Range anxiety anxiety is prevailing for the moment, but treating it is possible
Range anxiety anxiety sums up a concern that you may have to worry about the amount of distance your EV can cover every time you go on a trip. Many people have cited concerns over the potential range of EVs as a major contributing factor in their reasoning not to buy an EV.
However, this reasoning is completely irrational. The MIT study shows that the majority of US citizens only travel about 20 miles per day, meaning that electric vehicles could account for 87% of US driving needs from a single overnight charge. In the US, longer trips are fairly infrequent and therefore shouldn’t be a huge consideration when choosing between an EV and an ICEV (Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle).
Therefore, anxiety over whether an EV has the range to suit your needs when you travel shouldn’t be the chief factor against some major benefits of having an EV such as savings in running costs and maintenance.
Of course, we are irrational beings. Economics and all sorts of other social sciences have already proven that. Knowing that our car may not survive longer trips unless we plan stops along the way puts drivers off because we prefer not to deal with that (even if we only occasionally travel over 200 miles). In other words, it is more convenient for us to have a source of energy we can rely on, oil.
Therefore, the solution to range anxiety anxiety could be to invest in a greater abundance of commercial EV charging stations, so that there is no need for people to worry that the occasional trip to gran’s won’t end with them stuck on the side of the motorway. Many governments have begun to invest in commercial charging stations, Australia being the most recent to do so, putting AU$2.5 billion into five new charging stations along the coast of Queensland.
In addition to this, longer battery life in EVs could eliminate the need to charge up fairly often. In a note accompanying the study, Willett Kempton of the University of Delaware’s Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration wrote that: “Most trips can be made in an EV with current battery size and an even higher fraction could be made if the battery size target set by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is met.” Breakthroughs in energy storage are being made all the time. For example, an MIT start up announced a few days ago that it has the technology to be producing 500kWh batteries by 2018, giving electric vehicles a range of 400 miles.
For the moment, however, consumers are likely to stay irrational; despite immense progress, worries over EV technology will prevail in the short term. Further leaps may be required before anxiety over range anxiety becomes a thing of the past.