How far does an electric car travel?
Firstly, a big thank-you to Mercedes-Benz of Hertford for sending pictures of their brand-new electric SUV – the Mercedes EQA. The CarLease UK and e-Car Lease team are thrilled to announce a stock deal on this leading electric car leasing deal, together with a £500 contribution towards your charge point (in addition to the £350 grant!). For more information, just enquire with us at our Merc EQA deals section
The issue with electric cars is that they don’t offer anywhere near enough range for customers to actually use them on a day-to-day basis? Why would you get an EV – you would be charging them for hours every day! Unfortunately, these statements (as ridiculous as they are) will actually be issued by some media, automotive professionals and, most importantly, your mates in the pub who have never owned/leased/driven one.
The ignorance toward electric vehicles is slowly being overturned, as many of us are waking up to the fact that there is change afoot in anticipation of the 2030 deadline for the ban on the sale of combustion engines. Much of the initial resistance from the mainstream media and public is now being countered by some great product from manufacturers, incentives from the Government (plug-in grants for cars/vans and charge points) charge point infrastructure improvements and cost-effective energy plans for domestic charging.
The mindset for EV’s is very much a positive one and the next 2-3 years will see a seismic shift in customer buying/leasing habits, as the move towards mass-adoption proceeds.
However, to ensure the customer receives a product, and service, which meets their needs and requirements we must explore the concept of vehicle range. One of the first, and probably most crucial, questions, is “how far does this electric car travel”? Unfortunately for the customer, this is not a straight forward question. As much as a one-size fits all answer would be useful, this would indeed be an inaccurate way of providing information to the customer.
Understanding The Actual Range of an EV
What you will notice is that the manufacturer, or our CAP data fed website, will provide you with a WLTP range for the vehicle. The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) is now the global test cycle across different world regions, so pollutant and CO2 emissions as well as fuel consumption values can be compared. This replaces the older New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which was criticised for being inaccurate and misleading on MPG and CO2 emissions. However, taking the WLTP as the key metric is a little risky; this is still a “laboratory” way of doing it and does not quite provide you with a full picture.
One of the first concerns we have is the presumption of the “full tank” analogy for WLTP. The way in which many of us use our electric cars (yes, the e-car lease team operate EVs too!) means that we tend to keep the battery at no more than 80-85% at any one time. Part of the reason for this is that rapid charging, when you connect to a 50/100kW DC unit, allows for speedy charging to around 80/85% of your battery consumption.
At this point, rapid charging slows down to preserve the battery, Indeed, keeping your car connected to reach 100% would take some time, as the 80/85% to 100% would take as long as getting from 10-80% in some cases. For charging to the brim, you would use a slower AC 7.4kW domestic solutions, which you will often hear being referred to as a “trickle-charge” approach. There are also concerns that consistently charging your car’s battery to 100% will create degradation. We therefore suggest using the 80/85% as a key metric for understanding the vehicles true range.
Another issue about vehicle range is that it presumes the car will perform the same regardless of temperature or driving style and behaviours. This is simply not true. Our weather systems do influence our EV’s and, in more extreme weather scenarios, these can greatly affect the efficiency of your battery. In winter you will find that your EV is not operating as well as the summer months. A lot of this is down to your batteries, which rely on operating at an ambient temperature.
For cold start mornings, the battery uses more energy in trying to achieve this ambient temperature at the cost of the EV’s range. This is why we recommend that our customers procure a charge point, as pre-climatisation of your car is far more practical and efficient when connected to a charge point. The car will use your charge point to achieve the ambient temperature rather than procure energy from the batteries, thereby preventing lower range. You also have to factor into this the driving style and behaviour.
If you are covering smaller stop/start journeys on low speeds, this is far less impactive than motorway driving at 70mph. EV’s do not operate better on the motorway – they are not like a diesel. Taking this EQA, just see how different the range can be based on the weather and driving style:
Do EV’s have enough range for me or the business?
This is not to say that you should be concerned or worried about your next EV. In actual fact, many of the latest electric cars are now providing customers with more than ample range for daily commutes (many are in excess of 200 miles) together with improved charging times and charging infrastructure. The range is only one facet you need to take into account. If you are likely to be charging on a regular basis at home, work or at service stations, you also need to consider the EV’s charging times.
Each car will be able to charge at a maximum charge speed in AC (7.4/11/22kW) and DC (50,100/150/250). For example, this EQA can charge up to a maximum 11 kW AC, meaning that a quicker 22 kW AC solution would not assist; regardless of what was connected to the car, its onboard charge would only allow 11kW AC of charge. The same rule applies for the DC rapid charging, so the EQA could only charge at 100kW DC. Should you connect to an ultra-rapid 350 kW DC unit, the car would charge at the same speed as if you were connected to a slower 100kW unit.
In terms of the car shown, the Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 140kW Sport 66.5kWh 5dr Auto EV, this is based on the following configuration:
- Polar White Solid Paint
- Artico man-made leather – Black
- 18″ 5 spoke light alloy wheels
As standard the car includes privacy glass, blind spot assist, active lane keeping assist, active brake assist, rain sensing wipers, comfort suspension, cruise control, easy-pack tailgate.
EQ navigation services, smartphone connect, DAB radio, auto dimming rear view mirror, LED headlights, surround lighting, 3-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel.
Climate control, 3-pin charging cable (for a domestic plug), charging cable for a wall box/Type 2, interior light package, mirror package, stowage package, 40/20 split folding seats, comfort seats.
Heated front seats and 18” alloys. In terms of additional options, you can only change the interior or external colour. If you want to improve the vehicle, just upgrade to an AMG or AMG Premium/Premium Plus.
On the technical-side, company car and business users can note the P11d at £44,034.99 and CO2 at 0g/km. The WLTP range of the EQA is 265 miles whereas the “real range” in winter is around 185 miles and 250 in summer.
The EQA offers 188ps, 99mph top speeds and 0-62 times of 8.9 seconds. In terms of charging times, a domestic 7.4kW AC domestic unit will take 10-11 hours to offer 0-100% charge whereas a rapid charge unit for 10-80% will take 60 minutes for a 50kW DC and 35 minutes for a 100kW DC unit.