Revisiting How Much Electric Car Range Is Enough: Maybe 120 Miles?

By · April 07, 2014

Toyota RAV4 EV

For the most part, the RAV4 EV looks like a regular RAV. That disguises its sizable battery pack, capable of 120 miles of range or more.

A gas-powered car with a full tank of petrol can commonly travel 300 miles before requiring a fill-up. Drivers of those vehicles probably don’t see much difference between an electric car that has 80 miles of range—versus one that can go 120 miles before needing to fill-up. But that difference, I have learned in the past two weeks, is huge.

That’s because I recently leased a 2014 Toyota RAV4 EV—when the three-year lease on my 2011 Nissan LEAF came to an end. (Toyota’s $16,500 discount on the vehicle made it hard to pass up.) The jump in range from the LEAF’s 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack—the electric version of a gas tank—to the RAV’s 41.8 kWh pack, means range has increased from about 80 miles to 120 miles.

Official EPA numbers are 84 miles and 103 miles respectively, but that doesn’t pass the sniff test. I’ll assume that the LEAF, a smaller vehicle, can go about 3.5 miles on a kilowatt-hour—yielding a little better than 80 miles of range. Meanwhile, even at an inefficient 3 miles-per-kWh for the RAV4 EV, the 41.8 kWh pack offers more than 120 miles of range.

As usual, your mileage may vary. But there’s a bigger point: in my daily driving around all regions of the Bay Area, I simply don’t worry about range anymore. The 50 percent increase in battery size from LEAF to RAV has zapped any lingering range anxiety.

Of course, I’m still not taking long road trips. For those rare occasions, I have a gas-guzzling Prius. And maybe one day I’ll buy a plug-in hybrid. (The Audi A3 PHEV looks hot.)

Meanwhile, I’m riding around in a comfortable and spacious all-electric crossover SUV with none of the worries I used to have in a compact small-battery EV.

Categories of Range

This leads me to believe that there are roughly four bands of usability in today’s electric cars, as reflected in this list of battery-electric vehicles organized by battery size. (Again, the rule of thumb is about 3.5 miles of range per kilowatt-hour.)

Just-Local Cheap EVs

  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV – 16 kWh
  • Smart ForTwo Electric Drive – 17 kWh

Just-Local-Plus Affordable EVs

  • Chevrolet Spark – 21 kWh
  • BMW i3 – 22 kWh
  • Ford Focus Electric – 23 kWh
  • Fiat 500e – 24 kWh
  • Nissan LEAF – 24 kWh
  • Volkswagen E-Golf – 24 kWh
  • Mercedes B-Class E-Cell – 28 kWh

Long-Range But Expensive EVs

  • Tesla Model S – 60 kWh
  • Tesla Model S – 85 kWh

I skipped over the fourth band, currently with a single vehicle. It's tougher to name this category, but here goes:

The Slightly Expensive But No-Anxiety Regional EV

  • 41.8 kWh Toyota RAV4 EV

My experience confirms what J.B. Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer, told me a couple of years ago: "A functional minimum we should aim for is the 125- to 150-mile range.”

While manufacturers are still trying to bake the cost our of EV batteries, it’s going to be tricky to offer the higher end of that minimum at an acceptable price. But after driving the RAV4 EV for a few weeks, I’m starting to feel like I know which electric car Goldilocks would drive. The cars in the category with the biggest clump get 80 or 90 miles on a good day, and 60 to 70 miles if driven with alacrity or in cold/hot weather. That's not quite enough. (Mr. Auto Exec: Are you listening?)

Goldilocks might like the big-battery Tesla’s 250-plus miles of range, but it doesn’t mean much, if she can’t afford it. And then there’s the 40-kWh pack, similar to the one put into the RAV4 EV. Hmm. Until battery prices come significantly down toward the end of this decade, that’s feeling just about right.


· · 4 years ago

I agree that 120 mile range means that most people could drive all over town and still get home to charge overnight.

But DC Quick Charge is almost as good as having a battery that's 80% larger than the 24kWh that seems standard-issue these days.

So does it make sense that all EVs have batteries that cost twice as much (at least $6,000 more at today's prices), or as Tesla has demonstrated with the Supercharger network, to build another $2,000 into the price of the car and build out a fast charge network?

