TO THE EDITOR:
Automotive News issues of late seem like brochures for electric vehicles, but there are some things that need to be fully investigated:
- Impact of temperature on range: As a former Chevy Volt owner, I have experienced this personally, but a probe of the physics of lithium battery behavior in near- and subzero environments is needed, as are honest disclosures about what cabin heating does to range.
- Realities of charging: With battery capacity approaching 100 kilowatt-hours, it is not realistic to assume Level 2 chargers can recover these batteries overnight. It will take longer, especially as demand increases and utility companies implement rate differentials and hours of use for chargers.
- Realities of charging, part two: Stated vehicle ranges from the Energy Information Administration and automakers fail to account for the 80 percent rule. DC fast chargers will take a lithium battery up to only an 80 percent state of charge. That's because of voltage hysteresis, which proves permanently damaging to battery packs if a fast charger is allowed to push higher. Thus, in practice, a vehicle with a stated 300-mile range being fast-charged will have a true range of 240 miles.
- Cost of electricity: SAE's Automotive Engineering tested driving a Jaguar I-Pace from western Pennsylvania to Detroit and back. They made the trip, but the cost of electricity at fast charge stations was about $7.20 per gasoline gallon equivalent. This cost will only rise as utilities scrape for cash to fund fast charge infrastructure.
- Queuing: Interstate fuel stations can be crowded during heavy travel periods as things are. Petroleum vehicles need only spend a few minutes at the pump. Has anyone studied the impact of 30-minute-plus charge times on, say, the Pennsylvania Turnpike during a holiday weekend?
I am an advocate for EVs, but I am also an advocate for full disclosure.
RICH CREGAR, Preemption, Ill. The writer is a sustainable transportation advocate.