Angry woman is kicking her electric car with empty battery and looking for help
While electric car sales continue to boom in Europe and politicians speed the demise of conventional engines, the media reports a steady drumbeat of dissatisfaction from those actually driving with battery power, which needs to be addressed for the advance to continue.
Battery electric vehicle (BEV) experts, often turn out to be almost religious devotees unwilling to see hear, see or speak anything remotely negative about electric cars. This is covering up real world problems in a fog of false optimism. Current record-breaking demand is likely to peter out when all well-off early-adopters have bought their BEVs, and if the next level of demand from the real world is to succeed, these basic problems must be addressed.
According to Fitch Solutions, electric car sales in Europe jumped about 72% in 2021, but growth will slow significantly in 2022 to 28.4% for an annual volume of just over 3 million. Sales will slow because many big manufacturers are concentrating on selling as many internal combustion engine powered models before the next tightening of European Union (EU) carbon dioxide (CO) emission in 2025. This slowing presents a good opportunity for carmakers and infrastructure providers to take stock and sort out some of the more glaring problems so the next and most important round of the electric revolution can succeed.
Electric car drivers complain mainly about the clunky and unreliable charging infrastructure which makes long-distance travel a nightmare, although operators routinely claim this has been miraculously improved. The price of vehicles makes even the cheapest versions too expensive for average earners, and the cost of batteries is not just about to dive to match the internal combustion engine (ICE), as the industry likes to assert. Raging demand and raw material bottlenecks are pushing prices in the opposite direction. There are problems which the vehicle manufacturers don’t shout about, like the recommendation to rarely charge more than 80% of capacity or let it run lower than 20%, with the best policy to refill when you hit 50%. This of course makes a mockery of range claims and battery capacity data.
Manufacturers, with some honorable exceptions, offer official range figures which deviate from the actual battery capacity typically by 20 to 30%, while the problem of scary quick range evaporation at legal high-speed cruising speeds is another problem which dares not speak its name (see data box). This is a big problem in Britain where the legal speed limit on the motorways is 70 mph, but in mainland Europe, where the speed limit on the massive network is often 130 km/h (81.25 mph) it is likely to be chronic. And in Germany there are some sections of highway with no speed limit at all.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Wismar: A broken charging station for electric cars in Rostocker … [+]
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