EVs are powerful. Everyone knows about the “instant” acceleration.
Few know about the constant draw.
You can leave a gas or diesel-powered vehicle parked for weeks – months – and it will have the same amount of fuel in the tank you left it with, assuming the tank’s not leaking. EVs don’t leak, per se – but the end result is the same. Left unplugged even just overnight, you will find a noticeable amount of the power stored in the “tank” – i.e., the battery pack – is no longer there.
A loss of about 10-20 miles of the range you had the evening before seems to be common.
This just happened – again – in the ’23 Mercedes EQS I’m test driving this week. It happened – before – when I was test driving other EVs back in December.
But why is it happening?
Well, chiefly because I did not plug the Benz in the evening before. I did this on purpose, in order to demonstrate something about EVs that people aren’t being told about which I think they ought to know about.
That thing being EVs use power even when they are parked.
Their battery packs are like gas tanks in that both store an energy source. One big difference is that the gas or diesel inside a non-electric car’s tank is not burned when the engine isn’t running. But the electricity stored in an EV’s battery pack is being “burned” even when the motor isn’t turning – to power the heating/cooling system that prevents the EV’s battery pack from getting too cold or too hot, either of which can cause problems for the EV and so, for you.
But not leaving it plugged in is kind of like accidentally leaving the map light on all night in a non-EV.
And has a similar effect.
I left the car parked with 239 miles of indicated range remaining. The next morning, the indicator said 225 – 14 miles less than before – even though the car hadn’t moved an inch since the evening before.
It may not sound like much, but in context it is -because EVs don’t have much range to begin with, even when fully charged (e.g., this Mercedes touts a maximum range of 305 miles). If you aren’t starting out with a full charge – as in this case – then the loss of 14 miles is even more proportionately significant, because it takes so long to recover range when you haven’t got enough left. It is an everyday-significant problem that isn’t with other cars. For example, a V8-powered Dodge Charger Hellcat also only has a range of about 300 miles. But it matters less how fast the gas is burned because it takes almost no time to put not just more but all of it (a full tank) back in.
And there’s another problem related to this business of needing to keep an EV plugged in – if you want to avoid the overnight loss of range: It is the fact that EVs are always “burning” power – even when they are parked. This means they are always drawing it. Or will need more of it – if they were left unplugged. To make up for what they “burned” while just sitting.
Aren’t EVs supposed to be all about using less rather than more energy?
Perhaps the per-EV draw isn’t much. But how much is it when hundreds of thousands of EVs are plugged in when they’re not being used, to assure they don’t lose the range they had when they were parked? It adds up to a lot of kilowatt-hours and, probably, a lot of “carbon,” too – as solar panels aren’t what most EVs are plugged into.
But why aren’t people being told about this?
Probably because it might cause questions to be raised about the “sustainability” of EVs.
Here is another thing they’re not being told, also related to range. It is that what’s advertised isn’t always what’s actual.
Often it’s not even close.
I drove the EQS 42 actual road miles the first day I had it. This consumed 52 miles of indicated range. When I left the house, the car said I had 225 miles available. When I got home – 42 miles later – it said 173.
That’s a difference of 10 miles – and about 20 percent.
This seems to be a typical thing, based on my experience so far with about a half-dozen EVs of different makes/models. It is not an insignificant thing, especially in view of the range/recharge issue already discussed that everyone does know about. But many do not know that EVs often do not go as far as advertised – making the range/recharge issues worse.
EVs are held to a much looser standard in this regard. Gas and diesel-powered cars are expected to deliver almost exactly on the city/highway mileage numbers posted on the window sticker. If they’re off by even a couple of MPGs, it is cause for lawsuits and recalls. Yet being off by 10 or 20 percent (or much more, in the case of EVs like the Ford F-150 pick-up when a trailer is hitched to it) is regarded with a weird indifference.
Perhaps because EVs are like the government that mandates them, in that they can do no wrong – and are never expected to deliver on the promises they make.
. . .
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