Optimal Range for a US Electric Vehicle (EV)

Letter to the Editor New York Times 28 August 2022 [1]

Journalist Edward Niedermeyer Aug 27th Guest Essay “You Want an Electric Car With a 300-Mile Range?…” is a poorly thought-out exegesis of the state and direction of electric vehicle configurations and market dynamics. Mr. Niedemeyer also does not seem to appreciate the time scales required for developing supply chains for new technologies or manufacturing cost curves with volume.

As Mr. Niedermeyer points out, in the United States, drivers go on average 40 miles a day. [2,3] While he focuses his critique on driving range for battery sizing, charging period and charging performance are equally important.

At the current time in development, electric vehicle 320 mile range batteries are an optimal choice in the United States for a number of reasons.

For general daily use, the optimal maximum charge level is 80%. Most drivers would want a 15% reserve (~48 miles) which leaves an effective range of 240 miles and would provide for charging the vehicle for general use once a week.

When on trips, DC Fast Charging operates at high rates to 80% state of charge. In general, a 320 mile range battery will provide 240 mile distance between charging stops. For US highway driving that would be every 3-4 hours.

Similarly for Bloomberg News Ira Bourdway
Americans Have Always Bought Too Much Car. Now They’re Doing It With EVs
Bloomberg from Hyperdrive

  1. Needless to say the NYT didn’t publish this letter
  2. UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies
    No, electric vehicles aren’t driven less than gas cars 2021
  3. Average Annual Miles per Driver by Age Group 2022
    US Dept Transportation Federal Highway Administration

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