How a 50 mph dedicated EV lane system could solve to cost-per-range issue with EVs
At 50 mph, the Mitsubishi i-Miev can go 70 miles on a charge, the Nissan Leaf 97 miles, and the Model S 300 miles.
Compare this to what those cars can do at a typical 70 mph speed: 260 miles range for the Model S, 68 miles for the Leaf, and 40 miles for the I-Miev. That's about a 15% range gain for the Model S, a 63% range gain for the Leaf, and a whopping 75% range difference for the I-Miev. The Tesla Model S's being a heavy and aerodynamic car factors into its inefficient low speed range and more efficient, relative to that, high-speed range.
So, for most cars, judging by the sample, we are talking about a 50%+ range gain for basic EVs and at 15%+ range gain for larger electric cars by enabling lanes on highways with a 50 mph speed limit where EV drivers can maximize range.
It seems to be a realistic compromise for commuters who can afford to take, say, 40 instead of 30 minutes to get to work.
Even the $16000 Mitsubishi I-Miev (after tax incentives) with its tiny 16kwh battery managed to get 70 miles on a charge at this speed, enough for a person to reliably make a 60 mile round-trip work commute (30 there, 30 back). That's huge. You can buy a car that costs $16K new and, given such a 50 mph lane, get to work and back on all-electric power and charge it at home overnight with just a basic 220 volt system (no need to charge during the day).