Manufacturers are launching a second generation of electric cars in which autonomy increases slightly due to the higher energy density of new batteries or more efficient electrical systems. An analysis by Gonzalo Garcia, chief editor of Movilidadelectrica.com.
Many manufacturers of electric cars are starting to increase the range of their first generation models achieving approved autonomies of around 250 kilometers, but that in fact, on mixed routes, which include stretches of highway or conventional road, using the air conditioning and transporting several passengers remains between 150 and 180 kilometers.
Speaking of approved ranges for example the Renault Zoe has increased from 210 kilometers to 240 thanks to increased efficiency of its electrical components. Nissan has changed the chemistry of the battery of its Nissan Leaf to reach 250 kilometers. The BMW i3 could achieve 300 kilometers with the new Samsung battery of 94 Ah. Volkswagen promises for e-Golf 30% more battery like Kia with its Soul EV for 2017. New models like the Ampera-e could reach 320 kilometers. Perhaps the difference comes from Tesla and its Model 3, which was submitted for presentation on March 31 and could have several different battery capacities as happens with its two older brothers.
Is this increased autonomy really helpful?
To answer this question it is best to divide the journeys we can make with a vehicle into four types: regular urban routes, improvised routes, weekend intermediate routes and medium-haul and long trips.
Regular urban routes. They are the habitat par excellence of today´s electric cars that, of course, will be fully covered by the second generation. The advantage is that in many cases they will not need to be charged every day.
Improvised routes, are usually urban, but arise unexpectedly and add to the regular route. In many cases these journeys in today’s vehicles are those causing anxiety in the driver’s range and often force them to use the combustion car to be on the safe side, because the electric will be charged for the next day. With the new ranges these journeys would be completely covered.
Weekend intermediate and mid-distance journeys, very complicated for today’s cars if there is no backup charging infrastructure in the destination. With new ranges many of these journeys will be covered, although if there were such a well-planned charging infrastructure this extra range would not be necessary since the car could recover capacity during the trip.
In this case the correct development of fast recharge infrastructure would facilitate the electric vehicle to become the only vehicle in a household, opting for long trips for renting a combustion engine in a timely manner.
Long trips. In this case it is evident that the new ranges are insufficient. If fast charging infrastructure was extended by corridors, at intervals of about 80 kilometers, it would make it easier for vehicles with 160 kilometers of real range to do more or less long trips that require more than one additional stop compared to combustion vehicles.
The development of fast charging corridors is key to answer the initial question. Between 200 and 250 actual kilometers traveled by highway at speeds of 100 km / h or more and with little energy regeneration, they can be enough to make any kind of trip. Less autonomy can be limited if we are to make long trips.
Tesla, with real range of 300-400 kilometers and superchargers network, is the best example we can find to replace obsolete combustion cars by electric ones.
What is your opinion? Will the range of this second generation of electric cars suffice or will we have to wait for the third?
Gonzalo Garcia Martínez Chief movilidadelectrica.com