I'd rather have QC in my Ford Focus Electric and Fiat 500e than saddle either of those cars with a battery twice as expensive, twice as heavy, and twice as big. Neither can afford to give up that much space.

Until recently the net cost to install a Nissan CHAdeMO 50kW charger was estimated at $13,000 after incentives. Just a bit more than the cost of two of those double sized batteries. A charger like that would almost double the range for perhaps 32 cars assuming a typical 15 hour service window (it need not be closed at night, but I'll assume very low usage from 11pm to 7 am).

The vast majority of cars are not going to need to use that QC in their service area on a daily basis, so the number of cars that the QC supports is much higher, probably on the order of 5-10x

Lets be conservative and say 5x. So we could make a very compelling case that one QC saves the cost of 158 batteries x $6,000 = $948,000.

I guess the only remaining questions is why aren't we building these things faster?

· · 4 years ago

As an owner of TWO family LEAFs I don't doubt that the increased range of the (CALIFORNIA ONLY) RAV4 EV has been a boon to the author of this piece. I've felt similarly when we emerge from the long winter here in high altitude Colorado and suddenly find that 80+mile journeys are routine in situations where during the coldest temperatures getting 50 miles required at least some hypermiling.

But is 120 "enough"? Well, seriously, enough for WHAT? 120 is better than 80, but only marginally so because you still have limits. I think Telsa got it right - 300 in their highest price model S (realistically a reliable 240) means that you have to stop every 3.5-4 hours for half an hour to supercharge, and most of us will stop that often anyway. Anything less and you are making compromises.

As an EV adopter I have no problem making compromises, but realistically before EVs are mainstream that is where range will have to be.

· · 4 years ago

Interesting article, surely will spur responses. Larger batteries are the key to widespread adoption of EV's. But, made an excellent point, that simply upgrading charging capabilities will alleviate much of the strain and worry about range. Most of us have now driven electric long enough to know our daily range average, as well as our "once in a while" extreme situation. There are enough exceptions to the "average" that we realize having 120 mile range is hugely helpful. It may not get us 300 miles per charge, but if we have that 40 KW battery, AND the QC option, there are very few places we could not drive to in a reasonable manner. For 4 years my wife and I used to drive from Philly to Central NY state where our son was a college student. 225 mile trip, would never even have considered trying it in an EV(which were not even available then) and could not yet do it(because of lack of QC charging as well as smaller batter size prevalent in today's consumer EV). But if it had the 120 mile range, had QC, and we had QC stations along the way, it would have been quite doable. We'd drive about 90 miles, stop in the Poconos on the PA Turnpike, take about 30 minutes for some food. Then drive another 60 miles until a rest stop at the NY border, again another 20 minutes or so, then 60 minutes for the last leg. With good QC charging, and a large enough(but not huge) battery, this could be done in an EV.


· · 4 years ago

The sweet spot is only needing to charge at home. Driving over 2,000 miles per month in my LEAF for the past two years means that 120-150 miles per charge is what I need. The RAV4 EV doesn't have DC charging, but it probably doesn't need it. Even for a heavy commuter like me, 120 miles would mean only needing to charge at home most days. Only 8 more months on my LEAF lease......

· · 4 years ago

@Brian - I agree with you. I realize that everybody's driving needs are slightly different, but I don't have any qualms about the lack of a DCQC in the RAV. I paid more for the quick-charge port in the LEAF that I drove for the past three years. I used it about six times, and found the experience less than satisfying. The chargers were out of the way, and sitting there waiting for an 80-percent charge over a 30-minute period, just to go another 60 or so miles, was a pain. I'd rather build in the capability right into the car, with 120+ miles waiting for me in the driveway every morning.

I know it means no long road trips, but like I said, I'm lucky enough to have another efficient long-range car in the family. Meanwhile, for all of my regional driving, I'm all-electric in a fully capable car. As I've said before, the RAV4 is like the poor man's Tesla (because it uses Tesla technology). Remember, Tesla at first offered a 40 kWh pack in the Model S. It didn't make sense for the luxury sedan platform, but a small crossover SUV is a nice application.

