Anxiety Over The Range of Electric Vehicles

During the course of most conversations about electric vehicles (EVs), the phrase “range anxiety” eventually shows up. Many observers believe that EVs’ range of 100 miles or less will keep some consumers on the sidelines, but some studies reveal that fear might be overstated.

For example, take this recent article from NEBusiness in the UK:

“The trial found that so-called ‘range anxiety’ meant drivers were over-cautious when planning journeys. The maximum journey length was 17.8km, just 25 percent of the average range of the vehicles, which was 72.4km. This range anxiety also meant that 93 percent of journeys were begun with the battery charged above 50 percent, and people also begin to modify their driving style when the battery’s state of charge approached 50 percent.”

So was it that people were afraid to let the battery power indicator fall below 75 percent, or was it that the trips they needed to take were that short? Many gas car drivers are conservative about not letting the tank go below half full, so a similar conservatism shouldn’t be unexpected. If the EVs that are being lent out during these trials are driven in urban areas, then driving trips of 12 miles or less are likely to be the norm.

Drivers are likely being overly cautious because it is unfamiliar technology, and since their driving patterns are being monitored, they don’t want to be known as the driver who got stranded with the dead battery. And since most of these vehicles are probably second cars, drivers are likely to use the gas vehicle on longer trips.

Data from Pike Research’s driving habit survey showed that 73 percent of drivers of gas vehicles use their cars for 30 miles or less per day, which likely includes a work commute plus and errand or two. This reinforces that many trips would only drain a minority of an EV’s batteries.

Other surveys have concluded that a reduced range of 70 miles would be sufficient for most drivers.

The industry is of two different minds when it comes to how much charging will be done at home. While many folks in the EV world believe that about 80 percent of charging will occur overnight at home, a vocal minority including IBM believe that just as much charging will be done away from home, and that a robust public infrastructure is necessary to allay range anxiety fears.

The range provided by EVs is likely insufficient as a primary vehicle for many consumers. However those who commit to EVs will learn how to maximize their electric miles while avoiding being stranded sans battery power. But the more that the “threat” of range anxiety is repeated, the more that perception will become reality.

Article by John Gartner appearing courtesy Matter Network

photo: cliff1066

Have any Question or Comment?

3 comments on “Anxiety Over The Range of Electric Vehicles

Lawrence Weisdorn

If you love the idea of driving an electric car but are anxious about the short range, then adding a hydrogen fuel cell range extender is right up your alley. A hydrogen fuel cell is simply the lightest onboard battery that releases energy on demand.

Andreas Abraham

If the light should vanish from my flash light, or the power in my digital camera, my Mp3 player, my remote controll – or whatever battery driven utility I might use, – I change the batteries. If I would travell with a battery driven car after so and so kilometers I would have to interrupt my journey for . how many hours!!!? So why not change the batteries of our EV`s like in an empty flash light? The infrastructure is there. In a matter of minutes batteries could be changed on normal petrolstations if the car industry would agree on a standart size of such batteries. We even should consider to lease the batteries instead of bying them. This would bring down the costs of EV`s considerably. A lot of consumers, me includet, would by a battery driven car immediately if this technology was suitable for daily use.

George Parsons

What if you don’t live above a Starbucks in a Border’s bookstore across from the set of Friends? What if you need a vehicle to do real, actual work? I’m sorry, but I want to see the little green weenie mobile haul the gear comparable to a vehicle that measures in horsepower… not volts. And I think (maybe) we all know what happens when batteries fail… they corrode, leak acid, acid fumes, and short out. Especially when two cars collide…

Good luck.

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