least those in the top 10.

So much inside-the-box thinking here.

There’s a way to have your cake and eat it, too. What if your everyday vehicle only had to haul around a hundred-mile range battery, but you could dock a 300 mile battery to the back of the vehicle for those longer trips? It could either be a trailer arrangement, or inherent to the vehicle design. When not in vehicle use, plug it into the house like a PowerWall. Or rent one for the trip, for apartments, or just to save the capital expenditure.

Really depends on cell developments, infrastructure, and other efficiency improvements. Really low cell resistance can make fast charging so convenient that it isn’t worth the volume trade off. In-road inductive charging could make high range redundant. Cabin and pack insulation could make seasonal range more consistent. Higher range seems the most likely route though to address most of this remaining shortfall to ICEs. At least for the next decade. It just takes cutting costs on current tech combined with small improvements in cell characteristics. Adding the extra range this way provides for even more radical performance opportunities such as in the Roadster II. It’ll also make sense for intensively used vehicles such as automated taxis and long haul trucks.

Just like horses didn’t become extinct since the invention of the automobile, ICE cars will still exist for the foreseen future, with a continuously thinning share of applications and enthusiasts, however.

Ben, You should try & get some info on the SS “Glass Battery” By John Goodenough ,, I understand that it gains Range Capacity as you put it through it’s ~ Charge/Discharge ~ Cycles . It actually gains capacity instead of Losing capacity .

A majority of households in the US are detached single family homes with access to electricity for charging. The majority of households in the US have 2 or more cars.

That is roughly 60 to 80 million households in the US that could easily replace one ICE car in their driveway with any of the modern EVs available today, while keeping an ICE as backup.

Continuing with this “an EV has to be able to do a 500 mile road trip with the same time and convenience as an ICE” trope just gives people more reason to hold off buying an EV.

Who drives 400 miles without stopping?

Love your passion and attention to detail in this video. The future of the electric car is picking up momentum and is becoming more and more likely to replace the combustion engine in the next 2 decades.