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Most of us hear know the name Darryl Siry as former marketing and communications boss at Tesla. These days, Siry is a senior clean tech analyst at Peppercom in addition to doing communications consulting with various companies in the green field. We can only guess at the specifics of the advice he is giving his clients about how to get their message out. Hopefully, his words are in sync with what he has been writing publicly on his blog. Those who aren't paying Siry for advice might do well to read his latest post and take it to heart.
There are certainly those among EV advocates who dismiss the whole concept of range anxiety. The fact remains that for a great many potential EV drivers, the thought of being stranded by a dead battery is a real problem. While most internal combustion cars fall short of EPA mileage estimates, fuel gauges tend to be fairly accurate and consistent and refueling is quick, so getting stranded usually isn't an issue. This is not the case for EVs.

There is certainly no clear consensus about how to more realistically represent range numbers for EVs. One thing is clear though. If EV makers persist in publishing wildly optimistic range figures in order to benefit near term sales, they will subvert their own long term business survival. They need to find a way to give more realistic ranges that also reflect what the range will be at the end of life for the battery.

[Source: Darryl Siry]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Months Ago
      Did any one bother to read his blog.

      What he is saying is what we already know about the EPA figures for ICE vehicles today. Some people still get upset today when they buy a car and dont get the EPA mileage, yet the rest of us have been educated as to know what to expect from the EPA numbers, ie, its just an estimate!

      Regarding his addition of 3 * after any EV mileage figure, the same should probably apply to the current EPA figures.

      *1. This is only what we already know about the accuracy of EPA estimates for current ICE vehicles. ie. that your experience may be different. Drive like your on a race track, and you get much worse mileage. Drive like a hyper miler and your mileage will be better.

      *2. We will all need to learn some new language and meaning around what "fully charged" means.

      *3. Another aspect of EV range is that over the life of the pack it may degrade. How is this so different from getting better mileage from a brand new car ( ICE) and getting less mileage from the same car when its done 150K miles. Stuff wears out, and as it does we expect performance to degrade.

      • 6 Months Ago
      I agree with Mr. Siry, dishonesty regarding ranges will only hurt the industry.
      Though I think it also is a problem of educating people.

      Anyone with common sense is aware that actual mileage depends on how you drive, and that a 10-year old car with a few 100k km on the clock won't perform as well as a new one. Sadly many people lack common sense, but that really can't be helped, can it?
      As long as EV makers stick to their country's standard driving cycle (i.e. EPA, European cycle) for calculating the range, and put a big "range may vary" sticker on the windshield to be safe from sue-happy retards... I don't see a problem.

      In any case, research on ranges under different driving conditions will eventually be carried out and reported by the auto mags, just like for ICE powered cars. And just like with regular cars, that's where people -smart people- will turn to to find out wether a given EV is right for them.
      • 6 Months Ago
      Absolutely correct! Electric cars are not going to satisfy the majority of drivers, when the fact is range is nearly impossible to estimate due to the variables like speed, terrain and battery age. I am not going to buy a pure electric vehicle EVER. My family can't afford the risk of being stranded, the danger from all the heat they generate and not to mention the end of life pollutants that will surely not be green in the end.
        • 6 Months Ago
        I agree. I think we are getting screwed again by big oil, who has a vested interest in biofuel / ethanol because it uses their infrastructure. I want REAL independence.
        • 6 Months Ago
        Jamie Keefer, nothing in your post has any factual or reality based statements, you are wrong on every count, I cant imagine why someone like you would have any interest in a site about alternative fuels other than to spread your misinformed fear mongering nonsense, there are at least two American made family sedans almost in production or available to order that completely obliterate all your issues, I hope you are not representative of most suburban, neo con, hand wringers, who hide behind their "family values" to destroy the planet
        • 6 Months Ago
        Which is precisely why hydrogen is the better solution.
        • 6 Months Ago
        Wow, Jamie, if you're that afraid of battery electric vehicles...
        you must be TERRIFIED of gasoline cars. Carrying around a toxic, explosive fuel, the danger from the heat and exhaust gases they generate, the risk of being stranded and the end of life pollutants that will surely not be green in the end.

        Ron, go back to writing bogus studies about how hydrogen will solve all energy problems, bring about world peace and give everyone the pony they wanted as a child.
        • 6 Months Ago
        Ya, my round trip to work and back is 50 miles.

        With a battery pack that only gives 200 miles range, I couldn't possibly make that trip everyday unless I knew exactly, to the nearest tenth of a mile, how far my battery can take me. I mean, what if I use up 60 miles of range on Monday, and on Tuesday I use 60.1 miles? Good gracious, that would just be the end of the whole world.

        And yes, recycling a few pounds of lithium in 5 years is an environmental disaster compared to dumping 50 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over that same time
      • 6 Months Ago
      The range of electric cars has been a suspicion for some time. We all know it is going to be affected by how you drive. Yet the electric manufacturers persist in giving the top speed and then the range. It is deliberately misleading. Battery charge is going to affect top speed and speed driven is going to affect range, but we are not being told how much. I am afraid that if someone buys the 60 mph 60 mile range electric commuter needed for most metropolitan areas is going to be very angry. Or the opposite question, If I need to drive 60 miles round trip on a freeway for my daily commute with my radio and air conditioner on, what electric range do I need to do that. No idea.

      The least they could do is give a city range and a highway range.

      It is not either-or. I think it is fairly obvious that the electric vehicle and hydrogen are still not ready for prime time. Hybrids are working right now with no added infrastructure needed and a complete changeover coupled with enthusiastic fuel taxes will buy us a little more time as a species.
      • 6 Months Ago
      I never had any trouble using the "battery level" and "range estimate" gauges in the GM EV-1 that I leased for more than two years (NiMH Gen II ~120 mile range). After that I had a Th!nk City from Ford for about three years without trouble (Water cooled NiCad ~35 mile range). We even drove from Hollywood to the Long Beach aquarium, left it on the charger there during our stay, and drove home again.

