Range Confidence: Charge Fast, Drive Far, with your Electric Car

By David Herron

Typical daily driving needs, on electricity

What's the most common trip you take? For most it's the daily commute to their job. For others it might be driving around town, shuttling kids from place to place, doing shopping, running errands, etc. The majority of this is around-town driving.

It's estimated the typical person drives 40 miles or less per day. That job might be 10 or so miles away, meaning a 20 mile round trip. Add in a couple stops along the way, picking up or dropping off dry cleaning, or grocery shopping, and it might increase to 30 miles.

Each person has their own needs, which is why step one of the range confidence process had you map out your frequent trips. When we say the average is less than 40 miles per day driving, that's adding together together everyone's daily commute. Your daily commute might be over 100 miles each way, and while we may shake our heads in disbelief this is true for some people. Others have a 1 mile or less daily commute, and barely need a car. You have to judge your own needs, and choose accordingly.

How much range is required for your daily commute?

For the majority of us the 80ish mile range electric cars can easily handle daily driving needs. Given that the typical pattern is - Monday-Friday we drive the daily commute, and on Saturday-Sunday we might take a long trip, the electric car can easily handle 5/7ths of our driving. (71%) If your Saturday/Sunday driving is usually close to town, most weekend driving could be done on electricity. Even with an 80ish mile range electric car. It seems a typical person could handle 90% of their driving with an 80 mile range BEV.

How often do you take a truly long trip?

The idea that our car absolutely NEEDS 300+ mile range and a 5 minute recharge is based on the tradition of taking long road trips. When travelling across country we certainly do require a long range per charge and a fast recharge. How often does the typical person take such a trip? Once a year? Twice?

The point to this is to estimate what percentage of your driving needs fit within the capability of an 80ish mile range electric car. Shortly enough affordable 200+ mile range electric cars will be available. This whole conversation will change, because we'll be looking at a 200 mile limit rather than 80 mile limit.

Finally, this "limit" isn't really a limit, because you can always stop at a charging station to extend your range. The 80ish mile range EV can easily cover a 200+ mile day by stopping for fast charging along the way. And the 200 mile range EV can easily cover 500 miles a day the same way.

Range Confidence is Copyright © 2016-17 by David Herron

Typical daily driving needs, on electricity

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