Are Extended Range Electric Vehicles the Way Forward?

Are extended range electric vehicles the way forward?
Are extended range electric vehicles the way forward?

In a perfect world there would be no need to add range extenders to the modern day electric vehicle but the reality is that journey capacity is not quite there as yet. As a consequence, more and more electric car manufacturers are including extended range systems to their vehicles, which is certainly creating a large amount of discussion within electric vehicle forums.

There are obviously many opinions and many views on extended range systems with EV fanatics that are perhaps not as positive about these systems as those looking from the outside inwards. So, what are the pros and cons of extended range systems and how long should we expect them to be around before battery packs are able to take up the slack?

Confidence for electric vehicle drivers

In order for any new product or any new sector to be successful there needs to be confidence in the ability to deliver what is promised. A number of polls in the U.S. have suggested that many would-be electric vehicle drivers are concerned about journey capacity at the moment, looking at around 300 miles per battery charge as a turning point, which is impacting sales. As a consequence, many electric vehicle manufacturers have looked towards extended range systems which use traditional fuels such as gasoline/diesel to power an on-board motor which effectively powers the electric motor system.

Quote from ElectricForum.com : "In what could turn out to be one of the major battery technology events of the last 100 years, Stanford University has announced the creation of the first self-healing battery."

Some electric vehicle enthusiast would suggest this is a "cheat" because while you are not using traditional fuel to power the vehicle, i.e. move the wheels, a traditional motor is being used to recharge batteries and power the electric propulsion system. However, do the benefits of an extended range system out-weigh the technicalities?

How long will we need extended range systems?

At this moment in time the modern day battery is not able to offer the range capacity which many would-be electric vehicle drivers expect. There is some discussion as to whether we are on the verge of major changes in the battery technology sector or whether indeed we will need range extenders for the foreseeable future. There have been rumours of new battery technology, significantly increasing current journey capacity, although as you might expect many of these rumoured new technologies are top-secret and very little will be known until they are ready to hit the market.

The fact remains that range extenders do play an integral part in the development and growth of the electric vehicle market and will likely do so for the foreseeable future. If nothing else, as electric vehicle charging networks grow, these backup systems do offer some support and some confidence to those who may perhaps not have acquired an electric vehicle.

Conclusion

Whether or not you believe that extended range systems are a "cheat" in relation to the pure electric vehicle market the fact remains that motorists need to have a confidence in the vehicle they are driving. Journey capacity in a pure electric vehicle is not quite comparative with its diesel/gasoline counterpart as yet but the signs are that new battery technology will come online very soon. In the meantime, it looks as though range extension systems will be the norm for many people but they will ultimately improve confidence in the sector going forward.