Do I want more than 120 miles? Sure, if it didn't drive the price up too high. But my main point is that 120 miles feels right for alleviating any worry in regional driving. I've been in the car for about three weeks, and have not yet once come back home without a decent amount of range to spare--even on trips that, in the LEAF, would have had me a bit worried.

· · 4 years ago

I'm not surprised that you found the QC charge experience less than satisfying Brad, because as you said, the QC was out of your way. One if the reasons gasoline is so convenient is that it is so readily available. If all manufacturers were as committed to rolling out QC as Tesla is, at the locations needed, neither of those "pain points" would be felt.

I applaud Nissan for rolling out CHAdeMO DC quick charge to support the Leaf, but they are siting the QCs at Nissan dealers because it is convenient for Nissan, not the customer. A dealer sales lot is very unlikely to be adjacent to a location that you will be stopping at anyway, and thus not waiting.

A QC at a mall, or other location that is on your route and will provide other needed services, would completely solve that problem.

This is happening now (kudos to NRG eVgo, Simon and Kimco!)

· · 4 years ago

Nissan could have a winner, if they increased the range rather than decreasing the price. The price decrease of $6000 that they did could have easily added another 12KW of battery.

· · 4 years ago

Public chargers are irrelevant because (at least in illinois) 50% of the chargers are ICE-ed and about 30% are broken. The change of finding a public charger that you can actually use is very small and I would not think that anybody would plan to use one because there is a huge chance that you will get stuck.

Bigger batteries it is unless public chargers become so abundant that you are guaranteed to get a charge when you need it.

For now I stick with my Volt. If there was a Volt with 80 miles battery range then I would be very very happy.

· · 4 years ago

Brad you should join us on the Toyota Rav4EV Facebook group. Lively group!

Good article

· · 4 years ago

Probably the biggest enemy of more widespread EV adoption is the zealotry of its advocates. For most drivers most of the time a 40 - four zero - mile range is 'good enough'. For those rare occasions when you need 'more', there is a (let's say it out loud) gas-powered generator, AKA 'range extender'.

Even if we eventually see an affordable battery with the energy density of gasoline, the notion that the grid could be extended to support a dense network of superchargers rivaling today's network of gas stations seems far-fetched. Could someone who has actually used a supercharger tell me how long it actually (takes to charge to just 80%, right?)?

If it is some multiple of how long it takes to fill a gas tank, isn't it reasonable to assume you would need that multiple of charging stations together with a grid infrastructure capable of supplying that level of peak demand? It seems to me that this vision of a national network of superchargers ranks right up there with the hydrogen-powered cars.

So... How about we settle for 'good enough' and get on with it? For those for whom an all-electric vehicle is 'good enough', lucky you. (If the rumored Nissan LEAF 'Lizard' battery had been available when I leased mine, it could have been 'lucky me'.) Even for 'range-extended' EVs you have to crunch some numbers. If you routinely exceed the electric-only range of say a Volt, you are probably better off in a non-plug-in hybrid or even - dare I say it?? - an ICE.

· · 4 years ago

I'm curious to know what kind of plug-in you're driving, w2s. You're right, most people don't have any need for more than 40 miles of range on a typical day to get back and forth from work. With widespread workplace charging, not only do you start the day with full range, but you end your work day with max range too. For most people that could even be accomplished with 120v charging.

But for those occasions that you need to go to the edge of a metro area and back, QC fills the bill quite capably.

When on a long trip, a Tesla Model S 85 will recharge to 80%, adding 210 miles of range, or another three hours of driving, in about 45 minutes. It generally takes me longer to eat a meal and use the facilities, which, after three hours on the road, I'm ready to do.

In town, it's much simpler. My 44 mile round trip commute is capably handled by either the Ford Focus Electric or Fiat 500e. No QC needed. I generally charge at work just in case I decide to run an errand in the evening that would require the extra range, although that takes less than an hour, always.

But when I need to run up to North County in the evening after work, a 90 mile round trip, a QC would make that trip as easy as it would be in any gas car I've ever driven. Or if I want to go from SD to Orange County, a QC would make that trip easy, especially since EV Oasis has strategically placed a Fuji Electric
Quick Charger in exactly the right place for SD to OC trips.

