Vehicle manufacturers are deliberately exaggerating the range of their latest electric models by up to 30%, leading to unnecessary range anxiety amongst drivers.
That’s the view from EV leasing and fleet management specialist, Fleet Evolution, which believes that more accurate pure electric range figures would lead to company drivers making better informed choices and suffering less range anxiety.
Andrew Leech, managing director at Fleet Evolution, which was one of the early adopters of electric vehicles and whose forward order banks now comprise 97% of EVs, said that in his experience this simply wasn’t the case.
“As with the petrol and diesel models that went before them, vehicle manufacturers are willfully over-stating the ranges of their electric models, presumably to try and attract more buyers.
“But in our experience, when drivers find that the actual range is not in line with the published figures, it can have the opposite effect.
“Running out of battery charge is not quite the same as getting low on petrol or diesel as charging is less straightforward than simply popping into a filling station and topping up, and it can lead to some anxious moments for drivers.
“Although the charging picture is slowly improving, this country still needs many more charging points to reach full capacity. So, having an accurate picture of your electric range is vitally important for journey planning,” he added.
Leech said that some of the worst culprits were luxury manufacturers such as Jaguar, Mercedes and Tesla, while Korean car makers Kia and Hyundai published some of the most accurate ranges.
He cited the example of a Jaguar I-Pace which he has as his own company car.
“The I-Pace has a manufacturer stated range of 292 miles. But in real world driving conditions on a business trip between Manchester and Hull and on a combination of motorways and urban roads, I was unable to travel more than 230 miles between charges – and that is the best performance I have ever achieved in that model,” he said.
“This is by no means an isolated example, and we see a similar picture with different models from different manufacturers across the board,” he added.
Leech said that when range performance issues were raised with the relevant dealer supplying the vehicle they were referred back to the manufacturer – who then referred the matter back to the dealer.
“We see this merry-go-round time and again with no-one taking responsibility and either side blaming each other,” he said.
He suggested that, rather than give a single electric mileage range figure for each new model, manufacturers broke this down into two categories: for motorway driving and for urban driving as this gave a more realistic picture of the actual range that was achievable.
“By breaking down the electric range in this way, we would have a clearer picture of the range as the capacity for city miles is a lot higher for an EV than it is for motorway driving,” said Leech.
On the plus side, Leech said there were increasing numbers of new electric models coming onto the market with very practical ranges that worked well for many company drivers, especially as more became aware that they did not require huge electric ranges in the first instance.
“Many drivers now realise that they rarely travel 200 electric miles in one journey. Typical commutes are less than 50 miles a day. So, an EV with an effective range of, say, around 100 miles is suitable, with careful journey planning and daily charging, for 90% of the time.
“For the other 10%, going on holiday, for example, when more luggage and equipment may need to be carried, we are providing our drivers with larger, conventionally powered vehicles for short periods to supplement their regular EV usage,” he said.