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The mileage of electric cars has doubled in 10 years

Electric cars travel longer and longer distances on a single charge of the battery
(photo: CC0 Public Domain)

Statistics from the US environmental agency EPA show that the maximum mileage of electric vehicles sold in the US market has doubled in ten years – between 2012 and 2022, and the average mileage has grown by about three times.

As an upper limit in the analysis, the passport indicators of the Lucid Air sedan were taken, which offers a range without recharging at a distance of up to 832 km according to the EPA cycle, specifies in a publication of the study Wollostreet Journal.

But the experience of electric car drivers indicates that the real power reserve can differ significantly from the declared one, since manufacturers usually focus on generally accepted industrial cycles, where driving conditions are not always achievable in practice.

In the case of the Lucid Air Grand Touring sedan, which was tested by the Wall Street Journal, trips in and out of the city can drain the traction battery in 629 km, according to the trip computer, which is significantly less than the mileage indicated in the passport specifications of the car.

It should also be borne in mind that smooth movement at high speeds rather quickly depletes the charge of the traction battery. For example, about 12.5% ​​must be subtracted from the EPA estimate to determine highway driving mileage at 120 km/h.

With impressive acceleration dynamics, electric cars usually do not like prolonged high-speed driving, and this is important to consider when planning long trips. In the case of the Lucid Air sedan, tests show that when driving on a highway at 120 km/h, the car will be able to travel about 656 km on a single charge. For many drivers, such mileage is quite enough for comfortable driving on the highway.

The efficiency of electric cars is greatly affected by the rims and tires. For example, going from standard 19″ wheels to 21″ reduces mileage by about 10%. The electric motor and other components also determine how efficiently the battery charge will be used.

Switching to a higher on-board voltage usually improves mileage and allows faster charging at express charging stations. In the case of Lucid Air, the voltage used by the power system reaches 924 V. At the same time, the car can be charged for a range of up to 480 km in about 20 minutes when connected to an express charging station.

But express charging stations are still not very common even in North America. In comparison, from a “slow” station, the traction battery is fully charged in 12 or even 18 hours, depending on the conditions.

Mass characteristics and aerodynamics also affect the ability of electric vehicles to cover the maximum distance on a single charge of the battery, so manufacturers seriously optimize the corresponding characteristics. It is true that in some cases this happens to the detriment of acoustic comfort in the cabin, as they save on sound insulation.

Many car manufacturers are betting on a breakthrough in the chemical composition of traction batteries, which will increase their capacity and at the same time make them lighter, but visible progress in this area should not be expected before the second half of the decade.

At the same time, improvements in the efficiency of electric vehicles are also being achieved by other measures, as is evident from the doubling of range in the previous ten years.

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