The writing has been on the wall for a while now: Electric cars are here to stay, the death knell is ringing for fossil fuel.
That’s all very black & white though, and the reality is perhaps a little different. Certainly, electricity is the motive force of the future, and for the moment, developments are happening so fast that even oil giants like BP are investing heavily in the infrastructure. But can BEVs really cope with everything that internal combustion can?
At the moment, not really.
That isn’t to say that they aren’t a viable alternative right now, just that any owner of a Battery Electric Vehicle needs to get used to that twinge in the pit of their stomach called ‘Range Anxiety’.
Read any write-up, report or owner’s perspective about their BEV and they all mention the same thing – fantastic in every way aside from the range anxiety, which they’ve all suffered from at some point.
Typically, ‘optimum’ ranges can be anywhere between 130 miles – 290 miles depending on the vehicle, but just as manufacturers use their know-how to ‘increase’ the mpg figures for a regular car, so do electric vehicle manufacturers.
One example of this is temperature. Although each manufacturer does carry out extreme weather testing, the published figures are, of course, taken from optimum conditions – battery cells like to be comfortable, around 21 degrees Celsius, start deviating from that temperature, and things start looking different.
The American Automobile Association have recently compared the effect that temperature can have on the optimum range, and staggeringly, it could be as much as 41% to the deficit in cold weather. That doesn’t mean the reverse is true either; warm things up above the optimum, and you’ll still see a decrease in battery reserve, although not as acute.
For the record, we aren’t talking extremes of weather unlikely to be found in the UK – approximately 6 degrees below zero, or 35 degrees above.
Extreme weather effects
The decrease in range is down to a number of elements, partly physics, partly comfort.
Timothy Grewe, chief engineer at the General Motors Electric Propulsion Laboratory explains: “When the weather gets cold, the battery components develop increased resistance that limits how much power they can hold, as well as how fast a battery pack can be charged or discharged”.
That loss of efficiency equates to around 12% without the heater running, but staying warm could add a further 28% loss in range; testers noticed an overall loss of 41% on some models, including the heating system for the battery (which is separate from the cabin heater).
While extreme warmth also loses range, it’s nothing like as much – around 4% without the air-conditioning running, and 17% with.
While few manufacturers have officially commented on AAA’s findings, a spokesperson for Tesla commented: “Based on the real-world data from our own fleet, which includes millions of long trips taken by real Model S customers, we know with certainty that even when using heating and air-conditioning, the average Model S customer doesn’t experience anywhere near that decrease in range at -6 degrees, and the decrease in range at 35 degrees is roughly 1%”.
While we’re used to seeing improvements in the technology, batteries and range, these losses may be difficult to engineer out. An internal combustion engined car has lots of spare heat energy, so diverting some of that to the cabin is relatively straightforward, but an electric car only has the capacity to generate heat by using the onboard electricity.
It’s a similar story for the battery heating system.
It would seem as though the best advice if you have an electric vehicle is to try and pre-condition the car while it’s still plugged in – either heating it up or cooling it down, most of the BEVs allow for this, along with storing it in the garage or at least ‘out of the wind’ where possible.
There is no doubt that electric vehicles are taking big steps toward being a genuine, viable alternative to their internal combustion counterparts, but that’s at a price, both in terms of financial and practicality. There are still a number of issues that need ironing out before they truly beat fossil-fuel in a fair fight, but is that so surprising seeing that the car as we know it has been under development for well over a century?
No doubt that someone will point out that electric vehicles were also developed over 100-years ago, but they were never mainstream, or that both petrol & diesel also lose efficiency when temperatures plummet, but the difference here is that it’s an easy job to refuel, that takes 5 minutes.
Would you own an electric vehicle? Is it something that you want, but practicality or financial reasons outweigh the decision? Let us know in the comments.
Yes, I would absolutely own an electric vehicle and I’m perfectly prepared to live with the change(s). But I can’t make it work financially.
I’ve never bought a new car and ideally I’d like to buy a reasonable second hand three year old car, but it would need to be something with over 150 miles of real world, ideal-temperature range.
The market doesn’t exist, because manufacturers weren’t selling these cars three years ago. I’d need a next-gen LEAF or a current Zoe or Model 3, but I’ll have to wait three years for those to be a reasonable price on the used market.
The only EV on sale in the UK three years ago that has enough range is the Tesla Model S, but they’re not affordable second hand.
I don’t tow. I don’t regularly drive more than 150 miles in a day. My miles are commuting, so they’re regular, known, and I could charge overnight at home. I’m prepared for an EV. Car makers aren’t. They’re only just starting to get good enough, so I’ll have to sadly give it another few years.
And at 3 years old you will need to replace the batteries at massive expense
No you won’t! My Leaf is still at 100% capacity after 4 and half years/40 000 miles. So much fake news put out by the oil industry Daily Mail /Ronnie down the pub….
Not every used EV will have had such a life as yours though. Battery packs have a finite life, just like everything else. Yes, if you take care of them, don’t overcharge them or run them till they’re within an inch of their life, and don’t mistreat them, you will get a decent life out of them. But they WILL die eventually, and some may be quicker than others. The OP was looking at the 2nd hand market, mostly early vehicles. Not sure that I’d be willing to take a punt on them just yet.
I wouldn’t mind an EV, but I will never be able to afford a Tesla (and if I’m being honest, don’t really like them so much). Likewise with things like Jaguar, still too expensive. Further down the list, range anxiety becomes an issue, no matter how big a fan you are, especially when cold becomes a factor. If I miss a charge cycle just now (on an average ev) I’d be nervous about the next day’s drive. Miss it in cold weather, I wouldn’t be getting home. Coupled to that, the public infrastructure is still not robust enough for everyone to make the move, nor fast enough to persuade the average motorist to switch.
