Siegfried Pint, the head of Audi powertrains has been talking to Autocar about the way in which the German firm plans for an electric future. He told the UK motoring magazine, “There will be a limit for range development. I don’t think it makes sense to implement a 600-mile range. There will be a customer and technical driven sweet spot in future.”
The issue he is referring to is the fact that the majority of existing EVs don’t have a massive driving range, and even the best ones only do about 300 miles/ 482 kilometres on a single full charge. Pint was saying that in time engineers will find a ‘sweet spot’ in terms of driving range, and that this was unlikely to be much further than it is already. In his view 600 miles/ 965 km just doesn’t make sense.
Why not, you may ask. Because such an extended driving range would mean the electric vehicles needed much bigger batteries and this may not prove cost-effective for the manufacturers or the customer. But, Pint is confident the industry and customers will arrive at a distance figure that feels comfortable.
This will be influenced by the development of a network of fast chargers. Currently, there is a lack of these and because of the long distances between charging points, consumers tend to think that that EVs should be able to run for longer distances. With a major network of chargers that could juice a battery up in around 15 minutes, incredibly long ranges suddenly wouldn’t be necessary. It’s a kind of chicken and egg situation.
Audi’s first electric car, the e-tron SUV, provides a 249 miles/480 km range, a figure that’s seemingly in keeping with the first electric vehicles. What tomorrow’s limit for range development may be remains unclear. It could possibly go past 300 miles or even past 400 miles to make the electric car equivalent to a traditional car with a full tank of fuel. Ultimately, it is the consumer that will decide what they want.