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Is Range Anxiety Real?

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Re: Is range anxiety real?
ck_02   8/5/2013 9:37:24 AM
@GTOlover I think it falls in the same category as to why they can't make an EV for Minnesota. I'll talk to Artic Cat next door and see if they have anything in the works. :) I'm waiting for Subaru or some other 4wheel/all-wheel drive option that can withstand our climate with an EV option.

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Pretty Darn Real to Me
Contrarian   8/5/2013 9:39:16 AM

I can unequivocally say that I've had way more range anxiety "attacks" driving my EV than I've ever had with any ICE vehicle.  It's true that once you get used to the range limits and while driving your "usual" routes, you don't think much about it.  You start out fresh every morning, and the standard commutes and errands go off without a hitch.  But throw in an extra side trip and your mind instantly reviews the distance you've traveled so far and whether or not you should even try.  So suddenly your vehicle controls some things you would otherwise do.  Then there's those trips that are "close", when you see the range meter dipping ever further in the red zone and you start shutting down accessories and driving like a little old lady in the slow lane to conserve.  You learn early on the benefits of opportunity charging and that even an hour or two sipping from a 120V outlet could make the difference between making it home or not later in the day.  It's *possible* you can experience periods of anxiety-free driving, but that monster is always there under the bed just waiting.

The overhead of owning any vehicle is the elephant in the room.  If EV's offered some tangible benefit that made owning a less than ICE-capable car worth it, then perhaps the range limitation would be more readily accepted.  But my EV cost more to acquire, just as much to insure, and over the long haul more to maintain than it's ICE counterpart so why anyone would happily accept limited range on top of that is a ridiculous position.  We're not talking "exceptions" like towing a boat, taking a trip to Disneyland or seating 8 people.  We're talking something as common as a 10 mile detour on the way home or having to pick up a sick child from school in the middle of the day, and then having to park somewhere and charge or arrange for your own alternative way home.  That's not range anxiety, it's a hard limit and one I can't think too many people are interested in signing up for.

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Re: Pretty Darn Real to Me
ck_02   8/5/2013 9:51:18 AM
@Contrarian I was thinking about your 10 mile detour example. Have you ever found yourself in a "rush-hour" traffic jam? I know it's not everyday for everyone, but there are enough people that spend 30-45min. in a traffic waiting line on their daily 20-30 mile trek to and from work to absolutely demolish their range. I can picture a line of EV's that "die" in a traffic jam and all the headaches it would cause. Some people may not even have the option of "sipping" 120v throughout the day while they're at work. Although, there was a silver lining in an article I read on DesignNews last week that contained a new Ford Fusion hybrid with a combined range of over 800 miles. Make it 4 wheel drive and we may be going somewhere, but the EV-only vehicles are sadly, just not up to snuff yet.

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Cnanging the paradigm
a9astrid   8/5/2013 9:52:45 AM
Question:  How effective would solar panels, built into the hood, roof and trunk lik be in extending the range of an electric vehichle?

It took about a generation for the internal combustion vehichle to be accepted as a replacement for the horse and buggy. 

I suggest that for electrical vehichles to become common, a similar paradigm shift is required.

Electric vehichle manufacturers are trying to make a replacement that directly competes with the gasoline powered car. 

Instead, they should be offering suburban families a road worthy, street legal, inexpensive car that fits two or three people and some packages for the 90% of communting and errands. Something along the lines of a Smart Car.  It would have to be able to deal with snow conditions. 

Many such families now drive an old clunker that they call their "station Car," or their "communting car."  The insurance rates on it are lower because they don't carry collision or comprehensive and the get a low-milage rate.

For now, leave the larger vehichle market to the intenal combustion engins.  When we go on trips, we like the comfort of a larger car to fit luggage. I like to keep a cooler handy in the back seat, and frequently take my children's friends along.

In urban markets, the problem with a rental car is exhorbitant insurance fees and taxes and the time it takes to fill out all the paperwork.  I paid over $1000 last summer to rent an economy car for 1 week.  And that was with the AAA discount on the already low internet special price.

If somehow the rental costs were cheaper, I would happily buy an electric vehichle for day to day use and get a rental for the "exceptional" uses.  Perhaps Zipcar and similar programs can help with this market shift.

There also needs to be better infrastructure for recharging.  Rest stop areas need to have good highway signage like you now see on billboard sized sign for gas stations and restaurants.


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Its Real...
kf2qd   8/5/2013 10:02:49 AM
Considering that the range of an EV will get me to work and home just one (1) time, while my gasoline powered vehicle will get me to and from work all week. That is a serious change in mileage. It is not possible for all of us to uproot and move just because our job happens to be 2 miles out of range. I would consider that 100 miles would be the minimum required range for any vehicle. I have had several motorcycles that had that range and it required a stop by the gas station every day, with some miles to spare for a side trip. That allowed for the extra trip without requiring me to push. An electric car with 40 miles is A JOKE because it then becomes just like an ankle bracelet that limits your ability to live your life. You must plan ALL you transportation around the available miles in your battery. And what happens if you just get home from your 40 miles and someone has an accident and needs minor emergency services? - you'll have to wait a couple hours while the battery charges? Even with an empty gas tank you could get them to care faster with just a gas engine.

