It seems as though the biggest issue facing electric cars isn’t the big bad oil industry, but rather over zealous mileage claims by the manufacturers that build them. As Nissan prepares to launch its new Leaf EV, the company is sticking to its claim that the vehicle will be able to achieve 100 miles on a single charge. That’s more than enough for the daily round-trip commute for the vast majority of Americans, but what happens if the total distance is more like 70 miles? That’s simple: you’ll have a lot of disappointed customers, word will spread and the already shaky enthusiasm about electric cars will suffer a serious blow.
And there’s reason to suspect Nissan’s 100 mile claim might be a little high. That reason is history.
Currently MINI is testing a fleet of electric MINI Es in both the U.S. and Europe, and along with reports of the power depleting much faster when the thermometer drops, the vast majority of drivers aren’t getting anywhere near the manufacturer quoted range. In fact, MINI initially listed the MINI E with a range of 156 miles and later changed that to 100 miles, with most owners seeing just 80 miles on a charge.
Besides, its not like EVs are alone on this issue either, with conventional gasoline engines never seeming to achieve their EPA rated miles per gallon either. And while the problem certainly isn’t exclusive to electric cars, the fact that MINI E owners are only getting half of the original estimated mileage out of their cars doesn’t bode well for the Leaf or Nissan’s claims.