City-Data Forum How much battery life would you need? (luxury car, vehicle, German)
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 View Poll Results: How much range do you need? I would not consider an electric vehicle 12 44.44% I need 1,000 miles because I can't wait for a charge. 1 3.70% 400 miles ( like a gasoline car ) 7 25.93% 200 miles 4 14.81% 100 miles 2 7.41% 50 miles 1 3.70% 25 miles 0 0% Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

07-09-2012, 06:26 PM
 Location: Albuquerque 5,559 posts, read 6,948,803 times Reputation: 2319
How much battery life would you need?

This poll assumes that an electric vehicle costs close enough to a gasoline model that payback times are under 2 years.
The fact that currently, electric vehicles are prohibitively expensive is not the topic.

I know that for some/many people, an electric vehicle isn't a possibility due to range.
The problem of recharge could be solved with battery packs that are simply swapped out.
However charging/swapping every 60-150 miles is simply unacceptable.

Assuming that the cost of an electric Accord or Impala or whatever is
within 10% of a gasoline model, what kind of range can you live with?

Here, in Albuquerque, I can drive across the whole town in 20 or so miles.
If I have a commute of 20 miles, I can recharge my car every night and live with a 50 mile range.

The auto makers are trying to put the highest range on their cars that is possible, but a car like
the BMW 1-series electric, has a battery that weighs 800 pounds and a range of 100-125 miles.

Suppose it had a 400-lb battery. The range would not be half --- it would be more
due to the fact that it doesn't have to carry around all that weight. --- Maybe 75 miles?

What if I only needed 40 miles - like the Volt? I'd almost never use the gasoline motor - unless I was driving to Santa Fe.

The Tesla sedan has three options: (1) 160 (2) 230 and (3) 300 mi. This is a luxury car, so I could not see a <100 mi range selling well,
but for a Leaf or a Fit ( 80 to 120 mi ), dumping that heavy battery would help acceleration and handling while lowering the cost.

I could see some city-dwellers only needing 20 miles.
For them, it would be more convenient to have something that is charged - rather than filled up.
Lots of downtown areas are pretty light on gas stations.

For cost issues, the lower-range car also might be able to get by with much less expensive batteries.

I set up this poll to see what people could live with for a commuter, grocery-getter, etc.
I think the emphasis on trying to get a huge 3-digit range is misguided, but this poll might give me a better clue.
If I needed to drive to Phoenix or Dallas, I would just rent a car.

Last edited by mortimer; 07-09-2012 at 06:44 PM..

07-09-2012, 06:59 PM
 1,108 posts, read 1,052,376 times Reputation: 757
I would love to have an electric car.

I won't consider one until the energy store can be replenished in a reasonable time frame (5-10 min). What happens if a hotel doesn't have charging capabilities? Or I decide to sleep in my car? As it is, I can't even charge the battery at my apartment.

The mileage itself isn't too important, although for convenience, I'd like at least a 100 mile range (actual range, not potential range with all accessories off; driving 45mph down the freeway; with the sun coming from the East; and during a neap tide, range).

07-09-2012, 08:52 PM
 Location: Dallas, TX 4,332 posts, read 3,030,432 times Reputation: 2501
Unless it has the same range as a regular vehicle and offer other appealing features in addition to that, I don't see why I would make the change. The torque of an electric engine would easily provide that appealing feature though, but it would have to be as versatile as a fossil fuel car and just as fast.

07-09-2012, 08:57 PM
 2,737 posts, read 656,146 times Reputation: 1785
I'd have to have a range of at least 200 miles, at highways speeds.

And that ain't gonna happen - at least not any time soon.

07-09-2012, 09:03 PM
 Location: Sacramento 3,781 posts, read 1,477,373 times Reputation: 2366
A 200 mile range would be sufficient, that's about the round-trip range I cover for my work territory. With sufficient charging infrastructure and rapid chargers, a 120 mile range would suffice. Even if I couldn't charge at my endpoint, I could stop for dinner and charge then.

