When I tell people I own an electric car, the most common questions are:
- The range of the car
- Time to fully charge the battery
There are a few others, but I will tackle theses items first …
How long does it take to fully charge the battery
- First – electric cars are different from gas cars – in a gas car, you fill the tank, consume the tank, fill the tank – typically filling with 1/4 tank remaining – that’s not how I (nor others that I know) manage their electric cars
- I always plug my car in when I get home – so I am only “filling” the portion of my battery for that day’s mileage – typically 10-80 miles/day. A typical 240v charger will charge at roughly 25 miles/hour – so the battery is replenished at the end of the day in ½ to 3 hours – basically while I’m eating dinner
- There are extremes – my car has a 310 mile range, in the rare situation I would fully deplete the battery (I have never done this), and charge it back to 310 miles (I rarely charge beyond 80%, I’ll explain this in another blog) – with the 240v charger it will take ~12 hours to charge – still doable in those rare situations
What’s the range of the car?
- The Tesla Model 3 (Long Range) can go 310 miles on a full charge (Chevy Bolt is ~240 miles) – but really, the effective range is less, no different than a gas car – no one ever (purposefully) drives a gas car until the tank is fully empty – you wouldn’t plan to wait to charge after 310 miles with the Tesla Model 3!!!
- Range is affected by a number of factors (some of these affect a gas cars range as well): driving style, outside temperature, use of A/C or heating – overall, the range can exceed 310 miles (there is a person who achieved over 500 miles on a charge), and can be less (I’ll write a separate post on expected range changes based on the above factors)
- Keep in mind, the concept of “range anxiety” really is no longer an issue (in my opinion) for the latest electric cars with over 200 miles of range – how often do you drive 200 miles in a single day (unless your going on a trip)?
What about range and long trips?
- This really depends on the car – the Nissan Leaf I had, which on a good day might have an 80 mile range was simply not practical for long distance travel (current Leafs have 150 mile range)
- Latest electric cars with a range of 200-300 miles can be awesome for road trips – I took my first road trip of ~900 miles with my Tesla, and it was completely awesome – I went 250+ miles before my first stop, and then would typically stop again every 150-200 miles. The fast chargers would take 15-30 minutes to charge – I purposely planned the trip and stops for meal times (when possible)
Won’t it be super expensive to replace the battery?
- When I hear this question, there seems to be an implication that a car should last forever – why should a Electric Car last forever? How many gas cars have you owned for more than 100k miles, or maybe 200k miles?
- So for this one, I need to highlight the battery technology of Tesla is definitely the best (and I can say there are many critics of Nissan’s battery tech, myself included) – this was a big reason I bought a Tesla – typical battery degradation being reported for Tesla’s at 100k miles is in the range of 5-10% – definitely (in my opinion) not a big deal – and there are Tesla’s with over 200k miles (just google it)
Cost of the car
- There are now many electric car options at different price points available – to me, the most exciting will be the $35k Tesla Model 3 (not yet available) – but I expect will be available sometime later this year
- Here’s a good list of Electric Cars available (in the US): https://cleantechnica.com/2018/01/07/electric-vehicles-for-sale-usa/, there are multiple options available for under $30k
- You can get a great deal on a used electric car (I will write a separate blog on things to consider before buying a used electric car)
- Keep in mind the various cost savings/and other benefits (see my post http://www.hot-rod.co/hotrod/why-buy-an-electric-car-its-way-more-than-gas-savings) – as it’s not apples to apples when comparing an electric car cost to a gas car
Available car options
- The simple answer is that the options are still limited – particularly for SUVs. The Tesla Model X SUV is one of the most awesome cars, but it simply is not affordable for most people – the Tesla Model Y SUV should be available in 2020, and others will come as well
- For a traditional sedan – the Tesla Model 3 is awesome (and there are other options, see link above), and for subcompacts, there are many options
Will Tesla be around?
- This one largely applies to Tesla
- Some key facts:
- Tesla has now had 2 quarters of profitability, and is producing cash – so they are currently self-sustaining, and need to outside investments to keep the company going
- The Tesla Model 3 has achievements that are unheard of for a new car, in its first full year of production:
- Best selling entry level luxury car in the US
- Best selling car (of any kind) in the US (based on sales, not units)
- Ranked #1 most satisfying car by Consumer Reports (of any car!!!)
- Tesla is being fawned over by the Chinese government – the largest market for electric cars (a new factory is already underway, and will start production this year)
The above are the big ones I’ve heard – do you have concerns with owning an electric car that I did not mention above (or comments about the ones I did mention)?