Time To Realize that Electric Cars Offer Convenience, Not Range Anxiety

Let’s say you have a 15-mile (24-kilometer) commute to work (the US average). On a typical day, you drive to work, perhaps stop at the store on the way home, and end up with maybe 35 miles of travel between leaving in the morning and arriving back home.

Or say that you have to make a whole nother 15-miles trip after work, and then drive 20 miles back home. That puts you at 50 miles before you get home, a lot of driving.

One of my pet peeves for the past couple of years has been the hype about supposed “range anxiety.” The fact is, it’s just that: hype. With a Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, or Ford Focus Electric, 35 miles isn’t even half of your range. There’s room for an average daily commute and much more. 68% of Americans actually have a one-way commute of 15 miles or less, meaning that many of them commute even much less than that. 22% more travel 16 to 30 miles (26 to 48 kilometers) to work, still leaving them with plenty of range to do extra things on their way home. And that’s assuming they can’t charge up at work!

Yes, there are some people who have long commutes, and there are some people who drive a lot during the day, and there are some people who take long trips by car on a regular basis, but this isn’t the norm. For these people, a 100% electric car may not yet be the right choice. But for most people, range anxiety is simply a myth imposed on them by the media and anti-EV people.

Peter Bronski recently tackled this matter on the Rocky Mountain Institute blog, RMI Outlet. “I have to admit a growing frustration: I’m tired of hearing about range anxiety with electric vehicles (EVs). I’m increasingly convinced that we’re verging on an unhealthy fixation,” Bronski said.

But Bronski had another important point to bring to the table: “Ever since I became a very happy Nissan LEAF driver earlier this year, I’ve become acutely aware of this: all this talk about range anxiety being a big issue seems to come largely from and/or survey those who don’t actually drive an EV. This is an important nuance.”

The first point brings to mind something I’ve highlighted on numerous occasions: many Nissan LEAF owners thought, before buying their LEAFs, that they’d charge their car every night. In actuality, they mostly end up charging every other night, because there’s really no need to charge every night.

Getting back to Bronski’s article, he noted: “Surveys of EV drivers, on the other hand, show impressively high degrees of satisfaction. For example, a May 2013 survey of battery electric vehicle drivers found overall satisfaction rates of 92 percent. The story is much the same with customer satisfaction surveys at Consumer Reports and by the automakers themselves, who are reporting record levels of customer satisfaction among EV drivers.”

There are other important points to bring into the matter, too. Many households actually have two cars, so the 100% electric can be used for most trips around the city, while another car (for example, a plug-in hybrid) can be used for those longer trips you or your spouse sometimes takes.

No matter how you look at it, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of people could enjoy the many benefits of an electric car without any actual range anxiety, so can we just drop that hackneyed talking point by now?

Of course, the convenience side of this story is that you never gace to go take an electric car to a gas station. Instead, you can just drive straight home, plug the car in, and then head into the house. It will automatically stop charging when full. Or you can even schedule it to charge at a time you desire, such as the middle of the night when electricity prices are low in many areas. Imagine how many hours or even days that would save you.

Image Credit: Zachary Shahan | CleanTechnica | EV Obsession

Originally published on Sustainnovate.

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