What 3 years of driving an electric car taught me about range “serenity” and energy consumption – The Global Tofay

What 3 years of driving an electric car taught me about range "serenity" and energy consumption - The Global Tofay Global Today

It’s been more than 2 years since I described here how I selected a battery electric car model to meet my personal needs: a retail price below €50,000, a type-approval electric range of more than 300 km, and a fast-charging capability of at least 150 kW. In a few weeks, I’ll return my vehicle to the dealer as it’s the end of the 3-year lease period.

So, how was it? In short, pretty uneventful. I never suffered from range anxiety. Most of the time my battery range was more than enough just relying on my Wallbox charger at home. And if I really needed some extra juice, there was always a public charger nearby. I’d describe my experience as one of range serenity instead of range anxiety.

My experience matches the conclusions of a recent ICCT study which found that a car with a battery on the smaller end of the range of capacities on the market is sufficient for the vast majority of urban and rural car drivers. I feel that driving an electric car nowadays is not substantially different from driving a conventional combustion engine car, except that the electric car is quieter, cleaner, and the exceptionally strong torque is more fun to drive!

What about the real-world energy consumption of my electric car? From previous analyses we know there’s roughly a 14% gap between official (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure [WLTP]) values and real-world fuel consumption and CO2 values for conventional gasoline and diesel cars. For plug-in hybrids, the difference is larger and these typically consume three to five times more fuel than advertised by official test values. In the European Union, all new combustion engine vehicles must report anonymized real-world consumption values via on-board fuel consumption meters and statistically meaningful results are accessible to the public. Battery electric vehicles are still exempt, though, and that unfortunately leaves us with a data and knowledge gap.

I kept track of my own real-world consumption values and Figure 1 summarizes my observations. For this chart, I also used data from Spritmonitor.de, a free public platform that’s well known and commonly used among vehicle owners, especially in Germany where I live. Based on a total 13,000 km of driving and a total of 2.4 MWh of electricity that I tracked as part of 50 re-charging events over more than 2 years, my average real-world electricity consumption was 18.7 kWh/100 km. The fluctuation throughout the year is interesting: During the summer months, my average consumption was as low as 14 kWh/100 km, and in December the average was nearly 26 kWh/100 km. It’s also important to note that my electric vehicle is equipped with a heat pump that uses electric energy more efficiently to heat the cabin and battery in winter.

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