And I'd much rather pay a few bucks a month for the use of that QC only when I need it, than $6,000 for
a bigger battery or several thousand for an ICE I not only need to fuel, but maintain.

I'm willing to give anyone a personal demonstration of that 45 minute Supercharge session this May, when I'll be driving all over California, letting people drive the Model S as part of the Electric Car Guest Drive. My contact info is on the web site.

· · 4 years ago

Another well-written article, Brad. I agree with most of you regarding the ‘good enough’ factor of the majority of electric vehicles. I think you can technically add the BMW i3 to the long-range category because of BMW’s strategy to loan an ICE for a long journey. This will probably cover the majority of people who want to retain the possibility of road tripping. I looked at the Audi A-3 phev and compared it against the Honda Accord phev and could not come to a concrete decision, neither seems to be exactly right. Most of my driving is commuting (just like most peoples) and so I want the practical choice that allows an acceptable solution for those fluke occasions. Currently, I think the best and most practical choice would be to go for the LIT C-1 (670+ MPGe!!!) in order to fulfill the 90% of my needs and keep the old ICE for the remainder. No sense in the phev that is still wasteful for commuting purposes or a super expensive electric car that will go underutilized a majority of the time.

p.s. I created a thread on the discussion page about What if Tesla bought Lit motors. I would like to read your opinions.

· · 4 years ago

150 miles to 200 miles would be enough.

You have to include weather, terrain and speed related range degradation. Also, battery degradation would have to be included as well.

So, a 150 miles to 200 miles car in a steep terrain in the winter with heat usage after 7 years might only have 100 miles range....

· · 4 years ago - I'm driving a 2013 Volt. I leased a 2011 LEAF and drove it for two Tucson AZ summers 30 miles and 6000 feet up a nearby mountain before contracting an acute case of range anxiety. I'd mentioned to my dealer that the ability to make that trip was a deal-maker or breaker. The dealer was correct in saying it could - for the first two summers (and who knows, maybe one more as well). But the heat and deep cycling were clearly taking their toll. Once I got past the phone monkeys at Nissan, they were great in acknowledging the 2011 LEAF and I were not a good fit.

P.S. It is probably safer to say something like "If your regular commute doesn't exceed the range your battery can achieve WITHOUT DEEP-CYCLING, EVs are 'good enough' for you right now."

· · 4 years ago

@world2steven. Thanks very much for the additional info. I'm genuinely as interested in finding out what doesn't work, as what does. To avoid that zealotry thing ;-)

Do you have any other observations on the Volt vs Leaf experience since your swap?

· · 4 years ago

Brad - I am in the same situation as you with a 2011 Leaf coming off lease soon. I'm looking at the RAV for exactly the same reason. The Leaf can make it from Marin to San Jose but certainly not comfortably. The real usable range without nerves is around 50 miles (get to your destination with 3 bars). What is the real-life range of the Toy? Can you give us some sample trips you've taken and remaining battery?

· · 4 years ago - Last weekend was the first time in the 16 months I've driven my Volt that I really needed its range extender. It was a 37 mile trip with a 1300 foot elevation gain. I made 36 miles before the gas generator kicked in - and probably could have made the entire trip from the east side of Tucson to the Biosphere if I'd been willing to make even a modest attempt at energy economy. That was at least a little disappointing because I routinely get (or at least the Volt's range estimator says I would get) between 45 and 48 miles. The one time I pushed it to see what I WOULD get, it was 47 if I recall correctly.

IMHO 45 minutes is too long to have to wait to 'fill up your tank'. Assuming it takes 2 minutes to fill a 10 gallon tank, isn't that saying an interstate 'gas' station would have to have at least 20X more 'pumps' to service the same level of customer demand?

· · 4 years ago


If you do an extended charge on the RAV, you can make it from Marin City to San Jose (62 miles) and back without charging. It is very easy to get 3.2mi/kWh in the RAV driving on I-280 with cruise control at the 65mph speed limit. Also, driving on 19th Ave in B mode will help improve your efficiency further.