07-09-2012, 09:14 PM
 Location: Texas 196 posts, read 77,319 times Reputation: 392
I would not consider an electric vehicle at all because eventually the batteries would go bad. I could potentially park my truck for years and all I might need to replace are some rotten rubber lines but once I did that and added gasoline and changed the fluids I would be set to go.

07-09-2012, 10:21 PM
 Location: Sacramento 3,781 posts, read 1,477,373 times Reputation: 2366
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Big George I'd have to have a range of at least 200 miles, at highways speeds. And that ain't gonna happen - at least not any time soon.
Tesla Model S has up to a 300 mile range, the Roadster seems to be getting about 2/3 of the claimed range in real world driving meaning AC/heater in use, driving more aggressive than you would were you trying to eek out the last ten miles. At a price of \$70k (\$85k for the performance model), it's in the ball-park of \$15-20k more than the German mid-levels. Knock \$10k or 20k off for the smaller batteries if the range isn't critical and voila, comparably priced. I've seen it and it looks pretty stunning in person. How it pulls of the luxury interior, ride, and such remains to be seen. On paper, the base model with small battery will handily outrun the V6 competitors, in the real world with instant torque off the line advantage definitely goes to the Tesla in acceleration. Even with the extra weight of the batter larger battery pack it'll be at least as quick as the V6 Germans. The performance model at \$85k is dangerously close to M5/E63 territory, however. Never say never, but for the coin my money would be on a CTS-V wagon. Not quite as good looking, but I can't imagine the Tesla is the better all around car for someone would actually likes driving. The money saved will pay for plenty of gas.

07-09-2012, 10:34 PM
 2,737 posts, read 656,146 times Reputation: 1785
One of the things I think a lot of "greenies" are wrong about, is the idea that these electric cars get recharged for free. But that's no more true than thinking that I'm saving on my heat bill by just plugging in a few electric space heaters.

The energy has to be paid for somehow.

The bottom line is that we have a long way to go. I'm glad there are some people who can afford to pay exorbitant prices for mediocre technology now, because that may spark further R&D, and we may actually get a truly usable electric car some day.

07-09-2012, 10:53 PM
 Location: Albuquerque 5,559 posts, read 6,948,803 times Reputation: 2319
Quote:
 Originally Posted by lookitsaustin ... eventually the batteries would go bad. ....
I think this is why some sort of standardized battery than can be quickly swapped out is going to be necessary some day.

You won't own the battery, you will rent it - and the contained charge - and drive on it. I don't know what this
will do to the cost structure. Right now, it is about \$3 to get the same range that you get from \$50 in gasoline.
When you don't own the battery, it might be quite a bit more expensive to get your driving range paid for.
( Then again, you don't own the oil well or refinery and gasoline is cheap. )

Still, a fast swap of batteries that has to take place every 100 or 200 miles isn't going to cut it for competition with gasoline.

Gasoline is the most compact form of energy known on the planet.(*) It is why we don't use batteries for
powering airplanes. ( Note that I am using "gasoline" here as a generic term for any petroleum product
like av-gas, diesel, kerosene, etc. ) Stuff like ethanol and methanol and any battery simply don't compare.

(*) Don't start in with nuclear power here. You can't pour it in a tank and go ...

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Big George One of the things I think a lot of "greenies" are wrong about, is the idea that these electric cars get recharged for free.
The cost-per-mile of driving with electricity is extremely cheap.

What the "greenies" are actually wrong about is the depreciation of the battery. It's part of the cost-per-mile.

Last edited by mortimer; 07-09-2012 at 11:03 PM..

07-10-2012, 07:40 AM
 Location: Victoria TX 32,662 posts, read 22,987,861 times Reputation: 21150
Electric vehicles will never be suitable for my needs. I don't need a car for local daily commuting. I need something I can get into on the spur of the moment and take a road trip in the thousands of miles, that can be fully recharged in the few minutes that it takes to fill a tank with gasoline, within a few miles of wherever I happen to be.

A car that needs to be recharged for 8 hours for every 8 hours of driving would, for me, be the world's most expensive paper-weight. If I'm sleeping in my car or camping out next to it, when and where do I charge it?

Last edited by jtur88; 07-10-2012 at 07:51 AM..
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