How Can Big Electric Vehicles Offer More Range?
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Range anxiety is one of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle (EV) adoption. It’s hard to switch to electric if you live in an area without enough charging infrastructure.
Building charging stations in more areas will help with this, and automakers are also working on improving EV battery technology. The most obvious way to increase range is to add a bigger battery pack, but this isn’t the only solution.
How do manufacturers increase EV range?
Aerodynamics might be the key to improving EV range.
According to Green Car Reports, the approach of adding bigger battery packs is limited by cost and packaging. A bigger battery means a heavier car. If automakers use this method of increasing range, they have to consider how the additional weight will impact performance.
Some automakers are starting to try a battery swap model in order to make EVs more accessible. The benefit to battery swapping is not having to wait for your vehicle to charge. You also don’t have to rely on at-home charging if you aren’t able to install a charger where you live.
Something you might not hear about as often is that automakers have been working on reducing aerodynamic drag.
How does aerodynamic drag impact range?
Green Car Reports said that one of the most important factors for highway efficiency for EVs is aerodynamic drag. If you reduce a car’s coefficient of drag (Cd), the car will need less energy to push itself through the rush of air at high speeds. This means it can go farther even if it has the same battery pack as another car with the same size and a higher Cd.
Rolling resistance, acceleration, and other factors can contribute to fuel efficiency, but aerodynamic drag takes up about half of the energy demands of highway driving.
It’s not necessarily harder to push bigger cars through the air. The frontal area plays a big part in Cd. The Tesla Model X SUV has a lower Cd than a Lotus Elise two-seat sports car. If you consider the front area of both cars, more energy is needed to push the Lotus.
Which automakers are focusing on aerodynamics?
Tesla and other EV makers understand the importance of aerodynamics. Low drag coefficients are highlighted in their EV press materials. The Mercedes-Benz EQS boasts a 0.20 Cd. Lucid Motors advertises a 0.21 Cd for the Air.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims that the Cybertruck might be able to achieve a 0.30 Cd. The Volkswagen XL1 has an unmatched 0.189 Cd because of the frontal area of its compact car. If you’re in the market for an EV, you’ll want to look out for low drag to maximize your range.
As automakers continue to build EVs, you can expect them to continue to focus on battery technology, but also aerodynamic drag. A lower drag and efficient EV battery can help drivers feel more confident about their vehicle’s range.
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