Is electric car range anxiety diminishing?

In the five years that modern electric cars have been widely available, range anxiety has been one of the biggest issues for consumers. The relatively short ranges and long charging times of most electric cars induce worries about getting stuck, and no one wants to think about that.

But the situation may be improving. While 2015 was a slow year for electric-car sales, Navigant Research believes sales will bounce back in 2016, in part because carmakers are steadily working to address consumer concerns. Companies are backing the installation of more charging stations, and getting ready to introduce longer-range models, Navigant notes.

A (small) survey conducted by the research firm also indicates that range anxiety may already be less of a concern for consumers than it once was. Out of 14 survey respondents who currently own an electric car, none cited range as the main drawback. Respondents seemed more concerned with a perceived lack of public charging stations. More than one third of respondents considered it the primary drawback to owning an electric car, and that group included three of the actual electric-car owners.

This shows that long ranges may not be entirely necessary to attract more electric-car buyers, argues Autos Cheat Sheet. The car site notes that data collected by General Motors showed that first-generation Chevrolet Volt drivers covered 80 percent of mileage on electric power alone, and that version of the Volt only had a 38-mile electric range.

And of course, improving range is a priority for manufacturers. The second-generation Volt has an electric range of 53 miles, and Chevy will start production of the 200-mile, all-electric Bolt EV before the end of this year. Tesla is readying its 200-mile Model 3, and Nissan is expected to increase the range of the LEAF to around 200 miles with a redesigned model that will appear in the next couple of years.

2 thoughts on “Is electric car range anxiety diminishing?

  1. I think that for 95% of all car usage needs, a sub 100 mile range vehicle is not a problem. We probably need to break our reliance on owning the car that can cover more than that in a single bite. Maybe accepting the fact that a vehicle capable of longer distances needs to rented from Avis is a habit we all must adopt. Personally I have the need for a 200 mile vehicle 1-2 weekends per month at the moment. In the future that need might drop depending on certain lifestyle changes. I guess it’s much like the “need” for a second vehicle (or even a third). We could probably get along with rethinking our needs, assuming the alternatives are easily procured and don’t need a long range reservation plan.

    In the meantime I’m happy with my three fossil fuel burning vehicles are are long ago paid for. I seriously doubt that I’ll ever be in the position to own/lease an electric vehicle at this point in my life. What I currently own needs tires and brakes, as an electric would need. The thirst for processed dino juice is minimal on all fronts and would be hard to switch off to electric consumption instead for any financial benefits.

  2. The general public is getting used to seeing more EVs on the road wherever they go. When electric cars were rare, it was easy to dismiss them as a novelty second car for people who drive very little. Now EVs are more common and the novelty has passed. I believe it has become a lot easier for skeptics to accept EVs as viable, practical alternative transportation for daily driving. The public charging infrastructure has also become much more visible. I think the subconscious effect of that is more people are beginning to realize when charging is convenient range is irrelevant.

    Multiple surveys & studies tell us most people travel less than 45 miles a day and extremely few travel more than 70 miles per day. This is easily within range for most currently available EVs. Most people think they drive much more than they actually do. I think, generally speaking, the public is figuring it out.

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