Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety Solved

There is common term in electric vehicle circles: “range anxiety”. This is the fear that your electric car doesn’t have enough charge to get where you want to go. I’ve only just realised how unique one of the built in features of the Better Place electric car I’ve ordered is. It is a prediction of your battery’s state of charge at the end of your journey linked in with the car’s GPS satellite navigation system.

When I drove to the battery switch station the other day, we used the trip computer and the screen at the start of the journey is presented above. I’ll explain what it shows:

  • We start the journey with a 99% full battery (bottom left of the picture).
  • First destination (1) is in 12km and will be reached at 12:32 and with the battery at 86%.
  • Because the destination (1) is a battery switch station (see the video here) the computer assumes we’ll pick up a new battery!
  • Destination (2) is actually back to the Better Place visitor centre. We will return there with a 90% charge.
  • We didn’t actually swap the battery so when we got back in the car and started the return journey, the computer compensated accordingly.

I can report these numbers were pretty accurate. I’ll know more when I actually have a car for a much longer time but on a first try out it worked very nicely. I’m told the system will allow you to have multiple drivers and will learn to account for differing driving styles. I believe the car I drove was mostly used for tests on Better Place’s 1km track so it had been pushed hard and assumed it would be driven hard.

The other important part of the system is what happens if you punch in a destination beyond the range of your battery. A simple prompt tells you and asks if you want to fix this. If you select yes, it then re-routes you via appropriate battery switch stations as needed to get to your destination with a reasonable safety margin.

I didn’t realise this feature was so unique but I’ve been reading online about owners of the Nissan Leaf and they report a fluctuating estimate of remaining range and no mention of any feature like this. I’d be keen to know if any other production EV’s offer something like this.

Once again Better Place has taken the Renault Fluence ZE and, with the addition of smart software and network, made it better than the sum of it’s parts.

About Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian's interests include electric cars, world peace and an end to world hunger. Besides blogging here, Brian of London now writes at the Times of Israel. Brian of London also hosted Shire Network News

comments

  • mzk1

    Brian, you might find this interesting. Looking up the Federal Funds rate so I could report to the US Government on my “foreign accounts” (that is, my pension), I noticed something new for 2010: There is a separate conversion rate for Shekels from Israel and those from “Jeruselem”.

    I wrote them a letter and received a reply that clarified that it was “Jerusalem” and that the rate should be the same (it wasn’t!). The lady was on vacation and was quite nice. I wrote back pointing out that Mayor Nir Barkat wasn’t minting coins (just stealing them out of charity boxes, but that is a different issue).

    Do you think this might be worth publicizing?

    http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=254605,00.html

    • Jim from Iowa

      Your story of the Mayor of Jerusalem alledgedly stealing coins from collection boxes sounds very much like the Woody Allen character as a child stealing from the collection boxes for the Jews in Palestine in “Radio Days.” His rationlization was to ask “What did the Jews in Palestine ever do for him?”

      • mzk1

        I don’t mean he kept the money. (Then again, neither did Aryeh Deri.) It was in the secular Israeli press. I found out about this because of a wonderful (late) Wikipedia article called Judaism and Bus Stops. Unfortunately, it was obviously created in response to an article called “Judaism and Violence”, and that sort of postmodernism is not allowed. Shame, it really was well done.

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