Why Elon Musk is right when he says that no one needs an electric car with a range of 1000 km

Tesla founder Elon Musk reiterated that 644 km on a single charge is the current maximum for electric vehicles. Tesla could make a car with 966 km as early as 2021. But that would be a contradiction in terms, he says, “because 99.9% of the time you would be lugging around an unnecessary mass of battery that degrades acceleration, handling and performance. “Efficiency (…) Even our car with a range of more than 400 miles (about 644 km) offers more than most people will ever use.”

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

When most automakers are fighting for autonomy, like China’s NIO or Germany’s Mercedes, the Tesla boss remains cautious. According to Elon Musk, Tesla could have made a car with a range of 1,000 kilometers long ago, but it didn’t make much sense to him.

In the debate about the pros and cons of using an electric car, one factor is very often mentioned: range. A few years ago, electric cars were still very limited in range (the first Renault Zoé had 100-150 km), but modern battery technology is bringing new models closer and closer to their internal combustion engine counterparts.

We could have made a Model S with 600 miles 12 months ago, but that would have made the product worse because 99.9% of the time you would be carrying unnecessary battery mass, which would degrade acceleration, handling and efficiency. Even our car with a range of over 400 miles is more than anyone will use.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 2, 2022

As Elon Musk explains on Twitter, Tesla could have made ” Model S with a range of 600 miles (about 966 km) one year ago. But that would be a contradiction in terms, he said. because 99.9% of the time you’ll be lugging around unnecessary mass of battery, which hurts acceleration, handling and efficiency (…) Even our 400+ mile range car offers more than most people will never take advantage of“.

As a reminder, Tesla offers several models with a range of more than 600 kilometers, the Model 3 Grande Autonomie shows 608 kilometers in the WLTP cycle, and the Model S Plaid has 633 kilometers (WTLP). One of the category champions is the Mercedes EQS with 780 kilometers.

Tesla Model S (2021)

In practice, autonomy obviously depends a lot on your journey. On the expressway, autonomy is much less important than in the city. In some cases and under certain conditions, the autonomy can be even greater than the autonomy of WLTP.

Mercedes EX

Mercedes EX

Autonomy anxiety is real

If you’re hesitant to take an electric car because of its range, you may be experiencing what’s known as range anxiety.

“I’m going to a new place. What if there are no public charging stations that I can use? What if I find a charging station but it’s in bad condition and I don’t have enough space to get to another one? “.

This is heightened anxiety or fear of something that has not yet happened and is unlikely to happen. You are afraid to be left with an unloaded car, which will then become useless. However, there are several reasons not to worry.

Going beyond the range of anxiety

Again, most electric vehicles on the market today can travel up to 400-600 kilometers on a single charge. Based on how the average European driver uses their car, most people will only charge their car once a week.

In France, a car drives an average of 12,200 km per year, which gives a little more than 33 kilometers per day. Of course, there are people who regularly drive more, and there are people who want to take an electric car on a trip.

Charging your electric car is likely to be a lot less effort than filling up a traditional car because you don’t have to wait to fill up the tank. electric tank. You can charge while your car is parked. Also, depending on the type of charger you are using, a full charge can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 10 hours.

With tools like A Better Routeplanner (ABRP) and Chargemap, you can plan your long trips, find charging stations, and even simplify your payments.

On those rare occasions when you really need to charge your car on a long trip, you can use fast charging networks. Using one of the tools mentioned above, you will most likely find yourself currently spending more time at gas stations than at an electric vehicle charger.

Finally, electric vehicle batteries degrade, like all batteries. However, this happens quite slowly, on average by 2.3% per year. In addition, they are usually guaranteed for several years, for example, Tesla has 8 years. Feel free to read the general conditions, depending on the vehicles, this duration varies and also depends on the distance you drive.

It’s okay to hesitate in the face of change, but don’t forget that car electrification is inevitable. Over time, the charging infrastructure will continue to evolve. Until the day when we treat an electric car’s range the same way we treat “top speed” – data that is only for bragging rights.


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