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electric vehicle range anxiety

‘Unrealistic’ testing for electric vehicles is triggering range anxiety in consumers

Image credit: horiba mira

The current testing regime for determining the range of electric vehicles (EVs) is “inadequate” and should be changed to help consumers overcome “range anxiety”, according to a new report from engineering firm Horiba Mira.

Horiba Mira's report claims that EVs are currently tested against a slim set of parameters with the majority at one ambient temperature level - 23°C - which is an “unrealistic” reflection of real-world driving conditions.

The firm believes that this is deterring motorists from making the switch from petrol or diesel-powered vehicles to their electric counterparts, a key part of UK efforts to achieve climate targets.

The report suggests that the UK Government should extend the conditions under which EVs are tested to produce more accurate range data, hopefully raising the credibility of EVs in turn and boosting consumer confidence and uptake. This includes extending the temperature range and conditions against which EVs are currently tested and evaluated.

Ben Gale, global solution leader at Horiba Mira, said: “The UK’s transition to EVs is critical if it wants to meet its ambitious net-zero emissions target by 2050 and a key part in speeding up public adoption is to tackle the perceptions around range anxiety.

“At present, the use of insufficient range data in real-world conditions is playing a part in fuelling range anxiety, putting many motorists off making the switch to EVs.

“Globally, vehicles are tested at just one temperature – one that is considered the ‘optimum’ for vehicle comfort and lithium-ion batteries - but when you add in air conditioning or heating requirements, additional battery power is required, depleting the published range of an EV at an alarming rate.”

The firm has been developing an advanced simulation approach that replicates real world driving conditions in order to reduce the cost and time associated with physical testing.

“By expanding the temperature range and conditions EVs are currently tested and evaluated against, we can produce more accurate range data which allows manufacturers to further optimise the design and cost of the battery; raising the credibility and attractiveness of EVs, thereby supporting adoption and improving the local environmental impact of transport,” Gale added.

“Increasing the number of people willing to switch to EVs will largely depend on a positive change in customer perceptions, particularly in tackling ‘range anxiety’. It is therefore imperative that Government, OEMs and EV manufacturers respond accordingly to accelerate EV adoption.”

The latest figures show that UK demand for alternatively fuelled cars recently decreased for the first time in 26 months, a turn of affairs which was described as “concerning” by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT has also highlighted the suffocating squeeze wrought on the UK automotive industry by Brexit uncertainty, as new car output slumped by almost 11 per cent in July off the back of weak export demand from EU and Asian countries, representing the 14th consecutive month of decline.

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