Can electric cars drive far enough to be practical?


Range can be a very emotive topic, and is frequently used by non-EVdrivers as being an insurmountable problem that prevents them considering buying an EV.

The first Nissan Leafs have a range of 90-130 kilometers, depending on age, and all manufacturers are pushing to get affordable cars with a range between 250 and 300 kilometers.  Again the cost of the EV bears a direct relationship with the range of the battery.  A Tesla Model S with a 90 kWh battery has a range of around 400 km.

In NZ very few drivers travel this far on a daily basis; in fact the average daily drive is about 30km, and only a very small percentage drive over 100 km/day. So as a second car in a family, an EV run-around makes so much sense! Anecdotally when a family gets an EV as a second car, it quickly becomes the main town car, and the 'bigger, petrol' car becomes the out-of-town holiday driving car!

For the infrequent occasions when a long-distance drive is needed, and time is so critical that stopping to charge en route is not considered, then that long distance drive can be done with a second car that is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), by access to vehicles in car-share services, or by renting or borrowing another vehicle.

In NZ the charging network is now well established - see the Smartphone App PLUGSHARE - and any journey can be planned to include charging when natural breaks for food or toilets are required.

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