The range issue is way, way overblown. It's a real concern for people, but only because people don't yet generally understand electric cars. I put the blame for that entirely on the electric car manufacturers. They still don't know how to sell 'em and even hesitate to do so.talindsay wrote:Electric cars have all the same issues but they *add* the severe range issue, and the mitigating factor right now is the (currently debatable) premise that they're somehow better for the environment. I suppose there's also the techie cool factor, and there's also the killer line speed, though most consumers won't be swayed by either of those.
I think a reliable range of ~300 miles before a long-wait charge is necessary is probably about the minimum before mainstream acceptance in the midwest US. On the coasts, where a larger proportion of the population travels shorter distances regularly, that's probably less important, but the midwest has very little infrastructure to help people get between mid-size cities.
It's important to distinguish short day-to-day driving from longer trips. The vast majority of miles driven by metro residents fall into the former category. If everyone in every Midwestern metro city drove an electric car for those trips it would be a game-changer for clean air, domestic security and international trade.
After five months owning a 2016 LEAF (107 EPA mile range) I will not go back. Range has not been an issue at all. When we need to travel longer distances we jump in the gas car. No biggie. One day I was putzing around St. Paul and then the toddler fell asleep so I took a road trip west. Got almost to Waconia before the charge went below 50% and I turned back to be safe. I arrived home with 30% charge. I could have gone a lot further. I could have gone even further if I'd really concentrated on saving energy (keep below 50 mph, etc.).
When we bought the car I assumed we'd have to get an L2 charger fairly quickly. We still don't have one. Haven't needed it at all. The car almost always is at 100% charge in the morning even on a 110 line. The rare days it's not (because we drove it a lot the previous day), we haven't needed the full range. Honestly, we rarely dip below 50% charge on a given day.
I'm not sure what we'll do when the battery degrades enough to care. Maybe we'll just buy a new car. The statement in the article about needing replacement after 300 charges is completely bogus. That would mean yearly replacement. Most LEAF owners expect to need replacement in 5-7 years. Since we don't need the full range very often, we may very well be able to stretch that to 10 years. That's another advantage of longer range. Even if it doesn't cover all your trips, it can extend the practical useful life of the battery. All the savings on maintenance of other parts (the maintenance manual is: rotate tires; rotate tires; lube chassis & rotate tires; rotate tires...) may very well be enough to cover a new battery. I see it as a wash, financially.
The electric car is absolutely practical for all kinds of people *today.*
As for the environment, we have WindSource from Xcel so the car is essentially wind-powered. Once we win the Made in MN lottery, we'll be installing solar and the car will be sun-powered (yes, the solar array will cover the electric needs of the car over a year).
As a LEAF owner I'm sure I'm "optimism biased" but I'm relating real experience. The electric car is not for everyone but I'll say it is right for at least 80% of metro populations, for 95% of their trips.