Are EVs the best way forward? I don’t know. For some people, they’re ideal. For the majority of people, hybrids are probably a better choice at present.
If a Leaf’s battery is as good s that, why don’t they start making batteries for my radio? It used to work for two hours off the mains, and now it’s about thirty minutes. Fact: rechargeable batteries lose their ability to recharge over time. But maybe three years was pessimistic.
Do you really need a 40kWh battery back with 60A charging in your radio?
Stu, Have you seen the size of his “Boogie Box” maybe he doe’s
portable devices lose their charge as they are charged to the max and drained to empty repeatedly. same with mobile phones. a tip with phones is not to leave them charging overnight but rather charge to below 100% and charge before they get close to zero. electric vehicles have these percentages built in. eg in my leaf if I drain to zero its not actually empty, there is still a reserve remaining to protect the battery. same goes with charging, although it indicates 100% its actually a little less. I think around 38kw is usable out of its rated 40kw.
Please God, save me from a Nissan Leaf.
My partner had a Leaf for a couple of years – nice little car but limited range – part ex against the new Hyundai Kona Electric which has a much greater range than the Leaf. Driven on a 200 miles journey a short while ago with 70 miles still available before the battery needed charging.
Would like an EV to replace my Volvo XC70 but other than the model S no EV is capable of towing a caravan !!
Model x, you mean
A recent report on the car of the year (an EV) clearly states that if you use the fast charge on a regular basis the batteries will be damaged. So if you buy a second hand car it could already be damaged with no way of being checked except by a specialist.
Also Nissan lease the battery for the Leaf but as the batteries are part of the structure of these cars it will take a specialist to do the change out. This cost £4950 with a £1000 cashback. Enough to upgrade a normal car or buy a reasonable used car.
When did Nissan stop doing battery leases?
you can easily check the state of health with OBD dongle and an app such as leafspy. gives you all the ins and outs of cars battery health
If what you infer is true, you will have to inform nissan(and the rest of the world). Your technique will make EVs viable, saving the major cost, of battery rental, of over 14p/mile(Renault prices). So stopping three year old leafs piling up on wasteland.
However, if it only says 100% charge, which means 200 mile range when new and 20 mile range after three years, that’s not so good!
Have a look, or listen, to the videos and podcasts of the
Fully Chargedshow. Rob Llewellyn has owned a
Leaffor eight years, it still has 80% efficiency – on the original batteries!
Other manufacturers, e.g. Renault, have battery maintenance packages.
Do your research before making un-qualified statements!
Already done the research Rob Llewellyn (AKA Kryten) is a careful owner not typical.
Battery maintenance contracts are yet another additional cost on top of the extra insurance and the thousands extra to buy an EV in the first place.
Use a fact checker, JJ before you criticize others and remember not all owners are careful.
Does anyone do battery rental any more? Nissan stopped ages ago and I’m sure Renault have stopped too. No additional costs for batteries unless you buy a second hand one with battery rental.
Renault do them. I don’t see the point. may as well put petrol in an ice car.
Jay – Even though I think that EVs tech is not mature enough to be considered as a viable alternative to ICE cars (petrol or diesel) for all types of uses, they do have their uses, and it’s been demonstrated by Lexus/Toyota that hybrid batteries (very similar to EV batteries if not [now] the same) last between 7-10 years and counting – yes, they will lose capacity by then – I’ve seen figures of between 20 and 50% quoted, depending on usage patterns (how often the batteries are depleted and especially charged).
Admitedly these battery packs can cost quite a lot, several £0000, especially for the big (high capacity) packs in the bigger EVs like the Teslas & Co. Often this makes the car uneconomic if it was bought second hand – not so bad if it’s still on the original owner who can obviously afford to pay a lot of money in the first place, AND, IF the car is structurally sound at that age – not rotting underneath (rust). Electric motors can last a LONG time if well made, as they have far less moving parts than ICE vehicles.
I just think that the cost (whole life) of an EV is still way too high for most people compared to ICE vehicles, which obviously still have a big lead on range and especially refuelling. This wasn’t mentioned in the above report – quite a number of people living in cold regions found that the charging process in very cold weather (sub zero) was so poor that it multiplied existing (normal) charging times, even on Tesla’s own chargers at service stops, by many times (if I recall, by 5-10x) – he had to take 4-5 hrs to 85% to full charge his wheras normally it would take 45-60 mins. Overnight at home was even worse, though this was in the US where they use 115V AC instead of 230V in homes (the Tesla one on the car parks is 230V).
And if it’s uneconomic to replace the battery at about eight years, so that EWVs are mostly scrapped the, the environmental benefit plummets.
The Amsterdam Stadium is powered entirely by solar and Nissan Leaf batteries. EV battery packs aren’t wearing out like the oil companies said they would so there’s not a big industry in recycling EV batteries but the relatively small amount of EV batteries that become available are recycled into power walls for homes and businesses. They will last decades as home storage.
With perfectly controlled usage and maintenance which is NOT typical of a car. So comment totally irrelevant for the rea world. As for home storage you would either need to rebuild your house or have on built and then you would never be able to sell it or even insure it. I’m pretty certain the fire brigade would need to issue a safety certificate before the local council would give planning approval for such a dangerous build.
There are plenty of commercial applications — they’re being used plenty in Europe.
