Horiba MIRA calls for urgent review of outdated EV testing to tackle range anxiety

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An urgent overhaul of how range is determined on electric vehicles is needed if the UK is to successfully tackle ‘range anxiety’, according to global engineering and testing consultancy Horiba MIRA.

The call to action, summarized in a new report by the firm, outlines how so-called ‘range anxiety’ – driven by the drastic differences in reported and actual range of an EV – is deterring increasing numbers of motorists from making the switch from petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles, to their electric counterparts.

The report explains how current global testing and evaluation methods for determining the range of an EV are inadequate and in need of urgent review. EVs are currently tested against a slim set of parameters, with the majority at one ambient temperature level; 23°C (73°F) – an unrealistic reflection of real-world driving conditions. The result is an inaccurate report on vehicle range, potentially fueling range anxiety among motorists, therefore reducing the likelihood of adoption.

It goes on to outline how extending the conditions under which EVs are tested could produce more accurate range data; raising the credibility of EVs, and ultimately boosting consumer confidence and uptake.

Ben Gale, global solution leader at Horiba MIRA, said, “The UK’s transition to EVs is critical if it wants to meet its ambitious net-zero-emissions target by 2050, and a key part in speeding up public adoption is to tackle the perceptions around range anxiety.

“At present, the use of insufficient range data in real-world conditions is playing a part in fueling range anxiety, putting many motorists off making the switch to EVs. Globally, vehicles are tested at just one temperature – one that is considered the ‘optimum’ for vehicle comfort and lithium-ion batteries – but when you add in air-conditioning or heating requirements, additional battery power is required, depleting the published range of an EV at an alarming rate.”

As such, Horiba MIRA is encouraging the UK government to recognize that the current method of establishing range is not a true reflection of real-world driving conditions, and to extend the temperature range and conditions EVs are currently tested and evaluated against.

Within the paper, the firm also reveals its advanced simulation approach to replicate real-world driving conditions, thereby reducing the cost and time associated with additional physical testing – an area in which Horiba MIRA and its parent company Horiba are leading the way toward with virtual validation.

Gale added, “By expanding the temperature range and conditions EVs are currently tested and evaluated against, we can produce more accurate range data, which allows manufacturers to further optimize the design and cost of the battery, raising the credibility and attractiveness of EVs, and thereby supporting adoption and improving the local environmental impact of transport.

“Increasing the number of people willing to switch to EVs will largely depend on a positive change in customer perceptions, particularly in tackling ‘range anxiety’. It is therefore imperative that government, OEMs and EV manufacturers respond accordingly, to accelerate EV adoption.”

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Rachel's career in journalism has seen her write for various titles at UKi Media & Events within automotive, tire and marine. Currently editor of ATTI, her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of transportation.

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