I routinely drive from Los Altos to San Francisco (44mi) and back at about 70mph and have 30+ miles remaining.

· · 4 years ago

Reading the comments, it is apparent that there are a variety of points, all of which have some validity, regarding the question of a larger battery vs QC charging. That was not the intention of Brad's article but it opened that discussion up nonetheless. My late in-laws would have had no need for either a larger battery nor a QC option. The most they drove was a bit under 5K per year. Trips to the doctor's, the grocery store, drugstore or maybe the post office were about all they ever made. For them a 72 mile car would have made perfect sense. In my case, in addition to the I-MiEV we have an ICE van, 12 years old and in less than great shape, so having an EV with a larger battery plus QC charging would be ideal. Ideal because the larger battery would not need to be a LOT larger, and having the QC option means I'd have the ability to take that occasional longer trip. Others can get by nicely with just a 125 mile range battery, and still others could really use 200+ mile range. My sense is that there will eventually be a host of options available, depending on a customer's preferences as well as financial situation, etc. I do agree that when batteries become more affordable in larger sizes, and we are more certain of the long range life of the batteries(degradation) some of the importance of QC charging will diminish. Workplace charging also reduces the need for QC if batteries are a little bigger, and means a much smoother and hassle free EV experience for most of us. There are a lot of "issues" to consider, none of which are deal killers for EV's , but they will factor into the equation.


· · 4 years ago

@ world2steven > isn't that saying an interstate 'gas' station would have to have at least 20X more 'pumps' to service the same level of customer demand?

I don't believe so. Gas cars don't charge at home. The vast majority of EV charging is going to be overnight, both because it's convenient, and because there is a strong economic incentive (rates are 1/3 is most places). That's not much savings in an hour, but it's a lot at the end of the year - perhaps 1/2 your car payment.

The QC is for the odd trip outside your normal daily commute. That might only happen a few times a month for most people. For some, as JKDLOU just pointed out, never. Those folks are using gas stations though, for every mile they drive.

· · 4 years ago


Yes, there are a LOT of people that can use what Brad calls "Just Local" and "Just Local Plus" cars. I've had a RAV4 EV for almost a year. My wife has said it's definitely "your car" when in the past we never really had a strong preference for "his" and "hers" cars, we just used the gas cars interchangeably. Recently though, she has initiated conversations like "When was the last time we took a road trip?" It turns out that we have not left the Bay Area in a car in about 20 months except to go pick up the RAV. She also asked "Is the Leaf a lot cheaper than your car?". She must be thinking that we can ditch the old gasser soon. I wasn't going to push for it because it's definitely her turn to pick the next car. I will lobby strongly for a plug-in of some sort, but at this point I'm not in a hurry due to the increasing choices over the coming couple years. However, if she wants to take a 3 year lease on a short range car, it will probably be cheaper than maintaining our 2001 Passat Wagon that has 130k mi. If we do so, we'll probably just swap cars with a family member the next time we want to take a trip to LA or Tahoe.

There are people talking about making a CHAdeMO adapter for the RAV. I was thinking about how much it would be worth to me. In the end, I won't get it unless there are CHAdeMO stations along the way to places I can't reach today. If there was DCQC along the 101 corridor on the Central Coast and maybe one in Auburn, CA, I would really consider it.

· · 4 years ago

@Mike I,

On the Leaf with a full charge from Larkspur I'm down to 10/12 midway on the GGB; by SFO on 101 at 7/12; and Palo Alto (San Antonio) at 4/12. I plug in there and it takes a bit under 4 hours (@ 3.7kw) to fully recharge. That's with no HVAC and careful driving. The car reports 4.3miles/kwh average.

· · 4 years ago


According to Google Maps, Larkspur to 101 & San Antonio is only 50 miles. You can easily do that round trip in a RAV4 EV without charging. 100 miles / 3.2mi/kWh is only 31.2kWh. Standard Charge on a RAV is about 35kWh, Extended Charge is reportedly 41.8kWh. If you started with an Extended Charge, you might get back to Larkspur with 5/16 bars left on the gauge. This is because the Extended Charge energy above Standard Charge is hidden above 16/16 bars. Just another RAV4 EV quirk.

