When These 2 Challenges are Fixed, More LEAFs and Teslas Will Be Sold
Thomas Crummett comments on the subject under our discussion at the SF Bay Area Nissan LEAF Owners group on Facebook.
The big thing to me is the infrastructure. Count the number of public EV stations where you can recharge. Now, count the number of gas stations. Roughly estimating, I'd say there's anywhere between 100 and 1000 gas stations for every public EV station.
The next biggest problem is charging time. Even the questionable 2C rates mean a 30 minute charge for a significant range boost. I can drive 600 miles in my Accord (not even a hybrid!), but it only takes me 5 minutes to go from 0 to full. Liquid energy transport is undeniably difficult to match, but that doesn't mean it's not a critical problem.
Sure, increased range is great. But even a 500-mile range would be met with public disapproval without fixing those two issues. The Model S comes with a 60- or 85-kWh battery, but is nowhere close to the volume of sales of the Leaf. I'm sure price is a factor in this too, but even at prices comparable to a Model S, there are probably ~10 ICE vehicles sold (this is likely way off, sales volumes are hard to find).
BEVs have a lot of issues, and range is just one of them. I would love a higher range Leaf, but not so I could drive further, but so I could recharge less. This is mostly due to being unable to reasonable recharge on my way to work. There's a Leafer that had a long range (100+mi?) round trip, and relied on DCQC halfway to finish the trip. What if that DCQC broke (as we know happens all too frequently)? With ICE, you just pull to the next pump, or worse, drive across the street to the competing station.
Tesla set the foundation with their supercharger network. We need a similar investment from Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, etc. to get EV stations everywhere. Car manufacturers can only do so much. Relying on ChargePoint, NRG, or others to fix the infrastructure problem is like asking Gilbarco (gas pump manufacturer) to create a gas station closer to my house.