Nissan Leaf charging

We've heard that the next big paradigm shift in electric vehicle acceptance will come with more 150- or 200-mile EVs. But a new study called Optimizing and Diversifying Electric Vehicle Driving Range for US Drivers says that cars that can go that far really won't make sense for anyone to buy until the battery cost can be dropped to $100 per kilowatt hour. Automakers today are incredibly secretive about how much each kWh in a pack costs, but it's safe to say we're nowhere near that goal just yet. Informs says that, until that threshold is reached, "the majority of US consumers for battery electric vehicles (BEV) will be better off choosing an electric vehicle with a range below 100 miles."

Why? Well, the study looked at 36,664 sample drivers and found that it is more important to focus on "deployment of charging infrastructure to improve usability of short-range BEVs" instead of building EVs that have longer ranges. Tell that to General Motors and Tesla. GM execs have talked publicly about a new EV with a 200-mile range and, well, Tesla's cars can already go the distance and we know that a cheaper version with that much range is coming. Still, the study found that cheaper batteries and a more robust charging infrastructure will have the biggest impact on optimizing EV range, not these newfangled EVs.

The study appeared in the journal Transportation Science, published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The research was done by Zhenhong Lin, senior R&D staff member at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, TN. Does it ring true with you?
Related Gallery2013 Nissan Leaf
2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf
Show full PR text
Electric vehicle consumers are better off with electric range less than 100 miles, says INFORMS Study

CATONSVILLE, MD., August 18, 2014-Until battery cost is cut down to $100 per kilowatt hour, the majority of U.S. consumers for battery electric vehicles (BEV) will be better off by choosing an electric vehicle with a range below 100 miles, according to a new study in the Articles in Advance section of Transportation Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS; http://www.informs.org).

The research suggests reconsideration of the R&D goal that battery electric vehicles should have a driving range similar to that of conventional vehicles. It also implies that the focus of policy and R&D should be on continued reduction of battery costs to make short-range BEVs more price-competitive. The focus should remain on deployment of charging infrastructure to improve usability of short-range BEVs that attract more potential buyers, as well.

The study Optimizing and Diversifying Electric Vehicle Driving Range for U.S. Drivers is by Zhenhong Lin, a senior R&D staff member at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The electric driving range of a BEV is optimized separately for each of the 36,664 sample drivers who represent U.S. new car drivers. It is based on their individual driving pattern and household vehicle flexibility. Key results are the distribution of optimized BEV range among US consumers and the change of such a distribution in response to battery cost reduction and charging infrastructure improvement.

The results of the study explain the dominance in the BEV market of products with an electric range below 100 miles, the author says.

Before the introduction of the Nissan Leaf (certified with a 73 mile electric range) in December 2010, BEV ranges were often assumed to be between 150 and 200 miles. Now, eight out of the ten BEV products on the US market are equipped with an electric range below 100 miles.

The paper extensively discusses the policy and R&D implications of the found distributions of optimal BEV range, providing insights for BEV-related policies and market strategies. The paper also includes sensitivity analysis and quantifies the significance of the optimization approach.

- This press release was written by Sandor Roberts with Barry List and Zhenhong Lin.

About INFORMS

INFORMS is the leading international association for professionals in analytics and operations research (O.R.). INFORMS advances research, and develops and promotes best practices in analytics and O.R. through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional development. INFORMS helps business, government, and other organization professionals make better decisions to drive value to their organizations and society. Our certification program (CAP®), highly cited publications, educational meetings and conferences, continuing education, industry and process focused networking communities, competitions, and recognition provide professionals with the knowledge and connections they need to achieve ever greater value for their organizations. Further information about INFORMS can be found online at www.informs.org or @informs.