To suggest traditional carmakers were caught napping by the rise of Tesla would be both an understatement and a misrepresentation. But many are now scrabbling to innovate after the dawning realisation that electric vehicles are the future.
Rewind to the early 2010s and the launch of the Model S, which at once kickstarted the ongoing EV boom as well as making the prospect of owning and driving an electric vehicle seem cool and desirable for the first time ever. It also, in being the product of a company, and founder, with a single primary vision, offered performance previously unseen. From the beginning, Tesla’s designers and engineers were obsessed with range. Straight off the forecourt, the car could do 200 miles between charges, with an optional long-range battery pack boosting that to above 300 miles per charge.
Other manufacturers were amazed, but slow to act. Despite making positive statements around their intent to adopt EVs, traditional carmakers were really only paying lip service while Tesla sped hundreds of miles down the road ahead of them. Some even downplayed the situation, claiming widespread EV ownership to be decades away.
Now, with battery technology and charging infrastructure improving (and the growing popularity of home car charging stations), more and more manufacturers are keen to make a play of their range figures, pushing them to the fore in marketing collateral. It’s as though they’ve all woken up at once. But to suggest they’d all been napping would let those who deliberately downplayed the rise of EVs off the hook.
Not all EV makers care about range, but those who do make regular noise about their range figures, knowing how important the metric is to drivers. The trouble is, the headline stats the manufacturers promote are ‘estimates’ – a best guess as to how far the car can travel in between charges. This means it falls to testers to find out the real mileage.
Away from Tesla, Hyundai are leading the range charge with their Kona Electric, which does 259 miles per charge, closely followed by the Jaguar I-Pace and Kia e-Niro, which both deliver to the tune of 253 miles between charges. These figures are still some way off what the Model S can achieve, but they have been verified by independent testers. They also show a group of legacy carmakers taking range seriously, proving it’s all the rage.
Will we see more innovation as carmakers race to outdo each other in the range stakes? Almost certainly we will. The only potential roadblock is the rock-bottom price of oil globally, whose low cost may make the idea of continuing to develop the internal combustion engine desirable to traditional manufacturers, meaning gas-guzzlers may have a few miles left in them yet. But for the cleanest, greenest, most cost-effective way to get around, it’s EVs all the way.
Are you thinking about getting a home EV charging station installed? Speak to our team today to find out more. Government grants are available to cover costs, making now the perfect time to get your charge point.
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