Understanding How to Use PEV’s to Your Advantage

Posted by Brad Jacobs - 03/11/10 at 03:11 pm

Donlen recently conducted a survey amongst fleet managers to better understand their application, utilization, opportunities, and concerns about plug-in electric vehicles (PEV). In addition to the key findings of the survey, which can be viewed in the July 7 issue of Donlen's GreenKey News, a lack of data surrounding operating cost, emissions, vehicle specifications, pricing, resale values, and fuel efficiency still linger among fleet managers. 

Electric batteries continue to be one of the most expensive components of the electric vehicle. While the cost of battery manufacturing may be seen as substantial today, increasing returns of scale continue to drive down costs. Since the late 1990’s, advances in battery technology have been largely driven by consumer demand for mobile phones and laptops, with the weight and extended battery life seen as driving forces behind their research and development. The electric vehicle marketplace has reaped in the benefits of these advances, and continues to refine and develop additional technologies suitable to application. 

Most of today’s production model EV’s are utilizing lithium ion, or lithium ion variants, as a preferred power source. While battery technology varies per manufacturer, general strategies have been seen on a broad-base scale to provide enhanced power density, fire resistance, environmental friendliness, rapid charges, and long life spans. For electric vehicle applications, individual batteries are strategically arranged into larger battery packs to achieve the desired energy capacity. In some cases, it may be possible to replace an individual battery rather than incur the expense of an entire battery array. 

Electric vehicle range depends on a number of factors, including the weight and type of vehicle, battery type, weather, terrain, and driver behavior. Finding an economic balance between range, weight, performance, and battery capacity continues to challenge electric vehicle manufacturers. According to the most recent statement published by General Motors1, the electric range of the Volt measures between 25 and 50 miles on a single charge. The latest test results of Nissan’s all-electric Leaf2 report a single charge range of 62 to 138 miles. The differentiation between these results proves that, in addition to the limited mileage on a full charge given a fleet application, the variability in range is still a question fleet managers are looking to substantiate. 

In an effort to address the 60 percent of survey respondents who felt they lacked adequate data to make an informed decision on the utilization of PEV’s, Donlen developed the Electric Vehicle Cost Calculator™. Let us know what you think! 

For more information, or to provide feedback on our Electric Vehicle Cost Calculator, contact Brad Jacobs, Client Consultant, at 847-412-5443 or by e-mail at bjacobs@donlen.com




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