JD Power survey finds electric range must triple before EVs are viable

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A JD Power and Associates survey found people would need an electric car to have at least 219 mile electric range to consider buying one. Photo Credit: Raul/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

A survey by JD Power and Associates recently found not only is range anxiety keeping people from buying electric cars, but also what range is necessary before they’d consider it. The survey found that electric range has to be at least 219 miles before they’d think about buying one.

Survey also finds people way overestimate electric range

There are many reasons why a person might not buy an electric car, or to be precise, a battery electric vehicle, as batteries are what power vehicles like the Tesla Roadster, Tesla S, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf. It’s also part of the powertrains in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles like the Fisker Karma and Chevrolet Volt.

Technically, the Honda Clarity FCX, the hydrogen fuel cell car, is also an electric car. The power source is different.

However, one of the primary reasons many people wouldn’t consider it in a recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates, is that the electric range is insufficient, according to AutoGuide. However, interestingly enough, JD Power’s survey also found most people drastically overestimated the typical range of an EV, believing they are capable of 156 miles on a full charge, slightly more than double the Leaf’s 73-mile range.

Battery vehicles need at least 219 miles of range

The survey also found what electric range a battery electric vehicle would have to be capable of to entice more people to buy one. The range the survey found would be sufficient was 219 miles, about triple the range of any battery electric vehicle from a major car maker.

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Currently, the Tesla S is capable of that range. One can opt for several sizes of battery packs, which can offer up to 300 miles of range, but each adds thousands of dollars to the price; essentially, it’s out of reach economically for most people and aren’t widely available, so aside from toys for yuppies who want to be “green,” they aren’t good for much more than that.

Which brings up the second thing that, according to a post on JD Power’s blog, would keep people from buying a battery-electric vehicle. Namely, cost. A Nissan Leaf starts at $35,200, before the federal tax credit of $7,500. Getting a magic Nissan service to install a charging station is extra. That’s BMW money, which most people would rather spend on getting a BMW.

Fuel cells, hybrids make more sense

For now, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles make more sense. There are several about to hit the market, such as the Plug-in Prius and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which is coming out next year, according to AutoBlog. The electric range is less than battery electrics, but the on-board generator makes them practical enough for road trips as well as a fully electric commute.



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