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Range Anxiety in an Electric car


November 21, 2014 - Electric Cars

Range Anxiety“Well that’s another fine mess you’ve got us into ” – Range Anxiety in an Electric car !

As a retailer of new and used electric vehicles, I spend a fair bit of time following press on electric vehicles (EVs). I see stuff that’s pro-EV, anti-EV, and neutral. I see some good stuff, but a lot of poorly researched as well.

One thing that really bugs me is stories talking about the “huge disadvantage” EVs have in charging time and that “People don’t want to wait hours and hours for their cars to charge.”

Stories like that create what I call “range anxiety anxiety”. Range anxiety is an infrequent thing, but people unfamiliar with electric cars read articles hyping short range and long charge times and they develop anxiety that they’d have range anxiety if they owned an EV.

The problem isn’t in the statement itself, but in the underlying assumption. People are used to how Petrol/Diesel cars work. You drive for a week or two on a tank, running it down close to empty (often inducing range anxiety). Then you stop at a petrol station for a few minutes, drop £50 worth in and then repeat the cycle. If you apply that model to an EV, it’s horrifying. Imagine getting up to go to work and your EV battery is empty! A Nissan Leaf takes around 6 hours to charge at a level 2 charger! I’d miss a whole day of work!!!

Think about the last time you had to put petrol in your car. If you’re like me,(in the past !) you noticed the fuel gauge getting low on your way home from work, but you were tired after a long day and decided to wait till morning. Morning always comes. It’s always the morning when everything is going wrong and you’re running late and you climb in the car, and “Oh NO !!” you’ve gotta get fuel on the way to work and Im late already.

Imagine instead that a magic energy fairy showed up every night and refueled your car. All the fairy asks in return is that you pay about 20 th of what you used to pay in petrol, and that you spend a bit more time and planning on long trips. That’s it.

EVs use a different pattern than petrol/diesel cars do. They work like the magic energy fairy. I spend far less time recharging than I did buying fuel. I just take two seconds to plug in at home and by morning I have a full battery again.

The only time I wait for my car is if I’m on a road trip. Those are the exception and, for me at least, the convenience of not having to get petrol the other 99% of the time easily outweighs the bit of extra time and planning I have to do on a long trip. For me, a road trip is when I’m explicitly NOT rushing. I just take my time and enjoy the drive. Most of my road trip charge stops are 20-45 minutes and I spend the time hitting the restroom, grabbing a quick bite, talking to other drivers, or just stretching my legs.

There ARE some things that don’t really work yet due to lack of infrastructure, but those are getting better.

Till next time

Keep plugging in !

Jonathan


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