Are range claims on EVs mere estimates? The looming controversy in auto world
Electric vehicles are making their presence felt on roads across the world wit more and more buyers ditching conventional cars for one that is entirely battery powered. And one key factor that is on top of the priority list is how far will their EV travel without the need to be plugged in to a socket for a charge. Little wonder then that car companies and battery makers are constantly working on improving range figures in a bid to woo and wow potential customers. But while massive improvements may have indeed been made to make EVs more capable in terms of drive distance possible, are the figures claimed always on point?
There have been several instances when range figures highlighted by EV makers have been brought into question. At times, even certified figures are put under the scanner of doubt. Take the latest instance of Tesla. An independent study in the US by Edmunds has shown that Tesla EVs don't reach the range figures as per EPA estimates. The EPA estimated range of a 2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance is 500 kms but the Edmunds test showed a real-world range of around 410 kms. There were similar differences in the 2020 Tesla Model S Performance, 2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, 2020 Tesla Model X Long Range and 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance, albeit with smaller differences in figures.
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Closer home, Tata Motors got a notice from Delhi Transport department after a Nexon EV owner claimed the vehicle wasn't returning 312 kms per charge as the company mentions. He has alleged that the EV has never had a range of more than 200 kms despite following all of the advises given by the dealer. (Full report here)
The range of an EV is massively dependent on two primary factors - the energy capacity of the EV and its efficiency. The second part, in turn, is massively affected by a long list of external factors such as speed, elevation, temperature and driving habits.
Much like petrol or diesel vehicles, there is no certainty that an EV will reach its full potential range every single drive or at the hands of every single driver. Most automotive experts agree that the range claimed by OEMs or those certified are indicative at best and can and will vary from location to location, car to car and driver to drive