EV Expectations Gap On Range, Charging

Carmakers need to step up their game – or consumers need to get real – when it comes to how electric vehicles (EVs) perform. That’s the takeaway from a Deloitte report that shows a big gap between what EVs currently deliver and what prospective buyers around the world expect from the cars.

Take the question of range. “Consumers expect EVs to be able to go a considerable way, an average of 320 kilometers (200 miles), but current technology permits most EVs to cover an average of only 160 kilometers (100 miles) between charges,” says Siegfried Frick, an automotive partner with Deloitte Germany. “This disconnect is representative of the divide between consumers’ expectations of EVs and the actual technologies that are available in the market today.”

electric vehicles, consumer expectations, Deloitte

image via Mitsubishi

Deloitte says it surveyed more than 13,000 consumers in North and South America, Asia and Europe, and found the same general areas of interest and cocern, with some slight variations in the details.

In addition to range, another key issues was charge time, and there again expectations didn’t match reality. Consumers thought cars should charge in less than two hours (in Japan, expectations were even higher: more than a third thought anything longer than a half-hour was unacceptable). “In all countries, only a small majority viewed up to eight hours – the actual and longest time it can take to recharge the typical electric vehicle battery in vehicles today using a level 2 charger – as acceptable,” says Craig Giffi, Deloitte’s Global Automotive sector leader.

The Deloitte report, by the way, matches up pretty well with what we saw earlier this year in research into American views on EVs conducted by the University of Delaware. In that case, researchers found consumers looking at driving range, fuel cost and charging time above other criteria when considering an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.

The full Deloitte report, “Unplugged: Electric vehicle realities versus consumer expectations,” is available online [PDF].

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.