Electric car manufacturers and driving range claim accuracy
Nissan is facing a public relations problem due to battery capacity loss in the Nissan Leaf, and diminished driving range. While the issue is a rapid loss of driving range for Leaf owners in hot climates, a part of the problem is that Nissan claims the Leaf has a 100 mile electric driving range, when the EPA certified driving range is 73 miles. This makes one ponder the value of truth in advertising laws, but it turns out Nissan is not the only automaker doing this.
How are the automakers who manufacture all electric or plug-in electric vehicles doing?
Chevy Volt: The EPA rates the 2013 Volt for 38 miles electric driving range, and GM advertises it with a 38 mile driving range. The Volt also has a gasoline engine that acts as a generator to recharge the battery pack.
Coda: The Coda website repeatedly says "125 miles driving range" where the EPA certified range is 88 miles. The website does have a footnote explaining that "125 miles" is by the LA4 driving cycle, and then the footnote goes on to explain how the EPA arrived at the 88 miles range number.
Ford Focus Electric: Ford doesn't say much, on its website, about the range of this electric car but in the FAQ does have a statement implying the driving range is 100 miles. The EPA certified driving range is 76 miles.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Mitsubishi's website says 62 mile range, and the EPA certified range is 62 miles.
Nissan Leaf: In the past Nissan has described the Leaf as having a 100 mile range, but today the Nissan USA website says "73 miles under the EPA MPG derived 2 cycle test". On the Drive Nissan Leaf website (drivenissanleaf.com) a page invites you to see, on the map, how far "100 miles" can take you. The EPA certified driving range is 73 miles.
Tesla Motors: The main page for the Tesla Model S claims a 300 miles driving range per charge, when driven at 55 miles/hr. But dig further into the Tesla website, you keep seeing the "300 miles driving range at 55 miles per hour" claim. However, the EPA certified driving range is 265 miles.
What's going on here? And, how can the automakers advertise one value for driving range, when the EPA certification is a very different value? While the answer to the second question will be difficult to come by, the first question has a very simple answer.