Batteries don’t replacing after 3 years. Most EVs are still driving round on their original batteries with perfectly acceptable amounts of capacity. The batteries on a Nissan Leaf have an 8 year warranty. Batteries can be refurbished for a relatively low cost and they can be replaced economically. Used batteries from EVs are being recycled into power walls for homes and businesses but these aren’t very common at the moment because they’re just not wearing out like the oil companies told everyone they would. The Amsterdam Stadium is powered entirely by solar panels and Nissan Leaf batteries. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age that people can be this misinformed.
One unfortunate thing about EV’s is the battery life A 3year old batteries could be about to die. You can’t road test an EV battery
you can with an obd dongle and app such as leafspy
Yes, I want(ed) to buy the new Renault Zoe – The cost isn’t that bad, and for most of my journeys on a daily basis, I would have more than enough mileage and the running costs are way lower than my current diesel costs. So it seems a no-brainer. However twice a year (including at Christmas – when it is often cold in this country) I have to drive down to visit family on the south coast, and once a year up to Scotland.
On those journeys, I would definitely be worried by the lack of availability of charging points in the first place, and being unable to guarantee that I would not have to queue for several hours due to the possibility of those that were there, being in use. So until they add many more multi-point charging facilities across the country, I have had to stay with fossil fuel.
Philip, for my needs, on the occasion I had a journey like you describe to complete, I’d use the money I’ve saved on fuel and hire a car for the week(end) and just use a hybrid or something.
I think we all feel we have to own one car that does everything we need. We don’t. Surely if a better car meets 98% of our requirements, use that, and hire something different for the other 2%?
Financially that does not stack up. The current prices foe EV make them eye wateringly expensive fro most people in the middle to lower income brackets. then when you want to do a decent milage you need to add to your cost by forking out for a hire car for 2-3 weeks at a time I recon that two two week hires a year would more than wipe out fuel savings made by running an EV as everyday transport. Add in the additional purchase cost and it makes a good, second hand modern diesel engine look really atractive to most people.
For myself, where I live public transport is a non starter as it is no existant and I need to have a daily range of 150 (reliably) betrween charges. At the minute there are no affordable pure EVs on the market that do the job I need it to do both from a range and functionality point of view. I very rairly go into big cities for anthing so the impending diesel bans would have minimum impact on me personally as my rare trips would just become no trips into town. So until something radical happens I will be sticking to my good old IC engine.
I am still not conviced either that when the whole life cycle of vehicles from concept to disposal is taken into acount that EV manfacture is any “cleaner” than conventional vehicles, the issues are different but still serious.
Nissan will let you have a regular car to cover longer journeys at no cost when you buy a leaf. i have never had to use the service yet.
I did not know this – well done Nissan!
I didn’t say weeks at-a-time, I’m thinking a few days a year. Weeks of car hire would be expensive, yes.
But you would have spent massively more on the EV in the first place. As for the hire car, these will be EV’s in the future as the government is getting rid of new fossil fuel cars. Epic Fail.
by the time govs legislation comes into effect ev’s will have many hundreds of miles of range. 250 miles is already mainstream with some teslas doing 350+. new faster charging tech is being released too.
Hire a car for those two occasions…….
Seems to defeat the object of owning your own car really, hiring one here at home in the UK
I’m not an EV car fan, but for those occasional long trips, with all of the money you have saved running your EV could you not simply hire a nice car for the holiday?
Electric powered vehicles are not all the government claims them to be more proof
Why the government? I haven
t seen or heard the govt saying anything about EV`s!
I’ve been driving one for nearly 2 years. What do you want proving?
Hydrogen cell is the only way electric cars will take over… batteries are too expensive have a short life span and cannot be recycled… at 3 years they’re down to 60-70% a good diesel car is just run in then, not on its last legs… and as for carbon footprint… fossil fuel wins hands down over all… maybe a battery car being driven leaves no co2 behind but that’s already been done in the production of the batteries and the massive pollution from the power station that charged the car… and what about the power supply, the national grid is now at its limit… electric cars will break it and as demand rises so will the cost at the plug, electricity has risen sharply in cost in recent years and will continue to rise… even petrol is still cheaper than charging a battery car.
Keep your bev’s give me a V8😎
Where do I start? first of all hydrogen is just a storage medium. electricity is still used, in greater quantities to produce hydrogen that you then have to pay petrol like prices for. the cars are also vastly more expensive than electric ones. current mainstream battery tech gets 250 miles of range and will grow and grow each generation. a couple of years ago mainstream range got you barely above 100 miles.
The claims over depreciation are completely wrong! there are teslas out there with hundreds of thousands of miles on them and they are still over 95% battery capacity. a commenter above has had his leaf for 4.5 years and is still at full capacity. I have had mine 9 months, done 12k miles and have full capacity.
In regards to pollution, do you think oil is refined with fairy dust? the amount of energy used to refine from crude to usable fuel, including its shipment is insane. the batteries themselves can be reused into home/commercial storage and last far, far longer than any ICE car component. when it is finally exhausted the chemicals are needed and recycled into new batteries.
A good chunk of the energy used to charge cars these days comes from renewables and bar winter time our coal power stations barely operate these days. the grid is not at its limit, and has said as much. If anything home storage will help balance the grid.
I currently pay 3p per mile if I charge at home (most times I charge for free at work or nissans/polars chargers). compare this with an ICE car, even the most economical diesel.