· · 4 years ago

120 miles is my vote.

Had the Leaf. Loved the car, hated the range. Often found myself cursing the need for more than one charge in a day or having to spend so much time planning my day around charging stations. Phoenix is a 500 sq. mi. metro, so that can get frustrating.

Have a Volt. Like the Volt, but it's not quite love. The roughly 40 mile range (easily doable), is perfect for my daily driving, charging habits, and I went about 9 months without pulling into a gas station.

Have a RAV4EV. Love, love, love the RAV. It's my wife's commuter, as was the Leaf, and although we've never charged it to 100%, we've never felt range anxiety. It always seems to have enough range, no matter what, and the GOM is pretty accurate. My only wishes are that it had Supercharger access so we could drive it on trips, and that it could be repaired outside of California.

But bottom line, 120 miles of range means no range anxiety for us. Wish they would've kept the 40kW option for the Model S:(

· · 4 years ago

@Mike I

So sounds like the 41.8kwh on the RAV is mostly usable. I don't believe we even get 20kwh on the Leaf otherwise in normal driving we would get 85+ miles. The 4.3m/kwh the car shows does coincide with the charging electric use. The 50 mile trip to Palo Alto consumes about 2/3 of the battery according to the display.Maybe Nissan is being very protective of the battery at the expense of range.

What's the street price of a RAV? I heard there are all kinds of discounts floating around. Best dealers?

· · 4 years ago - We are saying the same thing: "The vast majority of EV charging is going to be overnight, both because it's convenient, and ..." My point was supposed to be that you would need to have about 20x more quick-charging stations than gas pumps at those gas stations that service inter-city traffic just to have the same access to a quick-charger - and you would still have to wait 20x as long to 'fill up'.

When you can quick / level 2 charge at home, at work or at some destination like an amusement park where you are going to stay long enough to charge without forced idleness, EVs are GREAT! But to pretend that they can or should take the place of ICEs for everyone without some break-through technology like a workable version of A Better Place or pump-in battery-charging material (was that just more vaporware?) is just zealotry.

· · 4 years ago


The GOM (Guess-O-Meter) in the RAV is more conservative than the Leaf. You can almost always go further than it says and it never suddenly drops.

Leasing is the way to go because of the big incentive from Toyota. See this info thread at

I didn't buy mine at a NorCal dealer, so I don't know which sales departments are good. Toyota Palo Alto does a good job servicing it though. I know people that have had heaters, DC/DC converters, and drive units replaced under warranty there.

· · 4 years ago

Welcome to the Rav4 EV. The 41.8kWh is indeed "usable", and trying to compare to unusable 24kWh is not realistic. The LEAF has about 21.3kWh usable when the battery is at room temperature and new.

The huge differences are that the 41.8kWh usable is temperature controlled, therefore consistent, and the battery doesn't degrade rapidly like the LEAF in heat.

The range at 65mph on a level, no wind road with a new condition battery and no climate control with 70F ambient air temperature:

LEAF - 84 miles (21kWh usable * 4.0 miles per kWh (250 wattHours per mile)
Rav4 - 142 miles (41.8kWh usable * 3.4 miles per kWh (295 wattHours per mile)

· · 4 years ago

@TonyWilliams - Hi Tony, What about the reputed forthcoming Lizard battery from Nissan? If indeed it can take the heat, can it also be deep cycled?

· · 4 years ago

@world2steven: no earth shattering breakthroughs needed, just more Teslas ;-)

· · 4 years ago

@Mike I

I was really getting excited to get a RAV4 EV,maybe even early to get the $299 lease, until I read the blogs you sent me in which various people talked about serious failure problems. Seems like Toyota should have recalled and made changes in subsequent model years but since this appears to be a one-shot run to 2600 units, it wasn't worth their time. Arguably this vehicle should have been a number one hit in the EV market with the right size, right range and excellent pedigree.

· · 4 years ago

Great article Berman. It reflects my experience going from Leaf to Rav exactly. I've always thought of "range" as an area of a circle, with me in the center, not point A to B. So the increase in "area" I can travel too in a Rav is much more than twice the area of a Leaf:)

Hey Williams... where's that Chademo upgrade for the RAV. Still patiently waiting.

