The battery makes electric cars heavier than equivalent petrol cars. But the weight of EVs can come down.
A great, informative article, thanks. Just wondering where the fuel tank and fuel are included in the ICE calculation? A large full tank of gasoline would also impact on the weight of the ICE vehicle, but as far as I can see there is no mention of this 'battery'. Did I miss it?
Thanks for pointing to the elephant in the room: most EVs on the market are unaffordable for most buyers. Until prices comes down, transition will be glacially slow. And until charging stations (with competent maintenance) become as available as gas stations, few people will buy.
Thank you for a very interesting and informative article, as always.
From what I hear and see among my family, friends and acquaintances:
people buy EVs as a second car, because they are fun to drive. Most EVs accelerate like a sports car and the heavy battery makes for a low center of gravity, helping with high corner speeds.
You need a second - petrol, Diesel, Hybrid - car, if ever you want to make a longer trip.
If you spend a vacation using your own car, as people in Europe often do, you do not want an EV. Having to constantly worry about charging points would spoil your trip and your vacation.
I wouldn't say, only the rich buy EVs, what does "rich" mean?, but I do not see people who have to carefully consider every cent they spend, buying EVs.
And, I am still not convinced that EVs are effective in reducing CO2 emissions. With the low annual mileage of cars (e.g. 13,000 Km in Germany, 7,000 miles in the UK) it takes at least five years for any savings to materialise. There must be more effective ways ...
1. Nice job, Hannah.
2. Are Nios available in the UK? I have not seen them here in the US. Could be due to tariffs.
3. The Financial Times articles on missed goals for solid state batteries is behind a paywall. Any suggestions? I hope they're wrong.
4. My soapbox Part 1. I believe governments should be regulating lifecycle emissions not just tailpipe emissions, e.g. carboncounter.com . This would also favor lighter smaller vehicles and allow a diversity of solutions.
5. My soapbox Part 2. I'm still a fan of PHEVs for now - especially in the US, with wide open spaces. People should be encouraged to buy the lowest lifecycle emissions vehicle that meets their needs and budget. I drive a Toyota RAV4 Prime and love it. It is lighter than a Tesla Y without any range anxiety.
Motortrend is also a fan of PHEVs, https://www.motortrend.com/reviews/2023-toyota-prius-prime-first-test-review/ . Subtitle: A middle finger to all-electric vehicles!?
Depending on the level of fuel in the tank, the fuel tank will be 20kg (nearly empty) to 90kg (full tank on a big car), so worth mentioning but not critical.
A few people including Andy Palmer (father of the Nissan Leaf) have called for incentives for small EVs. I would like to see something similar to Japan's "Kei car" rules which mandate maximum length and width in return for incentives. I think for the UK, the rules might have to be for something slightly bigger than the current Kei car regs, but not much. In return you could get free road tax, 0% BIK and possibly insurance benefits. Such small cars could manage with 20-30kWh batteries and would be enough for many people.
Anyone who managed 300km in an i3 is doing very well. Good car but not for long distance. Current MS has 6-700km+ based on the criteria of i3 and 100kwh battery these days. Charging speed and range, passenger capacity make any Tesla feasible for any trip. An i3 really works for city and short range and I really like the car but frankly cannot be compared with a Tesla. Better compare it with a Leaf. (Or a Mini E which uses i3 tech as a base I believe). And for the range you need the i3 at 1345kg with 42.2kwh to go 310km WLTP. Cd is 0,29 and price €42k when it stopped production at about 250k units last year. This year a base Model 3 will go WLTP 491km, costs the same as the i3 and weighs 1752kg. It’s a much bigger car inside and has better crash test results. Is 1752kg too much? Well it’s not much different from a 3-er BMW or even the current Nissan Leaf which is slower shorter range and less efficient. Most SUV’s petrol or otherwise weigh more. So I think it’s more of a challenge for legacy makers than the technology per-se if makers step up.
With my 11 year old diesel car, I can get to Ely and back to see my Mum, and Gloucestershire and back to see my son, with fuel to spare. When I finally get round to replacing it, it’d be nice to do all that on one charge. Although, as you say, if we had a better charging network, that’d also do (with decent coffee).
…and then there’s the Aptera, where weight reduction has been a key focus, second only to drag reduction.
The result: a car which uses so little energy per kilometer traveled that not only is a small, light battery sufficient for excellent range, but also covering the car’s outer surface with solar cells allows the car to self-charge to provide ~60 kilometers driving range per day sourced from sunshine.
Great piece as always! I'd be really interested in seeing the second interactive graph with price in the y-axis. Is the raw data for weight/range available anywhere?
In addition to the fuel weight, not accounted for, it must be noted that electric vehicles also have a 12 V battery that is similar in weight to the gasoline version.
Fast charging infrastructure only works to reduce range anxiety if medium-range cars support high (>100 KW) recharging rates-- and a lot of them (Bolt, Leaf, e-Golf, Niro, Kona etc) still don't. Unfortunately it seems like the current EV market is bifurcated into roadtrip-capable EVs with >100 KW max charge rate and big heavy batteries, and smaller EVs with medium-size batteries whose slower max charge rate imposes a much larger time tax on roadtrips. That needs to change to get people to adopt EVs with smaller batteries as their only vehicles.
I appreciate the data on what is available today.
We need to be cautious about the future, for instance by assuming battery weight will come down but ICE engine and battery weight will stay constant, or that ICEs won’t also use lighter frames.
IMO we need to reduce the size of vehicles on the roads (they don't fit!) and also reduce weight). Once we have eliminated engine emissions we need to reduce particulates from brakes / tyres. If we tax vehicles by:
- power /weight ratio or acceleration
- engine emissions
We should be able to encourage EVs & weight/size reduction of both petrol & battery powered cars.
Plus we can also increase fuel duty (frozen /reduced for last 13 years) to encourage move from Petrol/diesel to electric.