Most liquid-fueled cars (whether gasoline or diesel) are intended for multiple driving missions of varying lengths and speeds. Car buyers usually purchase a vehicle with much greater capacity and capability than what is most regularly used. For instance, most driving is typically done on short, local trips in cars carrying a single driver. Long distance driving, or carrying large payloads of passengers or cargo are typically the exception rather than the rule.
The McKinsey study looked at the energy uses in a car, first due to the vehicles’ physical characteristics (such as size/weight and resistance) and secondly by the driving characteristics (such as driving distance, speed, stopping and starting). The energy storage requirements for differing driving missions can vary significantly even if the size and total miles are similar.
Because energy storage is such a critical factor in an electric car (the incremental cost of more battery capacity increases the cost significantly in an EV, while the cost to add more energy storage for a gas car is relatively insignificant), McKinsey’s conclusion is that automakers should be thinking in radical new ways to segment the market, focusing on specific driving missions and purposes.