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Why I Shouldn't Be Worried About EV Range

Should I Be Worried About EV Range?

With the global push to reduce emissions by 2050, electric vehicles (EVs) are set to take over our roads in the next decade or so. In the US, some states have already set a sales ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2030. While this aggressive move could be the last push for total electric mobility, sales data show a slow–but steady–growth, albeit, lower than expected. EVs account for just 3.2% of new car sales in the country or around 470,000 units.

One of the biggest factors for the slow EV sales is range–or the lack thereof. As electric cars are relatively new, data about their average range is still unreliable. However, a quick look at the EPA-rated range of EVs will give you an idea. For instance, the longest-range EV in the market, the 2023 Lucid Air Grand Touring XR AWD, can go for 516 miles on one charge–that’s if you’re willing to shell out more than $100,000. On average, EVs could travel 217 miles on one full charge, while the median gas car range in the US is 413 miles.

But is the fear of not having enough range warranted?

Overcoming Range Anxiety Through Experience

Range anxiety is a legitimate concern for many prospective EV owners, especially those transitioning from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. The fear of being stranded with a depleted battery can be daunting, particularly during long drives or in areas with limited charging infrastructure. However, range anxiety often diminishes over time with firsthand experience.

For many EV owners, range anxiety is a temporary concern they get used to as they become more familiar with the capabilities of their vehicles. By gradually learning the ropes about the range and charging requirements of their EVs, drivers get to plan and execute their travels better. Additionally, as charging infrastructure continues to expand and battery technology improves, the practical limitations of EV range are becoming less significant.

Rapidly Expanding Charging Infrastructure

Gone are the days when finding a charging station for your electric vehicle is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Today, the charging infrastructure for EVs is rapidly expanding, with charging stations becoming increasingly prevalent in urban areas, along highways, and at commercial establishments. If you’re thinking of going on a road trip with your electric car, you can use EV charging apps to locate charging stations along the way. For Tesla owners, there’s a route planner that shows available chargers on your route.

Limited charger compatibility is also a thing of the past as adapters have opened up charging networks for most EVs. For instance, the previously proprietary Tesla (NACS) charging stations can now be accessed by other EVs using Tesla-to-J1772 adapters. Similarly, Tesla owners can expand their charging options with J1772-to-Tesla adapters.

Home Charging Convenience

One of the most significant advantages of owning an EV is the convenience of home charging. With a dedicated charging station installed in your garage or driveway, you can effortlessly top up your vehicle's battery overnight while you sleep. This eliminates the need for frequent visits to public charging stations and ensures that your car is always ready to go whenever you are.

However, not everyone has the luxury of space and money to have a hardwired charging station at home. While these permanent installations deliver more power, hence, faster charging, portable chargers are an excellent alternative. Aside from its plug-and-play usage, a portable charger is relatively inexpensive and won’t require any professional installation–unless you don’t have an existing compatible 120V/240V outlet.

Improved Battery Technology

The evolution of EV battery technology has been nothing short of remarkable. Modern lithium-ion batteries, which power most electric vehicles, boast greater energy density, longer lifespan, and faster charging capabilities compared to their predecessors. Additionally, scientists have been developing batteries with better energy density, longer range, and faster charging times.

Image courtesy: The Business Journals

Solid-state batteries are seen as the next big thing in EV battery technology. Toyota has already invested in further research on these batteries, ultimately aiming to produce EVs with more than 1,200 miles of range and charging from 0 to 80% in less than 10 minutes. This could potentially rival–or even surpass–the mileage of ICE vehicles.

Accurate Range Prediction

Manufacturers are equipping electric vehicles with sophisticated onboard computers and navigation systems that provide real-time data on the remaining battery range based on driving habits, terrain, and weather conditions. These predictive algorithms help drivers plan their journeys more effectively, alleviating any uncertainty about whether they'll reach their destination without running out of charge.

While one can argue that driving range is a “make-it-or-break-it” factor for prospective EV drivers, it's crucial to consider the broader context of electric vehicle ownership. Range anxiety, while understandable, should not overshadow the benefits that EVs offer, including reduced emissions, lower operating costs, and a smoother driving experience. As technology continues to evolve and infrastructure expands, the limitations of range are becoming less of a concern, and soon drivers can confidently navigate the road ahead without worries.

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