The only main issues with electric cars is yes they are still a little expensive, and yes the range may limit some people but not as much as you might think. I do my 80 mile round trip commute daily in my leaf and typically only charge at work. i cannot easily charge at home but it still works for me.
you are funny
Wow Jay, thanks for sharing this in-depth analysis and providing links to all your sources, it’s invaluable /s
So you think a better solution is to use lots of electricity making hydrogen “fuel” from the by-product of oil extraction, compress it to 10,000psi and fit the tank to the underneath of a car and then use more electricity to get the electricity out of the hydrogen “fuel” to power a motor? Seems legit.
They are to expensive to buy, and where we live away from the road nowhere to charge the car.
Charge at home? Can’t do that with ICE!
I might, but……….it would have to be the same price as a comparable fossil fuel car to buy, it would have to have a range of 600 miles & be able to fully recharge in five minutes maximum. The batteries would also have to last for the lifetime of the car, in other words, 15 years. Until that happens, they’ll never become mainstream, they’ll only be any good for short journeys or as city runabouts.
that’s where things are changing now but just a couple of things to point out. They are still more expensive atm but looking at the more accessible ones like the leaf, kona, niro then you get a lot of tech for the price (around 30k). looking at similar levels of tech on ICE vehicles you aren’t paying a lot more, do look at spec as this is always overlooked.
With regards to range i would talk in terms of bladder range. How far can you drive without having to stop for a break? Think of charging an electric car vs fueling an ICE car as a comparison between old style phones that you charged once a week, and a modern smart phone that you charge daily. I don’t stop to fuel up my leaf often, I just plug it in when i get to work, and unplug when I head home. It’s all preheated when i get in it too as a bonus. I rarely go to a charge point for the specific charge, it charges whilst I’m doing other things usually (eg shopping).
Batteries already last longer than the car. the whole issue with battery longevity is a bit of a myth. there were some issues with early cars but as batteries get larger, they last longer. certainly longer than ICE cars.
With regards to range dropping in the winter, it does drop but mainly due to heating the cabin, and to a less extent that batteries don’t like the extreme cold. From my experience my leafs range varies from 160-170 miles in ideal summer weather to 140-150 miles in winter. nothing like what the article states and i drive with full creature comforts on; heaters, heated seats, heated steering wheel. i don’t driver conservatively either.
Still no good for me, As I said,if you have vehicles with such a short range, you will need to be able to fully recharge them in five minutes max. As well as that, up against my S Type Jag SE, the cars you’ve quoted in my opinion are just plain plug ugly.
BEVs are getting there, but in the current Climate we really should be focusing on our real needs, we’ve been living beyond the ability for the planet to cop for far too long. For the majority of people a range of 100 miles is more than sufficient.
A hundred miles is fine for commuting and shopping, if you recharge at home (you’ll need an external water-proof power socket, and not keep your car on the public highway with leads to trip people up), but most people occasionally go long distances, and need to know where they can recharge, and how long it will take. And they’re not going to buy two cars for long and short journeys. EVs are not really there yet.
I usually only do short journeys and have a 24kWh Nissan Leaf. In the summer it’ll do maybe 95 miles on a charge on a good run. I’ve driven it from Telford to London, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, North Wales. After 70-80 miles I’m ready to stop and have a pee and a coffee and by the time I’m done it’s time to carry on my journey. You can drive pretty much anywhere in an EV without any real drama.
Stu. At the moment you probably have little problem in finding a charging unit on your travels away from home.
Looking into the future whats it going to be like at a Motorway Service Station where hundreds of EV’s arrive all day long and will need recharging. Do you not think taking “pee and a coffee” is going to be long enough to recharge your car as you may be unable to get onto a charger due to so many vehicles waiting to do so and the time it takes. Not quite a quick as “Fill & Go” as you do at the pumps
Ten Grand for gadgets which most people don’t use very often. Get real. As for bladder range I’ve travelled 350 miles with a ten minute stop.
Derek you’re such a pessimist.
most people don’t though and need to stop. like I said, look at the tech. sure you might not use heated seats, all round monitor, pro pilot, etc. but many (like me) will
Presume you have latest 40kwh battery Leaf for those range figures?
Interesting. 600 miles is London to Ullapool. Do you regularly do that length of journey without stopping and then turn round and come back after a 5 minute break? That’s pretty impressive.
I don’t own a full electric but a hybrid. With people talking about range extending and so on and battery replacements being expensive. Toyota do a hybrid health check and the batteries are covered within the first 5 years after that as long as you have a hybrid health check done ( about £45) it’s covered for any battery replacement. So as long as you maintain it I am sure manufacturers will cover them.
I have seen Priuses from over 10 years old still on the roads being used as Uber’s / Taxis and battery power seems almost at full range. Yes conditions / running heaters cold weather will affect that but it’s the same with petrol / diesel cars they will do less mpg in cold conditions.
The cost of owning a full electric and also having the facility to charge the car and the speed it charges at is WhatsApp putting me off having a full electric at this moment. But I am convinced it will get better, until then I will no longer be buying a pure diesel / petrol car, I will definitely consider a hybrid and then a full electric.
I have been driving a Prius hybrid for 19 years. I had one of the original Japanese built 2000 models. That lasted 13 years and now on the second one. 2008 model still going really well. I use a Brompton folding bike for short journeys a train ( where feasible ) and the Prius for longer ones. The reason Minicab’s use them is they’re the most reliable cars on the road as well as using no petrol when stationary. Compare to other cars: steady exhaust output when sat in traffic.
The future of electric vehicles is people who install solar panels. I have 1.82 kw on my roof. Since 2004. It’s clean renewable energy. Not that complicated.
