Auto Industry / Electric Cars

Toyota Developing 600+ Mile Battery; Nissan Says Long Range EV’s Unnecessary

Toyota Developing 600+ Mile Battery; Nissan Says Long Range EV’s Unnecessary

As the world’s automakers slowly move to embrace electric vehicles, each brand or group is taking a decidedly different approach to EV’s and hybrids. Just look at the vastly different approaches of Toyota and Nissan. While Toyota is working to develop a battery with 600+ miles of range, Nissan says that 95% of Americans only need 100 miles of range a day.

Driver’s Don’t Need Long Range EV’s…

Batteries are by far the biggest expense factor when it comes to electric cars, and contribute to the bloated MSRP’s of cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. Another supposed shortcoming of electric vehicles are their limited range, with the Leaf officially rated at just 73 miles in average driving. And while many consumers claim they want more range, according to Nissan, they don’t actually need it.

Nissan cites data it collected from Leaf drivers that shows the average Leaf driver only travels about 37 miles per day, and the average trip was only seven or so miles. Nationwide, 72% of drivers travel less than 40 miles a day, and 95% of Americans travel less than 100 miles a day. The problem is that if you do want to travel a significant distance, you are limited by an EV’s range. American consumers may not need that extra range…but they want it available should they need it, some day.

…But Consumers Want Long Range EV’s

Toyota meanwhile is taking the opposite approach. Japan’s largest automaker is close to finishing a solid-state battery with 600 miles or more of range on a single charge in a compact electric vehicle. In “existing” vehicles the battery would only provide 124 miles or so of range…but that’s still a major improvement over just 73 miles provided by the current Nissan Leaf. The battery could be ready for production between 2015 and 2020, though there is no mention of costs or charging time, two huge factors in EV acceptance. And while 600 miles of range on a single charge sounds nice, the huge difference in range between “compact” and “existing” cars raised my eyebrows. When they say compact, do they mean a car…or a golf cart?

I like Tesla’s scheme best; base pricing on range. The Model S sedan will be available in 160 mile, 230 mile, and 300+ mile flavors, with a $10,000 price bump between models. I think the major OEM’s need to take a look at this pricing strategy, as some people may only need that 60 or 70 miles a day. Other people will surely pay a premium for extra mileage if it is priced right.

So which strategy do you think will win out? Is Nissan right that people don’t need a lot of range, or will Toyota become an EV leader with its 600+ mile battery? Or is Tesla doing it right with their priced-by-range method? Let me know down in the comments!

Source: AutoObserver | Nikkei

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A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.