200 Miles is New Bogey for Electric Car Range

By · January 26, 2015

Chevrolet Bolt Concept

The unveiling of the Chevy Bolt EV concept car, at the 2015 Detroit auto show, kickstarted a race for the affordable 200-mile electric car.

Limited driving range has consistently ranked as a top concern among car buyers considering EVs. But with the recently unveiling of the Chevrolet Bolt concept car—and quick replies from Nissan and Tesla—the race for an affordable long-range electric car reached a new level of competition. All three companies are targeting 200 miles on a single charge, thus establishing a new industry-wide target for a relatively affordable vehicle running solely on batteries.

“Tesla is trying to beat everybody to the market with an affordable all-electric vehicle with 200 miles of range,” said James Bell, head of consumer affairs for General Motors, in a video from Detroit. “Guess what? Chevrolet just knocked on their door, and knocked it down. Now the Bolt’s here, and you’ll have it available in showrooms for about $30,000 next year.”

By next year, Bell apparently means the end of 2016. Tesla’s target release for its Model 3—also expected to provide 200 miles on a charge—is 2017. That means the introduction of the two models could be within a few months of one another. (To the degree that Tesla needs to first release the Model X, and to launch and begin production at its massive new battery factory, the 2017 date will be challenging.)

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, in Detroit, suggested that his company’s affordable 200-mile car will be slightly less expensive than the Bolt. He said it will be priced at $35,000 before any tax incentives—while GM said the Bolt will be offered for $30,000 after a tax credit (that is currently valued at $7,500). Of course, if these promises are fulfilled, the two cars could carry nearly identical price tags, with trim levels and options likely to make the difference.

The Bolt is a small crossover, while the Tesla Model 3 (yet to be unveiled) will be a small sedan approximately the size of a BMW 3-series. Musk said the Model 3 will be “unlike anything on the road.”

Add Nissan and Others

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive, not to be left out of the contest, told reporters at the Detroit auto show where the Bolt concept was unveiled, that Nissan is also in the race for an electric car with 200 miles or range. “Obviously we will be competing,” he said. “We are the leaders and we frankly intend to continue to be the leaders.”

With these three carmakers working to offer a 200-mile EV for around $30,000, it’s unlikely that other electric car players, notably BMW and Volkswagen, will be far behind.

Regardless, it will be a tough challenge to offer an all-electric car with a battery pack big enough for 200 miles or range at the intended price targets. Given today’s level of efficiency—about 3.5 miles per kilowatt-hour of stored energy—a 200-mile car will need a pack of about 55 to 60 kWh. Tesla’s 60-kWh Model S sells for $70,000. The size of the packs available in electric cars currently offered for around $30,000 is closer to 24 kWh—providing around 85 miles of range.

So, either the price of a vehicle with a larger pack will need to be cut in half, or the size of the smaller pack will need to double without adding much cost. And this transition needs to occur in less than two years.

Targets for price, specifications and schedules for next-generation vehicles are commonly not met in the auto industry. Yet, past surveys of EV drivers indicated that the magic number for electric car range—or at least enough to eliminate range anxiety—could fall slightly below 200 miles.


· · 3 years ago

The EV Revolution has begun."The Revolution will not be televised" But will be Electrified

EV (Electric Vehicle) BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) (FCEV) (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle)

EV RULES for the EV Revolution- EV or BEV is a pure ELECTRIC charged vehicle.
EV RULES for the EV Revolution- (FCEV) Fuel Cell is a Hydrogen fueled vehicle..
EV RULES for the EV Revolution- Plug-in Hybrid is Gasoline, Diesel, Bio fuel, or Natural Gas fueled vehicle - Plug-in hybrid has direct electric plug charging capabilities, uses fuel for charging or as a range .
EV RULES for the EV Revolution- Hybrid is Gasoline, Diesel, Bio fuel, or Natural Gas fueled vehicles - Hybrid has no direct electric plug charging capability, uses fuel for charging or as a range extender.