And I can pull away from the lights faster than a Porsche if I wanted to…. Except I’m a grown up so I leave that to others. The 0 to 30 power available in a hybrid is far greater than my previous car which was a BMW 2.5 pi
That might be so. I’ve seen a Tesla whizz away at a fantastic rate, 0-56mph in 2.8 seconds. However my lovely BMW 420d can go for 600 miles in the dark and when it’s cold and wet before I need to get concerned about refuelling and with very modest emissions too. Some way to go yet I think.
Your lovely BMW might go 600 miles between fuel stops but can you? That’s over 8 and a half hours of non-stop driving at 70mph. Real world driving it’s about 11-12 hours. Are you really saying you need a car that can be driven for 12 hours without stopping?
600 miles between stops, probably not. But I bet when he does stop it is where he wants to and for a short break without stressing. He will not have to struggle to find a charging point and queue to hook up and charge for hours on end to allow him to complete his journey. As EVs become more prevalent, finding availabe charging points on long trips will become (more of) a real pain. everyone here comenting how cheap it is to run an EV will be in for a shock when the revenue the government takes from current forcourt sales drops drastically. Where is the chancelor going to come looking to replace that cash?
Brompton rider says it all.
Fossil fuels – quite an apt description as clearly there are some fossils who just refuse to move on to alternatives!
Who needs a V8 nowadays? Yes, petrol engines are significantly more efficient than 30 years ago, when, as a young show off I had a Dodge Charger with a roaring 8.4litre V8 – with approx. 310bhp. Now a Volvo T6 can be tuned to achieve this output on an engine less than half the size and using one third less fuel. I now run a 2door 1litre Nissan Micra. Petrol can continue to be a choice as it is less polluting than diesel and compares well in running costs.
If you want blistering acceleration then electric vehicles (EV) is the way to go, frankly.
Agreed the cost and convenience of EVs is, presently, out of the reach of many but costs will come down and the infrastructure can be made available – after all just about every building in the country is connected to the electricity grid.
And the old argument of coal fired power stations being the sole provider of electricity is defunct. A lot of electricity is now provided by renewables, many out of sight and mind. When I drive to town, a 17 mile trip, I pass 3 huge solar
farmswhich are almost invisible and 3 wind turbines gracefully sweeping up electrons, then, as I stand on Beachy Head I see the vast offshore array producing electricity for almost the whole city of Brighton. That is real progress.
Before too long Hydrogen (H) will be an important addition to the fuel
mix. There are problems with supply as H is highly corrosive and doesn
t flow very well. One solution may be Fuel cell production at service stations, expensive at the moment but, again, cost will reduce.s progress
Brighton city is about to take delivery of several dozen H buses - that
I have run diesel cars for many years because of the high mileage I used to cover. Now I’ve retired I do only a few thousand miles a year so I looked at buying an electric car. Everything seems to work apart from the cost. I can buy several years’ worth of petrol or diesel for the price premium that is demanded for an electric car.
I agree, the market needs more EVs, and to drive down the purchase prices.
Too late for some of us
They cost about a 6th of the cost to run and pay for themselves after about 3 years.
Maybe so, but many of us cannot afford to by one
No-one seems to have thought about all us caravan owners. Towing makes a significant deduction on either diesel or petrol cars. So what about electric. Surely they Just do not have the power to tow, especially over any distance?
The EV market is currently small. There are very few BEV models on the market by comparison to ICE models, so I think this will naturally be covered as the range of models offered increases, but car makers have to pick the low hanging fruit.
Caravan owners are not the first market to be addressed I’m afraid, but I’m sure it’ll happen.
Can I put this scenario to you…? With the cost of batteries being as (expensive as) it currently is, and range being the hot topic for every EV introduced, would it make sense for a manufacturer to release a car with 200 miles of range and a razor thin profit margin, then stick a tow bar on it and hear reviewers and owners complaining that when you tow you only get 100 miles of range and the car is useless? (These numbers are hypothetical)
From the only example I’m aware of, the Tesla Model X has an optional tow bar and is pretty much the only EV rated for towing. Tesla do a great job of aerodynamic efficiency, so as far as I’m aware, towing a boat or caravan roughly halves it’s range.
Battery costs need to reduce and range needs to increase before manufacturers will bung tow bars on EVs I think.
Only Tesla have an electric car that’s type approved for towing in the UK. Other models have a towing option elsewhere in the world but it appears to be a ballache to get type approval for the EU. An EV has more than enough power to tow anything a petrol or diesel car can. It has instant and constant power from 0mph to top speed.
Stu, the only problem with a Telsa is the sheer cost of buying one.
You will have noticed that both the the Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club has erected camping pods, glamping tents and even mobile homes on their sites, as they know the sale of touring caravans is set to fall with the rise of the EV. EV’s cannot tow a tourer, they lack power and torque. The writing is on the wall, not helped by greedy councils who are becoming anti motorist and can see a good earner when its needed.
The presumption towards electric means hydrogen is not being developed, even though hydrogen powered cars do exist. All the issues raised concerning electric cars would be solved by changing direction towards hydrogen powered cars. The current garage network would be the infrastructure but someone took a political decision & now every manufacturer is developing electric, as once government directed them towards diesel in preference to peterol.
How would you solve the problems with hydrogen though?
And before you ask me what the problems are, why don’t you tell me, seeing as you know so much about it. 😜
Hydrogen is really inefficient. It uses a lot of electricity to produce the “fuel”, it is a by-product of oil extraction and it requires electricity to get out the electricity. They’re nowhere near the efficiency of a BEV.
