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Renault: 250 Miles For Subcompact Electric Cars By 2020

Save for a few electric vehicles on the fringes of the market–the Tesla Model S, for example, or the tiny Smart Electric Drive–most subcompact and compact electric cars currently offer a range of 80-100 miles.

For many people, that’s perfectly fine. But it wouldn’t hurt to have more, right?

Renault says that more could be on the way–and by 2020, the range of a subcompact electric vehicle like its Zoe could be as much as 250 miles.

We’ve heard such claims before of course, despite electric car range remaining fairly static since the first serious production vehicles debuted a few years back. You’ll get little more from a car like the cutting-edge BMW i3 than you will the Nissan Leaf, which debuted in 2010.

And it takes a car with a battery like the Tesla Model S–60 kWh or 85 kWh, depending on the model–before you break through the 200 and 300-mile barriers.

But speaking to Auto Express, Renault’s head of research, advanced studies and materials, Remi Bastien, thinks the industry is only at 50 percent of the potential of current battery technology, and that further development could see those 200-mile subcompact EVs.

That figure may still sound high to some, though it’s worth noting that the European economy tests used to figure vehicles often return higher numbers than equivalents in EPA testing–Nissan’s Leaf achieves 120 miles on the European cycle, and just 84 miles on a full charge under EPA guidelines.

It suggests 180 miles or so would be a reasonable guess for subcompact and compact electric cars by the 2020 date–still a huge improvement on today’s vehicles and almost certainly a usable distance for many more buyers.
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