Darryl Siry, a former CMO of Tesla Motors, is worried. He's worried about the range given out for electric cars and he's worried for good reason.
If customers are told they are going to get 240 miles of range out of their electric vehicle, but then run out of juice at 200 miles, do you think they're going to be angry about that?
As he puts it, "Every time a single range figure is given, it should have about 3 asterisks next to it."
The three asterisks represent
- your mileage may vary.
- how “full charge” is defined
- The EPA range that is quoted to you is the “beginning of life” range, or “BOL”.
I think he puts it all together very well (Go read it). I just want to add one thing to this discussion. It's not just EVs that are going to have this issue. What about plug-in hybrids, and more specifically, Extended Range Electric Vehicles (E-REV) like the Chevy Volt. If customers start getting 20-30 miles of all electric range, rather than the 40 miles they are being told, who's going to be in trouble?
People have accepted the 'mileage will vary' argument on mpg. And it would really help if they start giving them two or three numbers to start with. By giving customers a city/highway mpg figure, you get the point across that these numbers vary depending on conditions.
Customers, especially well informed early customers, will accept the same argument for electric vehicles. But only if the manufacturers start talking about it sooner rather than later.