At the top of most drivers’ minds is EV charger range: how far can a charge from an electric vehicle charger enable my electric car to travel. We give you 7 factors to take into account how far an EV charger will take you in a single charge.
How far can EVs go on a single charge?
In reality most EV users will want to talk about charge time for the number of kilometres that they need to travel. However, EV charger range is not as simple as that. It is impossible to declare that the EV charger range after 10 minutes will be 10km.
One of the pioneer electric cars, the Nissan LEAF, had a maximum range of about 175 km. Today you can get a Nissan LEAF with a range of 460 km. Many other fairly affordable vehicles can reach up to 500 km on a single charge.
The reason for this is that batteries increased in capacity and decreased in price. Batteries are the most expensive component when making an EV and their price has fallen dramatically recently. The expectation is that battery capacity will increase in the future.
The model of vehicle itself means it is impossible to generalise about range. Each vehicle will have its own specifications.
What other factors affect the EV charger range?
The faster you drive the quicker the battery of the EV drains. So, driving at 100km/h will use more charge than driving the same distance at 60km/h.
The more aggressively you accelerate, the more charge you draw from the battery.
Colder weather means faster battery draining. Batteries are fickle about temperature. A cold battery will supply less power.
How far a charge will get you depends on the weight of the vehicle and its load. If you have yourself and several passengers, each weighing somewhere between 60 and 100kg, that’s a substantial addition to the vehicle weight. If there’s a boot full of luggage, that could be another 100kg or more. A Nissan LEAF weighs 1,594 to 1,736 kg. That is its tare weight as the freight industry would say. With a full load, the gross weight could be over 2000kg! That’s 2 tonnes.
Topography and traffic conditions
Range also depends on where you are driving. Are you in stop-start city traffic or or cruising down the highway? Is the topography hilly or flat?
AC vs DC chargers
A DC charger’s range increase depends on the battery rating. AC chargers depend on the vehicle charger ability to charge the battery. Most can’t take more than 11kW. It’s easier to determine the distance per charge based on the 7kW or 22kW rate of the AC charger. That internal charger effectively acts as a throttle on the flow of power, right? So really it’s impossible to guarantee a number of km you’re going to get from a charger. The individual owner would know how many kWh they have and how far it’s likely to get them.
A 120kW charger would fully charge a 60kWh battery, such as Tesla provides in its base Model 3, from zero in 30 minutes. As most chargers are dual pedestals, a 120kW charger would supply a split of 60kW if two vehicles are hooked up to it.
Powered features and accessories
When you use climate control or other powered features, this affects your range. Even day vs night, hot vs cold would have an impact. Driving alone on a 20 degree day is going to get more kilometres than at night with headlights and stereo blazing with 3 passengers, a full boot, and the A/C going full blast because it’s hot and humid.
To bring these factors to life, Renault has a handy tool for its ZOE e-Tech Electric where you can input driving conditions and see the battery capacity change.
What is DTE?
DTE stands for Driving to Empty and is a moving prediction of how far you can drive with the remaining charge of an EV’s battery. Simply put, it’s how far you can go until the depletion of your battery.
As the shown range takes into account current factors, it’s an estimate to predict performance. This number takes into account how long you have already driven on a single charge, the current charge, and driving conditions.
For drivers, this knowledge is critical as there is no second chances with EVs. As soon as that number reaches zero, you’re done and the road service must tow the EV to a place where charging can occur. Unlike ICE cars, roadside assistance can’t give you a some fuel to get you to a service station. Maybe at some time in the future roadside assistance will carry a charger that will give you enough of a boost to get somewhere. Note that draining the battery is not good for it, either.
Many electric vehicles give you plenty of warning that you’ll run out of charge. For example, the Nissan Leaf, has a Turtle Mode. It starts crawling at 50km/h for just over a kilometer. This gives enough time to reach a place to charge or at least park safely and get help.
However, as DTE is based on current conditions, it shouldn’t be taken as gospel. A 100km will differ if you start driving in a different manner or turn your heater and headlights or other accessories on. If the DTE indicates that you’re heading towards empty, try to maintain an energy-efficient driving style.
Do EV batteries lose range over time?
Currently, most EV batteries will last up to 20 years. EV batteries don’t simply stop working. Instead, they slowly degrade. Therefore, it’s unlikely that you need a replacement battery in the middle of a road trip.
Typically you’ll see battery capacity decreasing only slightly over the years. That loss averages out at 2.3% each year. For example, if you buy an EV today with a 500 km range, in five years the battery will have lost over 50 km of range.
To put consumers’ reservations to rest, many manufacturers give a warranty on their battery which is usually between five and ten years or 100,000 km. If you want to know how to increase the lifespan of your EV’s battery then see this blog on EV battery longevity.
Contact us today to find out what your EV charger needs might be. Once that is done, we can provide you with some estimates as to what it might cost to install an electric vehicle charger. And of course, talk about EV charger range.