Skip advert
Advertisement

“We need reliable charging infrastructure before we worry about 600-mile electric cars”

Andy Palmer thinks the focus on expanding the range of electric cars should take a back seat to improving public charging facilities

Opinion Mercedes EQXX

If you Google ‘Mercedes Vision EQXX’ you’ll see a host of media articles lauding the new electric vehicle’s whopping 620-mile-plus range. Without doubt, the headline figures grab attention. The EQXX’s claimed range offers close to double the distance from a full charge than a Tesla Model S ‘Long Range’ does. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

To build an EV battery with that kind of range is unprecedented and certainly an engineering feat. But to quote the famous scene in Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Of course, I’m not comparing the destruction wreaked by man-made dinosaurs to a long-range battery, but the premise remains. Do we really need a 620-mile range on an electric vehicle? Or are we being seduced, once again, into the consumerism world where more is always better? 

Compare it with traditional combustion-engined vehicles. When was the last time you maxed out your tank on one journey? Probably never. The average car journey in the UK is 8.4 miles. The EQXX lets you do 74 of those journeys on just one charge. 

Some of you may be thinking, “I’d rather have the option to go far than not”. It’s a valid point, but we must also consider efficiency. Batteries are heavy. On an EV, they are by far the largest component. Let’s say that a sensible real-world range for an EV is around the 200-mile mark (it’s worth considering that motorbikes tend to have a 100-mile range arguably without range-anxiety). In this instance, that means roughly two-thirds of the battery is redundant weight and begs the question whether a consumer would prefer to buy their EV for £10,000 less and save more of the world’s precious resources? 

Of course, the elephant in the room for this argument is infrastructure. Until we have a reliable and vast charging network in the UK, range anxiety will always be a factor. While Mercedes has done its very best to optimise the EQXX’s drag and the efficiency of its electric powertrain to maximise range from the car’s circa 100kWh battery, this is still a large unit, and by investing in an large-capacity battery rather than sufficient charging infrastructure, I fear we are all seeking to tackle this issue the wrong way round.

Find out everything you need to know about the British electric car charging network here...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

“You don’t need a Land Rover to have some off-road fun”
Opinion - You don’t need a Land Rover to have some off-road fun
Opinion

“You don’t need a Land Rover to have some off-road fun”

Senior News Reporter Alastair Crooks has got the off-road bug and wonders what’s stopping people from exploring the limits of their SUVs
1 May 2024
“I’m thrilled to lead Auto Express into a new era. We’ll build on what we have and make it even better”
Opinion - Paul Barker
Opinion

“I’m thrilled to lead Auto Express into a new era. We’ll build on what we have and make it even better”

Our new editor, Paul Barker says hello and sets out the stall for an Auto Express that’s better than ever
10 Apr 2024
'Budget 2024 missed the big chance to incentivise EVs and stop the blizzard of cheap Chinese car imports’
Opinion - Quentin Wilson
Opinion

'Budget 2024 missed the big chance to incentivise EVs and stop the blizzard of cheap Chinese car imports’

Quentin Willson of FairCharge thinks the failure to support the UK electric car industry in the 2024 budget could have far-reaching effects as cheap C…
6 Mar 2024
“Reports of the death of the internal combustion engine are wildly exaggerated”
Opinion - combustion engines
Opinion

“Reports of the death of the internal combustion engine are wildly exaggerated”

Andy Palmer thinks that the internal combustion engine, in partnership with e-fuels, still has a big role to play if the application is right
12 Jan 2024

Most Popular

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed
Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 - EQS badge
News

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed

Mercedes will roll back EQ branding for its electric cars as the first generation of EV models reaches the end of its lifecycle.
15 May 2024
Ooh la la: new DS flagship to get inspiration from world’s coolest car
DS flagship - exclusive image
News

Ooh la la: new DS flagship to get inspiration from world’s coolest car

The iconic Citroen DS was voted the world’s coolest car by our readers and now DS is aiming for the same success with its new premium flagship
15 May 2024
UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers
Car crash
News

UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers

The number of young people convicted of driving without insurance has tripled since 2021, due to sky-rocketing premiums
17 May 2024