It is often the first question that curious people ask about electric cars: “How far does it get?” Tesla drivers can give a reassuringly (and for some still astonishingly) high number of kilometers as an answer, and even new models from other manufacturers rarely have less than a 4 in the first of the three digits. Tesla has set this trend, said Markus Duesmann, CEO of the Volkswagen subsidiary Audi, in an interview. But he is assuming that it will end again soon and that future electric cars will have smaller batteries again.
Tesla presents at ranges
“Tesla started with huge batteries,” said Duesmann to the IT portal cnet in mid-February in a conversation about the presentation of its latest electric car called the e-tron GT. As a result, Audi recognized how important the range is also for its own customers, and invested in more of it. From now on, Audi will only bring out specially developed electric cars, which means more space for batteries, said Duesmann.
The Audi e-tron GT shares a large part of the technology with the Porsche Taycan from the same group. With a battery pack of 93 kilowatt hours, according to cnet, it has a range of 238 miles according to the US standard (383 km), according to WLTP it should be 487 kilometers. With its most comparable Model S with a slightly larger battery, Tesla is already beyond 400 miles and 600 kilometers according to the standard. For the Model S Plaid +, which is due to arrive at the end of this year, Tesla has announced more than 500 miles, as well as for the top cybertruck, and for the new roadster as much as 620 miles (almost 1000 kilometers).
In the interview, Duesmann left open whether Audi wants to catch up to such values. In general, he is not sure whether the trend will continue to “install huge batteries for thousands of kilometers,” he said. Over time, the batteries would get smaller again because the charging infrastructure would become denser and customers would gain more experience. With electric cars, you have to “adjust a little” your own behavior with regard to energy consumption. But when that happens, he reckons with smaller batteries again. Because too many batteries would make cars unnecessarily heavy, expensive and large.
Analyst: Electric car customers expect more
In some ways that is certainly true. Most owners of long-range electric cars like Tesla rarely exhaust them, which means that most of the time they drive around with unneeded capacity, which is actually heavy and expensive. Nevertheless, the prospect of having to reload more than once over a distance of 700 kilometers could put off interested parties who are spoiled by their combustion cars in this regard.
Today customers would simply expect 350 miles and more electric car range, commented an analyst at the Tesla-heavy EFT provider Ark Invest on the Duesmann statements. In the long term, it is actually to be expected that significantly more electric cars with less range will come onto the market in various segments. Audi, however, is only making this statement because the company is not in a position to offer long ranges at competitive prices.