How much range does your new EV really need?

Range Inflation

I’ve noticed as the range of EV’s has increased in the last ten years, the expectations of what range is adequate has also increased outpacing EV development.

When EV’s could go 100 miles, folks desired 200 miles. When 200 mile EV’s came on the market expectations increased to 250 or 300 miles. With the introduction of 300 mile EV like the Tesla Model 3, people still desire more. Tesla now sell a 400 mile Model S.

As with many things in life you can never get enough of what is desirable. It’s the human condition.

So how do you determine what range you actually need? More sounds great until you realize more range adds a lot to the cost of a EV. Spending wisely should be the goal in selecting an EV.

JP’s EV Range “Rule of Thumb”

Daily driving distance X 3.

That’s it in a nutshell.

When calculating your daily driving range consider your daily commute and add extra miles for a lunchtime trip for and running the family to the ballpark or a run to the store when you arrive home.

I created this rule of thumb after driving 160,000 EV miles over ten years.

This rule of thumb means you will not need to charge away from home. Charge overnight and wake up to full “tank” everyday.

How I arrived at my rule of thumb

If your daily driving needs are say 60 miles, clearly the EV must be able to travel 60 miles. That’s one times the daily driving needs.

EV’s can lose 30-50% of their stated range in frigid winter temperatures thanks to the need to heat the cabin and the loss of efficiency of a cold battery. So a 60 mile EV may only be able to achieve 30 miles in the darkest and coldest night. So 120 miles, or twice the daily needs is essential to be sure you can travel the 60 miles you need.

The next thing to consider is EV’s may lose up to 30% of their range as the battery ages naturally through battery degradation. You will also want to leave a 20% buffer for unexpected needs and to avoid range anxiety as the distance to empty decreases through the day. That’s another 50% you might lose to degeneration and a reasonable safety net. So another 60 miles is needed to compensate for these losses.

So if your daily driving needs are 60 miles, then you need an EV that can go 180 miles at the very least. More is always better, if you can afford more then there is no harm in buying more. If mone is tight, then be sure you do not buy less than three times your daily needs and you will be fine.

Workplace Charging can reduce the rule of thumb.

If you are fortunate enough to have workplace charging you can calculate your need as 2 1/2 times your daily needs. So the 60 mile example used above would suggest a range of 150 miles.

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