USE OF PETROL OR DIESEL CAR
YOU want to make extra-long journeys in your car.
NISSAN PROMISE to lend you a petrol or diesel car, free of charge, for up to 14 days during the first three years of ownership. All you pay is the insurance and fuel.
What happens after your 3 years is up? Do you just not make long trips any more? It’s an option, but for many, it’s not a solution.
I have never needed the service. its there for newbies coming into electric. its an ongoing joke in leaf circles that the ‘second car’ we bought in the leaf ends up being the primary car as no longer paying 70% tax at the petrol pump feels good!
40% drop in range is complete scaremongering and not real world. Bjørn Nyland on YouTube performs winter range tests in Norwegian temperatures and most vehicles suffer about 10-15% drop max and thats driving in sub 0°c temperatures with winter tyres and on wet roads.
As most peoples journeys are under the 30 miles a day range really isn’t a problem whatever the temp. The first Gen Nissan leaf was a good seller in Canada and these can even manage 60miles in -20°c.
The main concern is rate of charge when the battery is cold this can double your charging time and that’s really inconvenient.
I can’t afford new. Where can I find an electric vehicle that will tow a caravan for under £10k?
Twizy cargo is all the car you need 😉
Where can you find a petrol or diesel car that will tow a caravan for 4p a mile for any price?
Ive already made the switch for shorter journeys – I own a 30kwh Nissan Leaf and use it for normal journeys where I can get back home in one hop or maximum 1 rapid charge i.e. 95% of my driving. My other car is a classic Porsche 911.
In wintertime range drops from a 120 mile range to about 100. Can’t speak for other cars but that’s way less than 40%.
Doubt it is FAKE NEWS. everything suffers in low temperatures, my MPG in winter drops from 51 to 42 due to cold weather and the running of lights, heaters etc. But that’s the fun of owning a dirty child killing diesel I suppose that apparently sucking the life out of the planet, as I take a swig of my full sugar coke from a plastic bottle and wonder where all these stones are coming from and the distant chant of planet killer as it ticks over gassing everyone behind me. suppose it could be worse, it could be a VW diesel then I would be a cheating planet killer as I chuck me plastic coke bottle into the sea.
It’s not true, you don’t lose 40% of your range in cold weather. Pretty sure I’d have noticed as I drive an EV.
Driving for 60 years, changed to diesel because it was supposed to be better!! I won’t be changing to electric in the time I
have left. What happens when you run out of power…..costly!! Also dangerous for road users like cyclists and pedestrians
not hearing their approach and how do they warrant such costs? The manufacturing costs for the new batteries compared
to the combustion or Diesel engine is considerably cheaper, is it just that manufacturers want to keep their profit levels up.?
Quite apart from the questions of comparative cost, range, etc., I’m confused by all the the hype about electric cars being so much better for the planet. There may be less of a problems with emissions from the cars themselves, but where does all this electric power come from? There has to be a considerable environmental cost at source – from the more traditional methods of production, to the massive impact of huge wind turbines which litter every hill and mountain range in Scotland, and the effect which they have on those who live in or visit the area. There seems to be very little mentioned about where this ‘greener’ energy is coming from, or what its ultimate cost may be, in terms of public health.
As someone who reads and researches a lot, and despite realising that for some reason not everybody does bother to seek answers to their own questions or curiosity, I’m still staggered that so many people post this kind of “question”. I say “question” because it’s rhetorical – you’re not really asking to get an answer – you’ve already plucked an answer from somewhere without bothering to check it, because you go on to incorrectly answer your own question based on what you’ve been told from god knows where.
The answers to all your questions exist. Including information about Conservative government policy on on-shore wind, the energy mix of the UK electricity supply market, the installation rate and cost of renewables and direct cradle-to-grave analysis and source data comparing our entrenched oil industry and ICE cars against EVs.
Consider two things:
1. Maybe things aren’t as bad as you assume. Meaning, the starting point for your information is probably better than you think.
2. These situations only improve over time. So while you expect things to get worse they’ve been improving and will continue to do so.
Everyone, please… Go on Google, check some EV owner forums, watch some YouTube videos (many link to source data) or check out TED talks.
If you start getting interested, try the electrek.co blog or Fully Charged Show. If you’re really interested, check out Teslanomics or Hyper Change TV or the Speak EV forums.
What rubbish, sorry.
It is always the same old story, nowhere to charge and limited range, I live in a flat and have no access to my car apart from on the street, my council have taken three years to sort out recycling so what chance has putting EV chargers in, practically zero !!! I agree hybrid or hydrogen is a better alternative.
If you can’t charge at home charge at a public charger. Where do you fill up your petrol car?
The solution is battery change centres – existing filling stations could be converted.
That would also address the problem of high initial cost, as presumably the batteries (the most expensive part) would be owned by the company and rented to car owners.
I own an EV for 2 years. Never been happier and never run out of juice. Will never go back to a combustion engine.
Thats good if if it works for your needs
Same here, it’ll be 2 years in May. My girlfriend got one a month ago and she’s already decided she’ll never go back to petrol or diesel.
just look what your missing, being able to fit a Big Bore Exhaust making that wonderful throaty noise, getting down and dirty while doing your own servicing, talking for hours with Petrol Heads just like yourself and tuning the engine to get as much power as you can. Plus you can customise it to your heart’s content and even fit a SuperCharger just for the fun of it.
EV’s are BORING
No battery can be 100% efficient after 4.5 years. The physics do not allow it. I was part of a programme to test the life of batteries. The batteries were on test were in ideal use and charging conditions. Only 3 survived the full 10 years and they were around 80% efficient.
