Lack of range is touted as one of the primary deterrents for those wanting to shift to an electric vehicle (EV), however, a new report from IDTechEX, ‘Routes to 1,000 Mile (1,600km) Battery Electric Cars 2021 -2041’, outlines that progress is being made.
The UK-based independent research and business intelligence consultancy states that several 600-mile EVs are in the pipeline, ready to be launched as early as 2025.
IDTechEX predicts strengthening demand for range and strong progress towards it, noting also that long-range sharply increases resale value and useful life.
Tricks to get longer range
IDTechEx CEO Raghu Das says the trick to achieving long-range is actually a swarm of advances.
“We find that better thermal management has a long way to go in improving range and we believe that just improving battery software will boost range by 10%.
“It is possible to go far beyond the simplification of the die castings coming in the Tesla cars replacing up to 360 parts.
“Quite separately, in-mold electronics will replace up to 100 parts at a time and in-wheel motors replace gearing, differential and axles.
“Some power electronics components will be shared and moving to high voltage greatly reduces cabling and motor weight.
“Manufacturers can copy the very low drag factor of the Lucid Air and Mercedes EQD and the solar bodywork of Lightyear One and Sono Motors Sion as Hyundai intends to do.”
Antidote to range anxiety
In 2025, 600-mile cars will be the antidote to range anxiety and more. For example, IDTechEx finds it sharply increases resale value and useful life (less battery cycling and fast charging ageing the battery).
It said: "Selling electricity vehicle-to-grid is no longer a silly idea when you have some miles to spare.
"Elon Musk has recently said that battery cost reduction will be particularly helpful and we already see some premium cars having a battery twice as big to boost range."
The IDTechEX report says that the delay in charging a battery electric vehicle and the need to change one’s itinerary to do so is an ongoing problem.
Partly this is because most people live in cities in apartments with no prospect of their own charger.
Fast chargers are expensive and with the now rapid adoption of battery-electric cars, IDTechEx says the number queuing to use them and their rarity will be an issue as well as that shortening of battery life.
Short-range battery-electric cars
IDTechEX has observed a surge in the adoption of short-range battery-electric cars in cities by people on limited budgets that cannot afford longer-range vehicles.
However, the report states that short-range causes hassle, risk and financial distress - when the same consumer repurchases, they will be even more interested in getting as long a range as possible.
Range quotes “misleading”
IDTechEX says that the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) range quoted by Chinese manufacturers is an exaggeration but you have to experience the halving in real range to realise that even quoted WLTP or EPA range is misleading.
In the real world, if the car is cold, hot, old, towing something, loaded with people and baggage, or driven energetically, each produces a hit on the range.
For example, towing your road trailer or caravan can reduce the range 50-66% even if none of the other aspects apply at the time while switching on the robotics can be another hit.
A unique selling proposition
IDTechEX explains that chargers will never be widely dispersed over the countryside of Scotland, let alone vast countries such as Canada, Kazakhstan and Australia.
Battery electric cars will not, therefore, be widely adopted by countryside dwellers and even those wishing to vacation there unless the range greatly improves.
For them, long-range will be a very strong unique selling proposition and many will pay much higher prices to get it.
Das adds: “The UK is a small country yet Ford’s 2021 Go Electric opinion survey showed that UK car buyers are still uncomfortable with the idea of swapping their fossil-fuelled vehicles for an EV. Most severely, from rural areas that was 82%, villages 76% and smaller towns 79%.
“Overall, a large proportion of drivers said they still think the range is a big issue.
“Ford discovered that the average range that UK consumers think a battery-electric car can travel is 149 miles.
“Only 6% think an EV can have a range of 250 or over so the problem is partly education but mainly a strong need for a much longer range.
“That includes a large choice of affordable 300-mile cars by 2023.”