Electric car sales are accelerating in Europe, led by the well-off who buy pricey Teslas and Audis. But as “cheaper” versions hit the market, consumers are in for a shock because the latest products are really city-cars and are hopeless on the highway.
Some experts say this should persuade car manufacturers to produce a cheap and cheerful electric runabout – call it a golf cart with windows – to spur electric acceptance. Others say no way to that, electric cars are in their infancy and by, say, 2025 will be competitive on price and range and why not add gasoline “range extenders” to electric cars now with poor long-range performance.
Meanwhile manufacturers are heading down the wrong track, trying to replicate all the attributes of an internal combustion engine vehicle. This works well at the expensive end of the market because the high cost of batteries can be easily absorbed. But “cheaper” electric cars – and in Europe we’re talking average prices of around $40,000 after tax – buyers will find they’ve bought a fantastic rural and urban car, but the battery is not able to deliver acceptable long-range performance on the highway.
This means long journeys which would take say, 5 hours in an ICE vehicle, would take twice as long in a “cheaper” electric car which can only run for about 80 to 100 miles at high speed before exhausting itself. The added time is accounted for by up to an hour for recharging up to 80% of capacity, always assuming charger availability, charger functionality, or consumer payment compatibility. An ICE car or SUV would need only one, 10-minute stop for gas, if that.