Was that programme testing individual cells or batteries comprised of many cells?
Has battery technology not changed in the intervening decade?
Given there are Teslas that have done over 300,000 miles, and are approaching 8 years with only 9% battery degradation, I’d suggest whatever you tested is not typical of a modern automotive battery.
I recently travelled from home to Portugal via the Portsmouth Bilbao, ferry, a distance of 900 miles with only one refill of my Passat’s tank. I also regularly tow a 1500 kilo caravan. I look forward to an elactric car at a sensible price which will give me these options.
In August, I took 2 of my children for a little drive to Spain.
We did the Dover to Calais ferry, through Paris, down the mediteranian side of France, to do a bit of site seeing in Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Bilbao, then back up the atlantic side of France, and back home on the Calias ferry, not quite 3,000 miles in 2 weeks
Because of the high purchase cost, I could only afford the smallest battery in their range, which the government figures say is good for 259 miles on a single charge. (nice weather, steady driving on the flat at 30mph? not like the real world)
(that is probably the same unrealist government test that says your passat will do 90 MPG?)
So I had to stop for half an hour every 170 miles to charge, and use the loo and drink a coffee or I could stop for an hour and eat something and get 190 miles, or if I arranged it properly and picked a hotel with a charger, I could have had a sleep and started the day with over 200 miles. But I did it on the cheap and picked cheap airbnb that had nice photos on their profile, and let the SatNav tell me where to stop and charge. (only using the charging points that I don’t have to pay anything for)
I don’t usually tow, but this year some politician has said petrol and diesel lorries are not allow in the Lord Mayor’s parade in Norwich (1st weekend in June?). So I, and a dozen other EV owners with tow bars are turning up the for the day, so we can tow the floats.
It’s only a 300 mile round trip from my house, and the other half is working that day, so I will take the children for what should be a nice day out.
Fake news. Everyone knows electric cars can only go 50 miles before the batteries need taking out and replacing with new ones that cost £50,000.
You drove 900 miles and only stopped once? That’s impressive. How did you stay awake and drive for 18 hours straight without crashing? Did it only cost 4p a mile as well?
I cannot see me using an electric vehicle as the characteristics of range/heating/cooling/charging time prohibits use in a normal everyday use (although i can see it being useful if anyone only uses it to go to the shops and back once per day and then recharges).
The battery renewal costs every 4 years prohibit renewal, in favour of having to buy a new vehicle.
Do electric vehicle makers think people are that dumb?
No – they expect them to be brighter than you
Rayl you’ve been misinformed. Do some Googling.
Most EV owners use their cars for normal daily driving and charge weekly.
Batteries outlast the cars and are trending towards a 20+ year useful life in an EV. The average age of a UK car is about 14 years.
After that they can be reused and have many years of useful life in static energy storage for buildings, so they have value.
Nissan give an 8 year warranty on their batteries so what’s this 4 year battery renewal you’re talking about?
Current electric cars are limited with their mileage and how long the battery will last not mention the initial cost. But it is only in the last few years that electric cars have really been affordable and popular. So they are still in their infancy and in the development stage. But just look at how the combustion engine has come on. The first cars were a novelty and only the rich could afford them. Now almost every household has a car if not a couple.
This is the same with electric cars they are the way of the future and as technology catches up will soon be the norm and we will be wondering what all the fuss was about. The costs will come down and efficiency will improve and electric cars will become comparable to combustion.
A drop in possible mileage is only a minor problem. In the recent snow spell, traffic was stuck in road jams for 5 hours or more. The question that needs answering is how long will the battery last keeping the car warm when stuck in snow? Will it also mean the end of towing a caravan where the car has to pull approximately 1400kgs +? The latest all electric Honda CRV is limited to 750kg. Others do not state a limit because they do not know.
EVs aren’t type approved in the EU because it’s a rigmarole to get the type approval. The Nissan Leaf has a towbar option in the US and Japan but not in the EU. Same car, different process. I’ve seen a video of a Leaf towing 3 trailers each with a Leaf on in Japan. They have more than enough power for towing, they just need to be built with chassis with towing points and have type approval.
Well even at very low temperatures the heating will only consume around 2kWh. So if you have 40kW of battery it will run for 20 hours.
Richard you’ve got your kWs and kWhs the wrong way round.
I drive an electric car and I don’t get this kind of reduction in range. In fact, this week I’ve been getting summer range driving round town despite it getting down to 3 degrees. Some range reduction is expected but that’s also the case with petrol and diesel. I’m not sure where they’ve got these figures from – probably somewhere up in the arctic circle rally driving on a frozen lake to “prove” that burning dead dinosaurs is better than electric. Perhaps it’s time for PetrolPrices.com to start providing information on charging prices instead of publishing nonsense negative stories about electric cars to protect its business? BP and Shell have seen the writing on the wall and diversified, it’s time you did the same.
Hasn’t anyone worked out yet that there is not one chance in a million that there will be enough power available through the national grid to supply even 20% of the number of vehicles on the road today. It would need a massive investment in everything from dozens of power stations right down to the size of supply cables to every region, so worrying about the number of charging points is just living in cloud cuckoo land. Don’t take my word for it, do some maths for yourself and work out just how many kilowatts of fossil fuel is being used on the roads on a daily basis. Then see how much power is actually available if every power station we have is set to ‘flat-out’. As I said, there is not a chance of all road vehicles being powered that way without some unbelievable and incredible changes being made to the national grid. It ain’t gonna happen!
