Electric Vehicle - More Range Anxiety

In my previous post I detailed on Range Anxiety, this post will detail on the other aspects that are related to Range Anxiey in an electric vehicle.  

The other part of the equation regarding range anxiety is the range people think they need to drive. When you take a look at the statistics, a lot of people here in the Netherlands for example, only drive about 40km per day. That is a trip to/from work, every day of the week. This is a range that can be perfectly handled by an electric vehicle, as it can do four times as much than this average range. Take into account that you probably will charge when you are either at home or at work and there really is no problem at all. However, here in the Netherlands a vast group of people uses the car for their holiday trips, once or two times per year there is a really long trip they do with their vehicle (over 1000km). Because the electric vehicle can not do such a trip in one go (neither can the driver by the way, people tend to take a coffee break every two hours), they claim that the electric vehicle is not for them. In this case they prefer to have the car that can do all of their trips they will ever make and not take a car that will do what they need most, at the best.

 

Compare this to people who take a vacation and go by plane. For that they also ‘rent’ a chair in an airplane instead of buying the airplane. In this case it has become fairly obvious that buying a plane is not worth your money. Similar holds for buying a power drill, if you only have to put up a picture on the wall about once every year, you will probably not go for the most expensive power drill around that could drill the equivalent of the Canal tunnel from France to the United Kingdom.

 

It is a matter of raising awareness to show people that an electric vehicle is ideal for the majority of their trips and a much more efficient means of transport. For those few trips we currently ‘abuse’ the internal combustion engine vehicle to do so, there will be alternatives. Be it a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid vehicle, trains of airplanes.

 

It is also worth noting that the current range of the vehicles will increase, as will the speed at which we can charge up our vehicle. If both areas provide enough improvement, range anxiety will also decrease.

 

There have been a number of attempts to see what is the maximum range you can travel with an electric vehicle. Sometimes they focus on the maximum distance on a single charge, also called ‘Hypermiling’. The others simply charge up after the battery is depleted and push on again.

Nissan Leaf

One such an attempt was by U.S. Army veteran Jerry Asher, he managed to drive 772 km (480 miles) in a period of 7 days. A distance that is traveled by a conventional car in around 10 hours. Not exactly a speedy trip, but that was not the goal of Jerry Asher.

For the people of Epyon, providers of fast charging solutions, speed is a selling point. They wanted to know how far they could travel using a Nissan Leaf, in 24 hours, using fast chargers to recharge the Leaf. They managed to rake in a whopping 1254 km (779 miles), also be sure to check out their video detailing this fast charged trip!

Electric Vehicle - Range Anxiety

One of the issues related to driving an electric vehicle is referred to as range anxiety, which is when people are not fully familiar with the car and afraid it will not drive as far as they expect it to do, or that they will simply strand alongside the highway with an empty battery. It is true that the effective range an electric vehicle can drive is less than the range of a combustion engine vehicle on a full tank. It is also true that most people are quite familiar with how far they can go on a tank of fuel. The bottleneck is the lack of familiarity and the perception of ‘what do we really need’. This post will deal with the perception, a follow up will provide more details on the ‘what we really need’ part of the equation.

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Range Anxiety - The fear of getting stranded with an empty battery

Let’s take a look at your cellphone, you probably have one. Every phone has some way to indicate how much charge is left in the battery, either as a percentage, or with 4 levels indicating 100%, 75%, etc. Having used your phone for some time, you also get a good idea of how much you can do with your phone, before you have to charge the battery again. In some cases with the popular smartphones for example, you can get one day of surfing the web, a few calls, emails, listening to music and taking a few pictures while getting GPS directions to a location. After that you have to plug in your phone again to recharge it. In this case, you are used to this system. In the early generations of phones, people went looking for the phones with the longest standby time and the longest time they could make calls with it. Nowadays people are generally near a wall socket a few times a day and are willing to charge their phone more regularly. They have grown accustomed to charging their phone more regularly and have come to realize that it makes no sense to have five full days of talk-time, as you frequently have an option to recharge your phone wherever you are.

Another example is when I was out on the road a lot for the first time in a car I did not really know well. It was running on diesel and I only had a guesstimate of how much fuel was in the tank and how far I could still drive with it. I did notice however that especially the first few days, I was constantly checking how much fuel I had left. Talk about range anxiety there! I simply was not used to driving and I had no feeling for the range of the car.

I think that if people get more used to electric vehicles, they grow more accustomed to what they are capable of and how far they can drive before they need a charge again. Once this process sets in, range anxiety will be perceived less of a problem.