Last week, after being deluged with comments about our long-distance drive in an Audi E-tron, we asked our audience what parameters are most important to them when fast-charging on a road trip.
Audi, which hosted our drive, is trying to make the case that what the E-tron lacks in range—at 204 miles, as rated by the EPA—the car makes up for in its consistent charging speed and repeatable range.
Our own tests on the drive more or less confirmed Audi's claims that the range is reliable even in steep mountain drives and the charging speed is consistent. But it didn't really show anything about whether that's what really matters to drivers.
Teslas, as commenters were quick to point out, excel in miles recovered per minute—not only because of their fast charging speeds (which taper off once the charge reaches 80 percent,) but also because of their efficiency, going more miles per kilowatt hour than almost any other electric car. The Tesla Model X 100D is rated at 2.56 miles per kilowatt-hour, versus 2.17 miles for the e-tron.
What matters most when fast-charging an electric car on a road trip?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) May 27, 2019
To that viewpoint, we added three others in our Twitter poll last week: First, the total time to full, with the thought that faster charging can speed up road trips by allowing drivers to spend less time at each charging session or recharge more kilowatt-hours before beginning to taper off the charge rate. Second, a seamless interface. Many charging networks are now beginning to work together to provide a simple charging solution that will allow drivers to spend less time getting chargers to start and inputting payment information once they've plugged in.
And we added the more straightforward (if costly) notion that the best thing for electric car drivers is simply having more stations. On road trips, this metric may also benefit Tesla with its widespread network of Superchargers.
Our readers overwhelmingly chose the Tesla approach and narrowly favored simply having more chargers, by 41 percent (for more chargers) to 39 percent (for measuring by miles gained per charging session.)
Total time to full swayed 15 percent of our respondents, showing that Audi's approach may be better for some drivers.
Only 4 percent chose a more seamless interface as the most important factor on a long road trip—but that's not to say it wouldn't be welcome.
As always, our Twitter polls are unscientific, because our respondents are self-selected, and because we don't get a statistically representative number of responses. Still, that's what our readers think.