jeep-compasseditors-blog-entry3Chalk this one up in the “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!” category.

According to a statoid published in a recent issue of USA Today, 37% of Americans polled in a Deloitte survey querying people on their attitudes toward electric cars said that an EV would need to have a range of 400 miles or more in order for them to consider buying one.

Say what?

Four-hundred miles or more?

Where does this expectation come from, especially considering the fact that the majority of Americans don’t currently own a gasoline car that can go 400 miles or more on a single tank of gas?

Then there’s the fact that the majority of Americans probably don’t actually know the top range of their gas car. There’s also the fact that they almost certainly didn’t ask about its maximum range when they bought it. Finally, there’s the fact that most Americans rarely, if ever, drive farther than 400 miles at a pop.

To be fair, 19% of those surveyed by Deloitte said they would need an EV with a range of 300 miles and another 24% said they required a range of at least 200 miles before they would consider buying one, meaning 43% of those surveyed expected an EV range that the vast majority of Americans already get with their gas car, not a longer range.

Just 17% will buy EV with 100-mile range
Meanwhile, just 17% indicated that a 100-mile range is sufficient to get them to consider buying an EV.

But back to the expectation of a range of more than 400 miles for an EV.

leaf-crowdYou have to believe that a good percentage of this 37% somehow truly believe that their current gasoline car can take them more than 400 miles between fill-ups.

Of course, a lot of them are wrong.

Let’s see what a short troll around the Internet turns up in terms of gasoline cars that can get you farther than 400 miles on a tank of gas.

Gas tank size and mileage
Remember, there are two important variables here:

  1. Gas tank size;
  2. Estimated miles per gallon;

You might have a giant gas tank, say the 25 gallon tank of a gargantuan pick-up truck, but your lower mpg average is going to drag you down in terms of your overall driving range. With a smaller gasoline car, you’re going to get good gas mileage, but a smaller tank size may keep you below a top range of 400 miles.

So, here goes, a list of some of the current gasoline cars which, depending on driving conditions, how fast you drive, etc. will probably get you 400 miles or more on a tank. And, by the way, cars on this list are exceptions to the rule in the U.S., where the majority of cars tend to have a top range of between 300 and 400 miles:

  • Toyota Prius – 12 gallon tank, 50 mpg = 600 miles
  • Honda Civic Hybrid – 12 gallon tank, 40 mpg = 480 miles
  • Ford Fusion – 17 gallon tank, 36 mpg = 600 miles
  • Volkswagen Golf – 14 gallon tank, 35 mpg = 490 miles
  • Chevy Cruze – 13 gallon tank, 35 mpg = 455 miles

acura-being-filled-upMost gas cars don’t make it 400 miles
All told, if you do the math and assume the best miles per gallon scenario, the majority of gasoline cars on American roads do not have a range of more than 400 miles.

Basically, you need a gas tank size of 13 gallons and an average mpg of 31 to hit – just barely – the 400-mile range mark. At a tank size of 14 gallons, you need to hit 29 mpg, at 15 gallons, 27 mpg, and at 16 gallons, 25 mpg.

Yes, there are cars in the U.S. with truly gargantuan gas tanks of 20 gallons or more — for example, the Chevy Silverado, which boasts a tank size of 26 gallons — and some of these will get you more than 400 miles.

But a look at’s ratings page shows that the majority of gas hogs will not deliver a range of 400 miles, with a couple delivering a range of less than 300 miles, for example, the Jeep Compass 4WD and Ford Escape FWD.

What’s your take?

What do you think: Is it absurd that so many people expect an EV to deliver a 400-mile range before they’ll consider buying one?

What is the minimum range an EV must go in order for you to consider buying one?

Do you know the maximum range of your current gasoline car(s)?

And, finally, did you look into the maximum range of the gasoline car you bought before you plunked down the cash for it?

Related articles–>

7 Responses

  1. Anthony

    I, too, would not buy an EV car unless it could exceed 400 miles per charge, especially since my 2013 Civic can exceed that mark with ease, and can be refueled for another 400+ miles in minutes. Cany any EV be recharged within minutes? I seriously doubt it, and that’s why most people are hesitant to buy one – they still need a “real” car to take on family vacations, long weekends, etc.

    • Sunks

      Most people travel less than 40 miles to work daily (probably about a 45 minute commute one way) and the average commute is 13.6 miles. So with a 200 mile range 95% of people would commute back and forth and still have 60% of their range left. The average person would have 74% left after which leaves you plenty for running errands. Then you can recharge overnight. So clearly even 200 miles is good for a daily commuter. If you go on a road trip Tesla has super chargers that charges 170 miles per 30 minutes. 170 miles is about 2 1/2 hours of driving at 65pmh, and who drives more than that without a bathroom break and eating? Plus supercharging is free, so you can road trip for free 🙂 By 2017 Tesla will be offering a Model 6 with a 600 mile range which is eventually going to get cheaper as the economies of scale kick in.

    • Anonymous

      I think you are right in some way, however Elon just showed in this month, how he can manage “refuel” EV twice as fast than a normal gasoline car. The battery pack simply plug-gable at the bottom of the car. It means 1,5 minute per car. At least there is a solution for it. The 400 miles range is not essential, but the main thing is, to replace a car which is working ok, you would replace to a better one. EV should reach 400-500 miles per charge. Anyway we are using lithium-ion battery nowadays, but in the future maybe we would use grafen based battery, which might tripple the energy density. The other big advantage is the electricity, there is plenty ways, how you can create. (sun cells at the roof, from kinetic energy etc.) With gasoline car you haven’t this flexibility.

      So even if there is an unlikely event that the battery won’t be developed in the next 5 years, there are plenty other options, and the technology does exist.

      The only reason why electricity is so useful, that you can separate the store and the use from each other.
      Battery pack itself probably not that environment friendly. Other thing is that lithium is not that plentiful, so the price might be heavy at some point. (Think about billion EV-s, what would happen)

      At least we saw that EV has passed the minimum 300 miles range, but i do expect major improvements in the future.
      Tesla will pass 5-600 miles in the near future.

      • Christof Demont-Heinrich

        Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I think you are correct.

Leave a Reply