Posting in Energy
The day when you can take a road trip in your EV may be closer than you think.
While many electric vehicles owners find them to be reliable commuter cars, most EV ranges make road trips a near impossibility (unless you were to plan a trip on a route known to have charging stations). So the folks at Motor Trend's Wide Open Throttle decided to put Tesla's new all-electric Model S to the test. Could the EV sustain the 212-mile trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a single charge?
Jessi Lang and Frank Markus borrowed Tesla founder Elon Musk's very own 85 kWh Model S for the trip. Granted, they took some energy-saving precautions: they kept the air conditioning off, and while making their way up to the Cajon Pass, drove as slowly as they were legally permitted to. And while most drivers might not have given up the A/C on a hot day in the California desert, the pair made it to Las Vegas - with 64 miles of potential range left in the battery.
While the Tesla Model S boasts battery power far greater than the current industry standard, the experiment demonstrates that EVs can be used for road trips. And, as battery ranges increase and highway charging infrastructure improves throughout the country, the day when people can use their EVs for longer journeys might not be as far in the future as we think.
Watch the video of the road trip:
Photo: YouTube screen capture
Sep 10, 2012
Make it so it can drive from New York to L.A. on a single charge and you MIGHT have something. Two Hundred miles is useless. Even up it to 600 miles on a single charge and that will be good.
I recall reading some seven years ago that the T-Zero from AC Propulsion made that same trip with even more battery left. (I believe as much as 350 miles per charge had been achieved by the ACP team.) But, the T-Zero was not available as a production car like the Tesla Model S, nor as big and heavy. So while not a lot of progress has been made, at least things are improving. Encouraging.
This is the best EV offered to date because it has the best battery, and it looks se-er-great!! I Would certainly purchase one if the cost were $50K and it could be charged from my RV generator in a reasonable time using the regen capability of the car while towing as a help. If I could get 250-300 mile car range from 4 hours of 130 volt 50 amp charge plus whatever 50 mph average regen help and I would be in EV heaven.
Improved range is one of the two keys required for EVs to become common place. The Tesla S model is a big step in the right direction. If you look at the purchase cost broken down as cost per mile of range the Tesla S model is a bargain per mile of range compared to the much lauded Chevy Volt. The other key aspect EV manufacturers need to improve is the overall affordability to purchase an EV. EVs need to become as cheap to purchase as conventional powered vehicles. The decade plus I expect is required for that to happen should be just enough time for the national power grid to upgrade to handle large numbers of at home EV charging stations.
Before these electric vehicles are going to be well accepted, we have to come up with a battery that can hold enough charge to act like a full tank of gas and so that the a/c is not a concern.. Said battery has to be able to be recharged in an hour, and be able to benefit from small incremental charges, for example if the charge is low and someone just needs to get home or 10 miles to a hotel where they can charge it fully.
Clearly, more range is better. But that does not mean that 200 miles is useless. Less useful than 600 miles, but it does have some value to some people. A car with 100 miles range is useful only within the community where owner lives. But 200 miles of range opens up the possibility of commuting between the suburbs and the city. And that will be useful to a lot more people.
EVs have other advantages - better reliability, less maintenance, low fuel cost, quiet, instant torque from a standstill. People may put up with some inconvenience in return for those. There may have already been batteries developed good enough to gain wide acceptance - car makers won't use new types until they've undergone several years of testing to establish reliability and durability. There are some now undergoing that testing that are considerably better than those in use today.
It seems to me that this test demonstrates that we're fairly near to reaching that point. My own expectation is that within 15 years we'll be able to go 800 miles per charge at normal speeds with the air conditioner in use. At that point, we'll look back at the "good old days" when we had to buy gasoline once a week for every vehicle in the garage and think "how quaint!"