Hybrids lose because EVs Rule. Create the Spin, but they still won't Win.
You can pay for the Evolution or Jump to the Revolution.

· · 3 years ago

The EV evolution support BEV and battery manufacturer commitment to responsibly recycle or repurpose end of life Batteries.-- Best choice

Above is the Revolution-Below is the Evolution-"The Revolution will not be Televised"

The EV Revolution supports Hydrogen Technology - However (FCEV) has costly infrastructure, higher cost to maintain, higher manufacturing cost, inefficiency in fuel production and delivery, owner remains tied to higher fuel cost.

The EV Revolution recognizes Hybrid plug-in - as a Evolution to take advantage of existing infrastructure or more efficient or cleaner forms of fuel. Higher cost to maintain ,higher manufacturing cost, owner remain tied to higher fuel cost, only temporary solution - Uses electricity for short commutes. - Not Revolutionary.

The EV Revolution sees Hybrid - as a step in Evolution that take advantage of existing infrastructure or more efficient or cleaner forms of fuel. Higher manufacturing cost higher cost to maintain, owner remain tied to higher fuel cost, only temporary - Not Revolutionary.
BEV for the EV Revolution. Pay for the Evolution or Jump to the Revolution

· · 3 years ago

The Bolt is an incredibly exciting development. Go GM! The company best positioned to deliver a 200 mile range car at competitive cost may be BMW. With their efficiency numbers, they could achieve the psychological threshold of 200 miles with a smaller, cheaper battery than all the others. The trick will be to see how far carbon fiber costs can come down.

· · 3 years ago

200 miles of range also allows quick charging infrastructure to be deployed more easily. More single-charge range = fewer needed chargers. A two-fold increase in range is a four-fold decrease in QCs needed in a given area. More so, if you include home charging. 200 miles allows all day-to-day driving to be recharged overnight at home. 200 miles also allows longer trips more easily. A 300-mile trip would require a single stop for about 30 minutes to recharge!

· · 3 years ago

I hope that these EV's can drop the consumption down to at least 150-175Wh/mile. The EV1 could, and doing this is easier than making a higher energy density battery. It should be an either/or choice.

Much lower aero drag is in the "control" of the car designers and engineers. Lowering the consumption is always better; even with a higher energy density battery, the cost comes down and the size and weight is smaller, so the car can get the consumption down.

It is virtuous cycle, leading to a lower price and longer range.

· · 3 years ago


At the same time, the cars need to appeal to people. How do you make a car that can fit 5 people and 20+ cubic feet of gear with such a low consumption? Can you make it look good or will it look weird? Can people sit up high like they are king/queen of the road?

I'm not saying that they shouldn't make a vehicle like you're proposing. I'm just saying that it will not sell in appreciable numbers.

If you really want to lower consumption, the quickest way is to slow down. The US did that once - making nationwide speed limits 55MPH. Now if you go 65MPH in a 65MPH zone, you nearly get run off the road.

· · 3 years ago

For NeilBlanchard.

Just for a reference point. I am averaging 260 Wh/mile in my Ford Focus Electric over 6700 miles.

· · 3 years ago

Right, my spouse and I share a 2015 Leaf, and in warm weather, averaging ~250Wh/mile is quite doable. The Leaf is however has a claimed Cd of 0.28, but Car & Driver measured it at 0.32:


If Nissan could borrow the design of the Renault Eolab, this would drop the Cd to ~0.22, and it would probably drop the consumption to under 200Wh, and possibly as low as 160Wh/mile.

The Illuminati Motor Works 'Seven' consumes just ~130Wh/mile. Having a higher plug-to-wheel drivetrain is part of that (they estimate they lose only ~8% vs ~%15 for a typical EV) and having a low aero drag is a big part of it.

· · 50 weeks ago

With biofuels and fuel cells both faltering, electric cars may be one of the best ways out

New to EVs? Start here

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  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
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  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
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