The all electric car, as presently presented, is nice in theory, but does little to account for the real world. The reason that gasoline works is because it packs a fairly high energy density in a relatively small space. Either we have to make the structure of an electric car much lighter (present safety rules prohibit that...) to compensate for the excess weight of the batteries, or we need to have some miracle battery that has a much much greatere energy density.

And I would like to see an honest evauation of the real polution cost of an electric vehicle. Most comments that I have seen totally ignore that the energy has to come for somewhere and consider that these electric vehicles don't polute because they don't have an exhaust pipe. What is the true impact of one of these vehicles for manufacturing and disposal?

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Re: Pretty Darn Real to Me
Contrarian   8/5/2013 10:06:17 AM

@ck_02:  Traffic jams really aren't a problem.  If you're not moving, you're not drawing (much) current.  Going slowly actually increases your range.  If the jam doesn't involve having to go any extra distance you're OK.

@a9astrid: No point in using solar panels on an EV.  There isn't enough surface area to collect enough energy to do a lot, except maybe run a few accessories like the radio.  I think the Prius offers one as an option but it's more for show/feel good/marketing than anything else.

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Critic   8/5/2013 10:18:59 AM
Let's consider a Toyota RAV4 EV.  It has a range of 103 miles, and a charging time of "as little as" five hours to achieve that driving range.


Now suppose I want to take a 200-mile (400 miles round trip) business trip.  I can drive 103 miles at 55 MPH in 1.87 hours.  Then, I have to arrive at a charging station, if I can find one, or call a tow truck.  I wait five hours at the charging station (yeah, right, like public charging stations will allow this), then drive the remaining 97 miles in 1.76 hours.  If I can't find a charging station, then I am forced to terminate my trip.  If all goes well, I travel 200 miles in 8.63 hours, for an average speed of 23 MPH.


Now, let's consider the same trip in my gas-fueled car, which has a range of 334 miles on the highway.  I drive the 200 miles in 3.63 hours for an average speed of 55 MPH.  On the way back, I will have to stop at a gas station and spend an insignificant five minutes refueling.  Gas stations are everywhere, and the owners don't mind me spending five minutes on their property.


So my gas-fueled car got me to my destination 2.4 times faster than the EV.  That is a substantial speed advantage.


Rather than calling a tow truck if I can't find a charging station, I could tow a diesel generator to recharge my EV.  What?  You say diesel exhaust pollutes?  Well, how do you thing the electrical energy you use for charging is generated?  Yes, that's right; it is probably generated using fossil fuels.


Our battery technology and infrastructure are not ready for EVs yet.  Right now, EVs are much more useful than scooters or golf carts.  You still need a real car.


Has anyone seen information on battery efficiency?  If I charge 100 kWh into a battery, how many kWh will the battery give me back?  No, you silly EV people, the answer is not "100 kWh."

J. Williams
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Re: Is range anxiety real?
J. Williams   8/5/2013 10:35:53 AM
The real problem isn't range anxiety, it's budget anxiety.  Why buy an over-priced golf cart that in reality will satisfy 95% of most peoples' needs if you have to buy (or rent) a second car for that 5% of the driving?  However, for some people who are road warriors, an EV doesn't even get them through the first half of the morning.

It's interesting that EV engineers are so convinced, they don't 'listen' to the consumer.  That sort of attitude will be a death knell to the industry. 

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Insurance and regulation more than any real fear
kodaiflow   8/5/2013 10:47:28 AM
I believe there is more of a anxiety of potential "range anxietyr".  No car exec wants to stick out his neck on a technology that could be rejected.  The dealer networks amplify this effect because they have to by the rigs up-front and hope someone buys them.  The car companies often are blamed for lack of vision, but their consumer feed-back is filtered by the very risk adverse marketing structure.  Because of some historical trend, the established dealers in the mid-west seem to get their voices heard more than dealers in the larger markets.

I do think that the range anxiety will actually play in the favor of electric vehicles.  People experienced with battery operated tools will know that electric vehicle won't strand you on the freeway like an ICE.  You may look a little silly limping to the exit at 30MPH but that is better than walking that mile with a gas can. 

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Very real!
fire-iron.biz   8/5/2013 10:54:19 AM
I'm in full agreement with the other folks concerns about both range and refuling.  Personally the majority of my commuting is >40 miles round-trip but round-trip to my doctor is 105 miles and 120 miles to my wife's doctor with no charging stations anywhere so what's the point of licensing, insuring and maintaining a second vehicle costing a great many times more to purchase than our old caravan that is essentially nothing more than a glorified golf cart?

Hybrid you say?  Let's see, between trips to the doctor the gasoline will rot in the tank so when it is needed it won't work anyway.  Oh, yes ... wonderful politicians sticking their fingers into everything so the mandated ethanol laced gasoline gets waterlogged from our southern humidity; after a few days in the vehicle tank it's already highly corrosive and within 20 days that same crap-o-line that started our 10% less efficient is >20% less efficient.  Two of my clients purchased hybrids, both have spent more time in the repair shop for fuel problems than they have on the road.  EV's owned by the local power company can only be parked in the shade otherwise excessive heat from the Florida sun shortens battery life to barely 30%

50+ mpg diesels are in-use in Europe but banned in the USA because of the nonsense EPA reg's and it's the same bureaucrat problem that afflicts production of the highly efficient opposing piston engines.

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