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SoobieOut 09-01-2011 06:59 PM

EV Range Anxiety
Just read a good article (See link) on "Range Anxiety":eek: Makes a good point about winter time driving, where battery performance drops a bit and the heater draw if a factor.

Car Talk Blogs: DOME LIGHT Blog Archive Range Anxiety: 100-Mile EVs Make Some People Nervous

Frank Lee 09-01-2011 08:28 PM

When enough early adopters with EV infiltrate the populace, the change to EV will become more acceptable. Plus there's a learning curve- the older farts (like me) grew up on/around ginormous V8 slugs; it took a while (still not 100% penetration) to adjust to 4 cyl FWD. In my case I tentatively dipped my toes into the EV world with an electric "bicycle" and after gaining experience with that feel ready to graduate to a bigger EV- that might be the way many get into it too since electric bikes seem popular enough.

As far as the heater drawing lots of power in winter, all I need is a 4 square inch opening in the frost on the windshield to get going courtesy of years of driving VWs and Corvairs in the winter! So I wouldn't have much range penalty from that.

nemo 09-01-2011 09:54 PM

If there were electric car with a low initial cost more people would convert now. They seem particularly suited to urban use. When people start using EVs they will quickly adapt to any limitations and over time these should be reduced.

It wasn't that log ago that not every station was open 24 x 7, in many areas it was difficult to find a station open after 11 or on Sundays. Once there is a significant number of EVs entrepreneurs will start building a charging station infrastructure, then big business will gobble up the little guys once there are big bucks in it. Charging stations could be combined with restaurants, while you eat your car recharges and you are on your way.

But first we need them to become more economical to purchase.

Ryland 09-02-2011 09:39 AM

Most people who tend to complain about EV range haven't ever driven an EV.
When was the last time you drove 100 miles? when was the last time you drove over 50 miles at a time? average person drives 22 miles per day.
Yes, winter driving is an issue, just listen to the radio in the winter and you will hear ads warning you to make sure that your gas tank is full because your cars gas mileage is worse in the winter and if you get stuck you want to have enough gas to idle your car to keep warm!!!
Last I checked heated seats draw around 50 to 100 watts each, lets say the heated steering wheel draws another 50 watts, now my electric car has one of the smallest battery packs you will find in any mass produced electric cars and running heated seats to keep you warm in the ditch and a heated steering wheel (something I do not have, but the Leaf has) I would be able to run them for 64 hours or more off a full charge with my electric cars very small battery, if I didn't have collector plates on my car (prevent me from using it in the winter) then I would insulate my batteries so they would stay warm, they have enough mass in them that 2" of insulation should keep them at a happy operating temp for close to 2 days.
Also, most people will charge at home, public charging is there to quite the folks who don't drive EV's who mumble about limited range, I have lead acid batteries in my EV so keeping them charged keeps the batteries happy and will make them last longer, but I would not pay for that public charging, I would use it if it was free and I didn't have to go to far out of my way, but for the most part I'm not going to bother and I keep hearing about people with Nissan Leaf's who are realizing that they don't need to charge every day either, that just like filling up with gasoline they can drive most of the week, but then they just plug in at home.
But it really comes down to using the right tool for the job, I don't own a pickup truck, so I borrow pickup trucks, I don't own a moving van either so I rent moving vans and when a group of friends wants to all go the same place we look at who has a vehicle large enough to take, does that mean I need to own a pickup truck, moving van and a station wagon? nope! and if I still worked a job where I was driving long distances I would own a vehicle that fit that need, but I don't and I enjoy the extra time I have because of it, the extra money I have because of it (every vehicle has a per mile cost) and the reduced stress from not driving those distances any more.

Daox 09-02-2011 10:30 AM

I'd agree with Ryland, its really not that big of an issue. I think range anxiety was a term coined by GM when they made the Volt so they could slam the Leaf. Since it just kicks in the gas engine after the EV range is gone, there is no anxiety. At the very least I know they popularised the term. But, as any EV owner about anxiety and they'll tell you its not really a big deal. I recently read an article about an owner who had concerns before buying a Leaf I think. S/he admitted it was rediculous and finds that the 100 mile range is always way more than enough to get her/him through the day. I'll see if I can't dig that article up...

Edit: Found it.

Here is another one where the author did a 101 mile trip with a Leaf in freezing weather even.

Ryland 09-02-2011 10:53 AM

My EV has a 35-40 mile range so when people ask me what the range is I don't sugar coat it and just say it's 35 miles, they often then ask how I manage with that limited range or if I find my self not using it because of that kind of range but then I ask them how far they tend to drive per day and it turns out that 10 miles or less each way to work is about it!
Being a fuel saving form, folks on this web site tend to drive more then average, but again, it's all about using the right tool for the job, read any thread about troubles with driving with a cold engine! why are folks driving with an engine that is not warmed up? because they are driving a lot of short trips, those short trips put a lot of wear on the gasoline engine based power train.
I'm currently trying to arrange a time to have my parents look at a home built/converted EV that has about 20 miles of range because that would be more then enough for my parents and they share a single car, but what are they going to do for longer trips? I live 3 miles away and also own a Civic VX so swapping cars for the day is not a big deal, traveling for Christmas we tend to take my car or my brothers car, if they have to go out of town they often going to haul something big so they dust off the pickup truck.

Frank Lee 09-02-2011 05:56 PM


I think range anxiety was a term coined by GM when they made the Volt so they could slam the Leaf.
Was the Leaf even in the picture that early on? I think they coined it to combat the main mainstream arguement against EVs which is "limited" range. I'm sure they heard all about it with EV1. I think it's an accurate assessment of mainstream mentality too.

I've always been a proponent of EVs for people in warm climates that don't suffer the huge winter losses like those in the far north, and skeptical that EVs for northerners would work. I'm changing my position on that a bit, at least in regards to me personally anyway. My Songi really does hate temps under the 50s. Even with no cold weather mitigation mods I've realized that an EV can be tremendously useful at least half the year so if having multiple vehicles is not an issue (for me it isn't) I simply treat it as I do my classics, park it for winter, a bring the beater out for slogging about in the salt brine.

gone-ot 09-02-2011 11:29 PM

...'range anxiety' = new meaning to the age-old kids' question: "...are we THERE yet?"

Ryland 09-03-2011 01:50 AM

I think that the idea of public charging and the term range anxiety comes more from home conversion electric cars, where you have cars that have a 20 mile range because they have a small trunk and were done on the cheap and the owner wants to be able to charge in public because it's 10 miles to get home.
But in the OP the link had a video clip of a guy who had "50 miles" of charge left and was driving to place that was 48 miles away, if you are in a gasoline powered car this will freak you out! because when your gas tank is empty it only has air left in it, there is no wiggle room, when your low fuel light comes on your car does not automatically go in to Eco mode, it doesn't limit your speed to a reasonable speed to help make sure you get every mile that is left, nope, your gasoline car just keeps chugging along until it's just chugging and stalls.
If the battery on an electric car has 0% charge left, chances are you can still drive it in to your garage, but a gasoline powered car you will have to push.

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