By Al Lococo
May 29, 2014
Electric Car Range And Charge Time
The reason that electric car range and charge time are an issue for the average driver is because they understand and value the attributes in gas car terms. For these drivers filling their tank is done as an inconvenient stop on their way to some place else. It must be done while they wait. Whatever time it takes to get to the gas station and the time it takes to fill up and complete the transaction is a delay on their way to do something important. For these reasons, in daily driving, refueling must be as fast as possible and as infrequent as possible.
It is the duration of fill-ups and the frequency of fill-ups that generate the range requirement. If in daily driving, a gas car had to be filled every day because the tank held only 3 or 4 gallons, the time and inconvenience of fueling would be unacceptable.
If you think about it, most cars sit idle about 10 to 20 times as much as they are driving. In a 24 hour day a car is parked more than 20 hours and more than half of that time is at home where the driver sleeps.
An electric car takes the driver out of the refueling delay time. The car is refueled at the intended destination, not at some diversion along the way. The car is charged while the driver sleeps, not while the driver watches and waits.
If you are used to watching your car fill while you wait and someone tells you, that time will go from 10 minutes to 2 or 3 or 4 hours or more, the knee jerk reaction is that this is unacceptable. But no one who drives an electric car goes out of their way to a place like a gas station and waits for their electric car to charge before they can go home.
Electric car drivers quickly come to appreciate never having to stop at a gas station. They enjoy not having to pay attention the price of gas or which station has the lowest price. They don’t need 300 or 400 mile range so they only need to fill their tank once every week or two. With 80 mile range at the start of each day, they don’t need excessive range.
When refueling is an inconvenience, the frequency of and time to refuel are critical. When refueling is convenient because it is done at a location where you want to be while you are otherwise occupied, everything changes. Suddenly you don’t care how often it is done or how long it takes as long as it is ready when you need it. This is not an easy concept to grasp if you are used to watching your car refuel while you wait.
Imagine if you had to shower at a gas station. Owning an electric car is like not being able to shower at a gas station but being forced into showering at home. Owning a gas car is like having to shower at a gas station and not being allowed to shower at home. Whether it is showering or filling your car, it is more convenient to do it at home than at a gas station. The electric car takes the gas station out of your life.
Occasional Longer Trips
Some will say the problem is not routine daily driving. The source of the requirement for fast charge time and long range is long trips. That is the root of the requirement, not daily driving. If trips are all that you’re concerned about, you are half way there. If you agree that daily driving does not require fast charge times or long range, an electric car might be in your future.
Longer trips in an electric car are possible if you stop and charge along the way. It is true that this can be inconvenient if you insist on watching you car charge while you wait. But if you use fast level 3 charging and you are otherwise occupied while this is going on, it will be just a personal convenience stop. This type of travel on trips of 150 miles will be acceptable to some while ushers will find it unacceptable.
Long trips can be done in a plug in hybrid like the Volt using electricity for most daily driving and gas for longer trips. For others a second gas car can be used and for others public transport such as a rental car, plane or train will fill the bill.
Why deny yourself the benefits of an electric car when it can be used for inter city travel in many cases with a stop along the way, and there are other alternatives like the Volt and public transportation.