New Research Reveals That When It Comes to EV Batteries, Bigger is Not Better
There are so many debates about EV battery requirements, and it’s really challenging to figure out what you’re truly going to need. Well, I am happy to share that we just found a new study led by University of Delaware researchers, in collaboration with Dalhousie University and Georgia Tech, which addresses the concern of “range anxiety” in electric vehicles (EVs). The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Energies, debunks the misconception that EVs need larger batteries and super-fast charging to replace gasoline vehicles. It was done by data recording 333 gasoline-fueled cars over a one-to-three-year period and modeling the ability of EVs with differing battery sizes, recharging power, and charging locations to handle the exact same driving trips.
A smaller battery EV may be all that you need!
The research showed that a segment of the market – between 25% to 37% of the driving population – can use smaller-battery EVs, combined with community charging, for all their driving trip needs. Exciting, right?
A smaller-battery EV would cost up to $10,000 less than an EV with a big battery, making it more affordable and accessible to more U.S. drivers. The study also shouts out that this minority of drivers better matched to smaller-battery EVs represents a very diverse array of people, including many urban dwellers, those who use air or rail for longer trips, some low-income Americans, and some elderly Americans.
Dissect your driving patterns before you decide to buy
The study’s lead author, Willett Kempton, Professor of Marine Science and Policy and of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UD, advises consumers to think about their driving patterns before buying an EV. He suggests that drivers match their longest trips with an EV that can meet their range needs, which may not be more than 100 miles a day, and consider borrowing a neighbor’s car, taking a train, or renting a car for longer-distance trips. Kempton cautions that a bigger battery is not necessarily better and that it’s essential to consider how much driving one does in a day, particularly if living in an urban area.
According to the study co-author Nathaniel Pearre from Dalhousie University, the average daily distance a person drives doesn’t inform how big a battery is needed for that person’s longest distance car trip of the year. Therefore, the study encourages drivers to think about their longest trips of the year and make adaptations to their driving and recharging plans for longer distance trips only 3-4 times a year.
The study concludes that lower-priced EVs and lower-cost community recharging could go a long way in broadening the accessibility of EVs to more U.S. drivers. However, it’s also important to note that many people who are the best candidates for less expensive, smaller-battery EVs live in urban areas that may not yet have dedicated EV parking at their apartment building or lack charging on the street in residential areas. This will hopefully change as more government funded charging rolls out in the years ahead.
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