One of the most common “problems” people like to mention against electric vehicles is their (lack of) driving range – also commonly known as “range anxiety”. It’s a fair criticism, but still usually an unfounded concern, as most EVs these days have more than enough juice to last you an entire day of driving.
That still won’t stop people from saying “I won’t buy an EV until I can drive one for more than X km on a single charge”, But BMW doesn’t think that it’s their problem to solve. In fact, when speaking to Australian publication WhichCar, BMW i4 product boss David Ferrufino said that they won’t be developing EVs with 1,000 kilometres of range.
“One thousand kilometres of range is not a target we have with our fully-electric cars,” Ferrufino told the publication a media conference this week. “We are aiming for 600 kilometres [of range] for our fully-electric cars, and 100 kilometres with our plug-in hybrids in everyday driving.”
Ferrufino added that the driving range on their EVs will also depend on which segment they’re designed for. For instance, he said that the BMW i3 doesn’t need 600 km of range, but the same number would be a “very customer-friendly solution” for larger cars like the BMW iX and i4.
To BMW, the most effective way to improve an EV’s effective driving range is not by stacking more and more batteries into the car, but by increasing the availability of high-speed charging networks globally.
“We not only have the advancements in battery technology, we also have the public charging network – which is growing rapidly. Going cross-country in Europe from Norway to Italy is already a joyful experience when you do it in an electric car,” Ferrufino said.
On top of that, DC quick charging will also get better over time, making it quicker to “refuel” on a road trip. On that note, the BMW i4 offers a 590 km driving range (per WLTP) from a single charge, and can be topped up from 10 to 80% in 31 minutes using a 200kW DC fast charger.
Which means, theoretically, you’ll be able to go for an over 1,000 km journey with just a short half an hour break in between driving.
In a way, we do see what Ferrufino is saying; even for ICE-powered cars, how many out there can actually drive for more than 1,000 km on a single tank of fuel? The only difference is that petrol stations are widely available, and fast DC electric chargers are still not – at least in most parts of the world.
As a result, many EV manufacturers – especially those out of China – are trying to compensate in part by adding more batteries into the car, which also adds more weight, thus making them less energy efficient overall.
But is it too early for BMW to cap their EV range at 600 km? Well, that’s hard to say, but one thing’s for sure – more electric chargers will be better for everyone.