This comment is raised in pretty much every post on here about EVs. Yes, the people thinking about this stuff are… National Grid. They’re prepared:
And the grid doesn’t have to be able to support all our cars being electric now, because they’re not.
Aaaaaand… considering the inefficiency of burning fossil fuel to propel a vehicle compared to using electricity to turn a motor, you can’t just calculate the energy used in fuel to what’s required in electricity. It’s not 1:1.
You can’t use scientific principles to support your argument if the facts don’t support it. That’s just an opinion, but you don’t get to claim it’s based on science. It’s not.
If nothing changed you’d be right but things are already changing. Several companies are offering vehicle to grid solutions where excess charge in cars is fed back into the grid to help flatten peak demand and then the car charges at night when demand is low and electricity is cheaper. Regulations to require new homes and commercial buildings to have battery storage at the very least would solve the peak demand issue in a few years. The grid has more than enough capacity to cope with demand, it just needs to flatten out the peaks.
Yes, the national grid have. You can go to their web site and download their studies. I’m afraid it IS gonna happen. Sitting here watching the new Audi e-from advert on TV. Imagine sitting at the lights in your slow noisey petrol car, knowing that those around you have far better acceleration, lower running costs, and less pollution. At some point the penny will drop.
I am seriously considering a BEV as my next car. As in Canad surely the home charging systems can hold battery temperature overnight thus securing optimum range? Additionally, the traction motors will run warm, maybe hot and a coolant used to take away the heat may be a source of cabin heat, not A/C.
Well there’s a surprise. Electric vehicles. C**p. Give me a V8 any day.
The cost and mileage figures are for me, a disensintive for owning a BEV.
LOL LOL LOL,, Then my sons Zoe will only go 40 miles… LOL LOL.. I am not a fan of electric cars
If my driving was purely around town then I would have an electric vehicle tomorrow BUT my journeys tend to be approx 200-250 which ie over the average battery charge and holidays would be approaching 500-600 in a day and that could not be done owith existing battery life.
You have a large carbon footprint Tony, Jesus! I would flippantly suggest moving nearer whatever it is you travel to, but I know life isn’t that simple. Unfortunately whatever solution (petrol/diesel/EV) distance = time = cost, so you must be spending quite a lot on fuel. Ouch!
Quite agree with the winter range. My eNV200 losses 10% with cold and uses 20% for heating but with heated seats and steering wheel i only need the heater on for clearing the wind screen. Biggest problem is the manufacturers optimistic range compared to normal range which is ~20% less. No problems with battery after 2.5 years. Great as a commute vehicle around London but can’t get rid of the diesel yet.
Interesting observation regarding reduced energy capacity of a battery during low temperature charging. During the summer I purchased an e-bike with a kw size rechargeable Li ion battery. In our recent cold spell I have noticed a more rapid depletion of energy while subsequently riding the bike with the battery in a fully charged state than during the much warmer summer months. I wouldn’t dispute the 40% loss claimed in your article.
As a scientist the depletion does not surprise me; charging a battery has an optimum ambient temperature. But it’s interesting how, in the context of electric cars, it’s become the proverbial elephant in the room.
Well done for opening up this thorny issue!
Own an EV? Now would be the best time while fuelling it can be measured at pence per mile.
Sadly, as with the explosion of diesel powered vehicles on the marketplace rewrote the price and taxation of diesel fuel, I intend to wait until the EV population on our roads triggers the inevitable claw back in lost taxation. Surely no one really believes that if you drive an ICE vehicle on our roads at a cost of one pound (all costs included) per mile, that the government is going to let you continue at 3 pence p/m?
That the cities will be willing to lose the revenue of the ‘ congestion charge ‘ when multitudes of EV’s are swarming in and out daily??
I’d love to own an electric vehicle but the price and the fact that I need to travel 180 miles to see family regularly are both worries.
Imagine this scenario.
All-electric vehicles are commonplace and outnumber petrol/diesel vehicles.
You are driving along in peak traffic in your all-electric car, the battery charge is already partially depleted.
This can be on a motorway or on country roads.
You wouldn’t need to be far from your destination – just a few miles.
It’s night-time so you need your lights on – consuming your precious battery power.
It’s snowing heavily, and it’s freezing cold so you need the heater on – consuming more battery power.
Suddenly, the traffic grinds to a halt.
An accident or heavy snow has blocked the carriageway ahead.
You can’t go forward.
You can’t go back.
You don’t know what’s happening or for how long you are going to stuck.
(We’ve all seen this scenario many times on the news, many have experienced it – me included – many times).
Your options for taking action are limited by the amount of charge left in your battery.
Do you keep the heater on to keep warm?
Do you switch off the heater to conserve battery power and shiver?
Do you switch off the lights to conserve battery power? (possibly illegal!).
Eventually you have to decide.
Do you abandon the vehicle – hopefully leaving enough charge in the battery to recover the vehicle after the problem has cleared?.
Do you remain in the vehicle, using power hoping that the problem will clear – with the danger that you may deplete the battery completely?
One by one electric vehicles around you go dark as their batteries go flat.
Then, suddenly, your vehicle dies!
One day this scenario will play out and the motorway will be littered with electric vehicles – all with flat batteries.
It’s impractical and time consuming to recharge each car individually in situ – so would have to be transported away and taken to the nearest charging point – and join the queue.
Abandoned electric vehicles would be littering the carriageway long after the incident has cleared.
This could turn a minor accident/snow storm into a dangerous major incident.
The time taken to recover from such an incident would be many times longer than with petrol, diesel or hybrid cars.