      You think very differently about how you drive, but pure EVs could work for quite a few people. They're simple and have the potential to be cheap. They will never replace full-up trucks for towing, nor hybrids for long range driving, but that's never been the intention.

      Why would there need to be only one kind of engine + driveline architecture? One motor to rule them all? ;-)
      • 6 Months Ago
      To do a realistic and practical job, batteries cars need a small inboard gasoline electric generator and performance enhancer and battery recharger , wall mart sell at 150$ or more such items. 10 to 20 h.p is sufficient because cars need 10 to 20 h.p as an average, maybe less. Because of the lack of visions of ev batteries proponents and the maniac attitude of wanting to switch to 100% electric, then they have build cars for big oil that nobody wants to buy. They just collected money from goverments and puts their hydrogen technology in the garbage can.

      It's ridiculous to be struck on the road in an electric car without a 150$ electric recharger bolted to the car. Engineers from gm, toyota, tesla, zenn, fisker karma, think, mithusbishi, etc are just plain empty heads and they never surpassed henry ford since 1908.
      • 6 Months Ago
      I just read a new book called Two Cents Per Mile: Will Obama Make it Happen with the Stroke of a Pen? Simply put, this book shows the open conspiracy going on between the Department of Energy and corporations to prevent the development of 100% electric cars. Big corporations, with the help of the Department of Energy want to move us toward what they call the “hydrogen economy.” This is a dangerous idea and a very expensive one. It takes more energy to extract hydrogen than the energy it produces. This is another ethanol-type dilemma. We will increase our natural gas imports and still be using the internal combustion engine. It makes no sense! The book calls upon the reader to send letters to local, state and federal officials to get us back on track for all electric cars. There are links in the book to customize form letters. If you value America’s future, the environment and are concerned about what kind of world our kids will inherit, you have to check this book out. Read this book and help develop a much greener, much quieter world. http://www.amazon.com/Two-Cents-per-Mile-President/dp/0615293913/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245854577&sr=8-1
      • 6 Months Ago
      Nothing will destroy the EV market faster than if real world experience with the vehicles demonstrates that the predicted range is 80% or less than the manufacturers estimate. In particular when there is a wide variation in reported mileage of owners, and there will be if for no other reason than each of our driving style and use of the vehicle will vary.

      In general manufacturers and marketers specify ratings of things like horsepower, torque and mileage based on conditions that are most favorable to the desired result and those conditions often are not the same as where and how the vehicle is used.
      • 6 Months Ago
      "most internal combustion cars fall short of EPA mileage estimates"

      Really? I mean really?

      I have a hard time listening to people that spout bs like this.
      • 6 Months Ago
      I agree with Darryl hugely.

      Unlike poster #1 above, I do feel electric cars have a place. However, one key is that since the range is shorter and refueling on the fly is problematic, the customer has to be able to know what real range a car has. You're asking a customer who only drives 40 miles a day to buy an EV that is only good for 100 miles on a charge.

      The problem is that EVs get much longer range at lower top speeds. So it is tempting for companies to quote ranges with rather unrealistic top speeds like 25mph. If the customer buys this and then gets half the range because he wants to do 45mph, it's a problem, and it'll delay electric car adoption because people will pass on this info to others "I bought an EV that said it could do 100 miles and I can't even deviate from my 40 mile commute or I won't get home."

      I wanted an electric scooter badly, and I looked at one I found on here with 62 mile range, that was plenty for me. But sadly, if you looked at their site, if you went to their website, it was 40 miles or so at 35mph or something. If I wanted to go at highway speeds it barely would yield more than the 10 miles each way of my commute.
        • 6 Months Ago
        Quote '' bought an EV that said it could do 100 miles and I can't even deviate from my 40 mile commute or I won't get home."

        This is not just frustrating, this is dangeurous to lose power suddently and impredictably in traffic. What battery car subsidies folks have not said is that they cannot install a battery gauge inside the car that is precise, so the driver cannot know where and when the battery will be suddently depleted causing instant stopping of car fonctions. All this story is because honda didn't put on sale their fcx hydrogen car into the dealership in 1998 when they decided to do so. They have stop their project to please the martians that don't exist and have let down their customers with 10 more years of inneficient and polluting petrol machines.
      • 6 Months Ago
      BEVs:
      How about a standard test that checks the pure battery range from a full charge to 30% depletion and fully depleted running at a steady 65mph and another test running at 30mph? That would be a start so that cars could be compared. Cars that could not make the highway test should be kept off the freeways.
      PHEVs:
      Use the current Highway cycle.
        • 6 Months Ago
        Why should PHEVs and BEVs be subject to different standards? It wouldn't be fair as ranges for both are important and will be directly compared by the user. I don't see the problem with current range figures as long as they are EPA numbers (like Tesla's). However most just say a range number that they got from their own testing. That would be misrepresenting the range. Maybe the EPA testing should be changed, but as long as everyone is quoting the range numbers from the EPA there shouldn't be a problem.

        Mileage will vary anyways, even in ICE cars. There is no testing procedure that will yield range numbers which everyone will match. And isn't the 2008 testing procedure supposed to factor in higher highways speeds and air conditioning usage? That's why most hybrids got drastically worst mileage ratings when they switched to the new testing. Maybe have the EPA tweak it even more, so it's even closer to "real world conditions"; in other words, it should be according to a set standard, not different testing procedures from every manufacturer according to what they view is "real world".
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