GREEN SPECIAL: Driving a BEV is all about mindset
Search Driven for Audi for sale
For many, the ownership of a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is impossible to contemplate; the perception of limited range and length of time it takes to charge are common “barriers”.
But you can convincingly argue that we’re talking about more of a problem with consumer mindset than BEV technology.
Let’s start by accepting that yes, most BEVs do not yet have the range of an equivalent petrol car, although the gap is not enormous: many modern BEVs can travel in excess of 400km (some 500-600km) on a full charge.
But it’s certainly true that it takes longer than we’re used to charge a BEV: from a couple of hours on a 50kW DC fast-charge station (quicker on a 150kW or 300kW of course) to perhaps 1-2 nights plugged in at home overnight.
It’s easy to throw in the towel at this point and ask “who can possibly wait that long?”
The simple answer is that you aren’t actually waiting most of the time. The majority of BEV charging is done at home while the owner is otherwise occupied (or sleeping mostly!). More to the point, a BEV doesn’t arrive home drained of power every single day, any more than a petrol car consumes a tank of fuel every day.
According to Ministry of Transport figures, 90 per cent of travel by car in NZ is less than 90km. The average daily distance driven is 29km and urban commuters average just 22km. A BEV offers plenty of range and charging ability for most NZ drivers, most of the time. With 85 per cent of NZ households having some form of off-street parking, overnight charging is also viable.
The most often cited examples of BEV range anxiety and impracticality tend to focus on long-distance driving – having to travel from Auckland to Wellington non-stop, or road trips as part of family holidays.
The real issues around long-distance BEV driving owe a lot to our Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) mindset, where we fill the car, drive until it’s almost empty and then fill up again. It’s a form of automotive “feasting”.
The BEV mindset is more about “grazing”. It’s more useful to charge little and often, rather than wait for the battery to be depleted and then stress about how to get it charged.
This is not so strange to us 21st century people: nobody dreams of letting their mobile phone run flat, for FOMO on the latest essential Insta or FB post. So why can’t we adopt more of that mindset when it comes to cars? Simply charge up whenever there’s an opportunity.
For long road trips, it’s true that you may have to plan a bit more around when to drive and when to charge. But with (say) 300km between stops, health and safety dictates that it’s time to take a break anyway. With the extensive range of DC fast charging facilities around NZ, that’s actually quite easy to do.
On a recent media drive with the new Audi e-tron Sportback for example, a stop at the new Hyper Charger station (300kW maximum) at Bombay saw the vehicle charging at 148kW, showing 629km of range going into the car per hour.
While BEVs cannot charge at maximum rate right through the cycle, you can still realistically add 200km-plus range into a vehicle like the e-tron in 20 minutes – plenty to finish a journey or get to the next stop.