If you suggest buying an Electric car to a Nigerian, the first question they’ll ask you is – “How you go dey charge am?”

Considering the absolute shambles the state of our Electricity is in Nigeria, the question is a valid one. The countries that have fully adopted Electric cars have very stable electricity, so charging the car batteries wherever and whenever is not an issue.

Let’s put aside the bad state of some of our roads for a moment because these electric cars are not cheap and driving them on bad roads doesn’t make economic sense. Let’s talk power and charging of batteries for now.

If you’re thinking about buying an electric car, you might be wondering how far you can drive it on one charge. After all, no one wants to run out of fuel and get stuck in the middle of a long journey. 

This worry is commonly known as “range anxiety”. And it’s an understandable fear, as one of the current downsides of electric cars is a lack of charging infrastructure which is non-existent in Nigeria currently.

Before we get into the distance you can get per charge of your electric vehicle, it’s important to know the difference between “official range” and “real world range”. This is key to understanding how far you can drive in your Electric car.

“Range” is the distance that an Electric car can travel on a single battery charge. Here are the 2 key different types of range you will see discussed when you’re looking at buying an electric car.

Official range

The “official range” of an Electric car is the distance that the manufacturer says their car can drive on a full battery. This is worked out in a lab, according to what’s called Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (or WLTP) rules.

Scientists consider all kinds of factors when they’re coming up with this figure – including different temperatures and driving conditions, and the effect of things like average driving speed. This makes the final estimate more accurate than the old rules.

Even so, this lab figure is usually higher than the mileage you can expect to get out of your car in the real world. 

Real-world range

“Real-world range” is what Electric car enthusiasts call the miles you can realistically expect to get out of your electric car. 

It’s usually a bit lower than the WLTP figure, because it can be affected by all kinds of factors. These include:

  • The speed you drive at
  • The weather
  • Driving uphill
  • How hard you accelerate or brake
  • Use of air con/heating
  • The weight inside the car
  • How old your battery is

“Real-world” figures are usually the result of people testing the cars in – you guessed it – the real world. Currently, the electric vehicle with the longest range is the almighty Tesla S, which has an official (WLTP) range of 405 miles.

So, a typical Lagosian can use his/her Electric car for like a week on full charge over the weekend factoring in the traffic and all. In extreme traffic logjam cases, may be 4days but it will be wise to keep a small generator (i beta pass my neighbour) in your car trunk or booth as Lagos can sometimes show you pepper…lol. 

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