· · 4 years ago

Yup, I'm another 80 mile LEAF TO 125+ mile RAV4 convert. The extra miles of charge and the ability to drive at 65-70 mph without losing a lot of range have been fantastic. Living in Santa Cruz, it's been wonderful to now be able to go over the hill to Silicon Valley and back with plenty of range for running errands. Or to make a trip from Santa Cruz up to the north bay, (Fairfield or Richmond) easily, without taking it easy on the freeway, and not need to stop halfway to recharge. Just charge up at the destination, at up to 10kWh (or 30 miles per hour, sweet!) with the onboard charger.

And yes, there have been reliability issues for some, but not for everybody (not myself and many others) and it sounds like Toyota and Tesla have finally been getting a handle on these. For lots more info, go to forum.

· · 4 years ago

My Leaf lease is up in a week and won't get another one because of the range. After babying the car for three years I have noticed some range loss. Not a lot, but with a car that only went 60-70 miles per charge in the first place any loss of range is frustrating. I have had a couple of days where I got home with one bar left and the car telling me to charge after 54 mile of 55 mph and under driving in mild CA winter weather. More fast chargers are now conveniently located on my route, but it is too little too late. My Tesla will arrive a week after my lease is up. The Rav4 would have done the job and fit my lifestyle better but Toyota's lack of commitment to it did not instill confidence. 120 miles is great but no one who is committed to an EV is making one. The Tesla will never give me the range anxiety I've had with the Leaf and that is why my wife and ultimately decided to stretch financially to buy one.

· · 4 years ago

The CHAdeMO project for the Rav4 EV is indeed progressing. If anybody has interest in it, send your name, phone number and city/state to:

I expect something concrete before the end of 2014.


The answer about the new LEAF battery is "I'll believe it when I see it" and after through heat related testing.


Here's some comparison data that I've developed:

Mercedes B-Class ED battery

36.0kWh total – 100% SOC
33.2kWh usable- 95.0% SOC
28.0kWh usable- 80.0% SOC
1.0kWh unusable- 2.7% SOC

Rav4 EV with Tesla drivetrain:

45.0kWh total – 100% SOC
41.8kWh usable- 95.1% SOC = [( 41.8 + 1.0) / 45]
35.0kWh usable- 80.0% SOC = [( 35.0 + 1.0) / 45]
1.0kWh unusable- 2.2% SOC = [1.0) / 45]

Range at 65mph (100km ground speed) on dry, hard surface level road with no wind or cabin climate control with new condition battery at 70F:

B-Class ED - 3.8 miles per kWh (263 wattHours per mile) * 33.2kWh = 126 miles

Rav4 EV - 3.4 miles per kWh (295 wattHours per mile) * 41.8kWh = 142 miles

LEAF - 4 miles per kWh (250 wattHours per mile) * 21.3kWh = 85.2 miles

· · 3 years ago

A real 120 mile range would convert me to all electric as long as I had a second family car available for long drives.

I just find it hard to believe QC will be the way to go. Even if it's only 30 min to charge a large battery. The reality would seem that there would not be many of these in a 10 mile stretch of highway. A driver would plan to use a high percentage of his/her battery charge before stopping to re-charge. Opps, someone else's Tesla is using the QC. Now my planned wait is at least an hour. or

do I risk using the remaining charge to try to make it to the next QC? Damn it's out of order today...Tow truck time.

For longer drives, would it be practical to have a Volt like generator (albeit smaller, one speed, high efficient) that is not intended to handle full drive power, but the driver could choose to have it running the entire trip continuously re-charging the battery (even while at pit stops), thereby extending the range for these more rare trips, or even those trips that you know will be slightly out of range?

· · 3 years ago

Lucky for us the new group of EV's will have 200+ mile range at an affordable price. GM has the BOLT, Nissan has the LEAF gen 3 and Tesla has the model III. It will be the magic range that allows everyone to drive and plugin.
The Tesla that could also have Super Charging on the model III would be the biggest winner. By 2016-2017 they will have over 300 location in the USA and trips will be no problem. Their charging is also free once you get that option which is $2K on a model S 60, included on the S85. Range what range?

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