Electric car happiness will turn to fury when real range becomes clear

A brand new electric car shines in your driveway and your first reaction will be excitement, followed perhaps by a hint of smugness.

Be sure to take advantage of this moment as the next will be furious after plugging it into your home and the range achieved after a full charge has no relation to the number suggested by the dealer, or the one listed in the specification details of the car.

Manufacturers are reluctant to provide accurate information and organizations such as the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers would not answer my questions. Meanwhile BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, is not happy and wants action. Electric vehicle makers hope that by the time sales reach the same level as internal combustion engines (ICEs), the technology could advance to a point where battery-electric cars can compete head-on, but it seems unlikely let it happen so soon.

If you bought a 32.6kWh Mini e and are charging the battery, the shortfall could be as high as 32% – 98.5 miles versus 145 miles, according to my data. For a Vauxhall/Opel Corsa E 50kWh, that’s nearly 25% (154.5 miles vs. 209 miles). Buyers of the Polestar 2 78 kWh will be relatively happy. The possible range is only about 7% less than the 270 promised 292 miles. That won’t last though because when you embark on your first long-distance highway/freeway trip, you’ll be shocked to find that you don’t you’ll only get around 40 per cent of the range on offer, which is if you’re cruising at normal speeds with the air conditioning on, the infotainment system doing its job and the heater stalling you; just like drivers of ICE-powered cars enjoy it carefree.

The “normal” cruising speed in Britain is around 75 mph. The actual legal limit is 70 mph, but the accepted speed that most drivers believe will avoid pursuit is around 80 mph. In mainland Europe, the actual speed limit on motorways is 82 mph, so 90 mph should be possible. At these higher speeds, the impact on range is even more devastating. In Germany, there are still sections of autobahn with unlimited speed.

When the new buyer’s fury of misinformation has died down, the next reaction will be to find the culprits, and that won’t help the mood. Manufacturers all hide behind the same excuse. Range claims are based on so-called WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) data, a scientific attempt to ensure that all claims offered are based on the same methodology. That’s true, but because it’s based on computers rather than actual real-world experience, the claims are all overstated, but fully comparable.

To add to the confusion, there is also a procession of surveys from management consultants heralding the imminent triumph of electric cars with barely a few negatives mentioned. Earlier this month, an EY survey found that 49% of UK drivers ‘want’ an electric car to replace their ICE vehicle, up from 21% two years ago, which would be a ‘tipping point’ in the market British. Almost 75% of Italians were “looking for” the same thing, according to a survey of 18,000 people in 18 countries, according to the EY Mobility Consumer Index. Would any sane EV investor care much about a likely purchase by people who said they would “seek” or “want” to buy power?

But EY said this.

“These results truly mark a tipping point in the UK car buying market. Almost 50% of consumers in the UK (and even more in Italy) indicating they want an electric vehicle is a milestone in the transition from ICE to electric vehicles. The speed of this change has also been telling, with a 28% increase in just two years in potential buyers who would opt for an electric vehicle over an ICE vehicle,” according to Maria Bengtsson from EY.

To be fair, EY admits that sales could be somewhat inhibited by the huge upfront cost of an EV, the lack of a charging network and range anxiety.

Meanwhile, Boston Consulting (BCG) says pure battery cars will be the “most popular” in the world by 2028, three years earlier than its 2021 forecast.

The EVBox Mobility report says more than half of Britons – 52% – “are more likely” to buy electricity compared to the rest of Europe, not least because they see it as a contribution to stopping the climate change.

The problem with all these warm feelings is that they have no connection to the real world. The undeniably strong start to electric car sales has been driven by well-heeled early adopters who aren’t too worried that their electric vehicle won’t quite do what it says on the box.

To possess it is to worship it.

But while politicians are demanding a rapid demise of new ICE vehicles – the EU is proposing 2035, Britain has mandated 2030 – it means mass market EV sales are crucial and here every penny counts.

The value-seeking electric car buyer will demand that if the manufacturer says the battery, fully charged, will deliver, say, 300 miles, it will deliver 300 miles. No finagling and bamboozling with concepts like WLTP will be acceptable. Only real world data should be used. Manufacturers must be clear about the extension of the expressway on the motorway. On most electric vehicles, this reduction varies between 30 and 50%. It must be conceded. The impact of cold weather on range can mean up to 30% reduction in range. Likewise, the impact of full loads of people and luggage is a reality, and one must recognize the need to regularly top up to only 80% capacity to preserve battery life. There are reports that the tire wear could be excessive due to the enormous weight of the batteries, but this is currently only conjecture and needs to be confirmed.

Organizations like the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) do not want to comment on this. ACEA, (its acronym in French), did not respond to emails or phone calls. So is the voice of the UK motor industry, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Two motorist organizations, the AA and the RAC, also remained silent. Brussels-based green lobby group Transport & Environment declined to comment.

BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, has spoken out on the matter, however, calling for more details to be made available to electric vehicle buyers, such as actual electric range, charging speed and charging time. average load. Brussels-based BEUC is not very fond of the WLTP system, although it admits it is better than the system it replaced.

“(WLTP) remains a laboratory test which cannot reflect all driving and usage conditions. Also, more than for diesel and petrol cars, the actual range will be very different depending on the driving conditions: a car Battery-powered electric vehicles will drive much longer in the city than on the motorway, so it is crucial to correctly inform consumers about the real range of their vehicles, in different conditions,” BEUC said in a report.

In an email response, BEUC Sustainable Transport Manager Robin Loos said this –

“BEUC is asking consumers for clearer information on the actual mileage they can get from their electric cars. At the moment, going to the dealership gives a general WLTP value whose test cycle is not clear to consumers. This WLTP value also cannot be broken down for each of the different driving situations that consumers face – like city driving, high speed, highways only,” Loos said.

“We call on the EU to legislate to provide more real data to consumers and to display this information at dealerships. For example, it is now possible to exploit the electricity consumption data of cars in circulation, because they are equipped with an on-board fuel or electricity consumption meter. The specific thing to address is the 20-year-old EU car labeling legislation which needs to be updated,” Loos said. .

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