In my last article I tried to explain why large battery packs are inefficient. Besides packaging and safety issues, added weight reduces a BEVs efficiency. BEVs that provide less range to drivers usually outperform the Tesla Model S in energy efficiency. Again, this is mainly due to the reduced weight these cars carry around. While long range provides peace of mind, in this article I want to explain how much range an average US driver actually needs.
The National Household Travel Survey provides the largest database of individual trips taken in the US. The latest survey dates back to 2009 and has >1M individual trips recorded. It is assumed to represent the US population well. The database allows us to estimate US driving behavior. For example, the average driver took 3.8 trips per day and averaged 13,543 miles in 2009.
In media the differentiation between existing electric vehicle technologies is rarely made. With Tesla Motors dominating the EV news it doesn’t come as a surprise that we think all EVs are battery electric vehicles (BEVs). But technically even FCEVs – or fuel cell electric vehicles - are part of the EV segment as they also drive with an e-motor (I don’t usually consider them part of the EV segment either).
Putting the current feasibility of FCEVs aside, FCEVs and the four most common EV technology platforms (HEV, PHEV, REEV, BEV) differ significantly from each other. First of all, EVs require an e-motor and a battery pack. The sizes of both vary in each technology group. When looking at the individual models the differences are even bigger. For example, while Tesla ModelS has a range of up to 275 miles, a Nissan Leaf or BMW i3 get less than 100 miles out of one charge. All three are BEVs (read more about EV segments)
Sini Ninkovic analyzes the EV market and its customers since 2012. He helped bringing BMW's i3 and i8 to market and currently works as Product Planner for Lucid Motors.