"Aren't you afraid you'll just end up on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere?" – as an electric vehicle (EV) driver, one of the first questions asked by other drivers is usually something regarding the range. It is common to worry about the range of EVs before you own one, and for many, range anxiety can stop them from buying an EV all together. Let's discuss range and range anxiety a bit.
First, let's define the terms:
Range - the maximum distance a vehicle can travel without refueling.
Range anxiety - the worry that the battery will run out of power before the destination or a suitable charging point is reached.
Second, let's talk about it:
All cars, electric or not, have a maximum range. The range of an electric car is mostly defined by the size of the battery – the larger the battery, the longer the range. Other factors that affect range is: usage of air con (weather and climate), non-stop high speed, long climbs, strong winds, weight of car and people + luggage and your driving style. Hint: aggressive driving runs out a battery faster.
There are EVs that are meant for city driving and shorter distances, and these cars have a range of about 80-150 km+, and then there are EVs that are meant to be used for longer journeys, with ranges up to 500 km on one charge (in perfect driving conditions, that is).
What can be regarded as a "good" range is very individual; some drivers only need a small, convenient city car and others need a family car, ready for long trips and short trips to the grocery store alike. In a study published in the US in 2012, it was noted that 95% of the commutes made by car were only 65 km or less, and such, they could easily be made by any EV. In Finland, the average daily driving distance is 35 km. This shows that people might not need a EV with a large range, at least not for everyday use. It is important to be aware of one's needs as a driver before choosing an EV model, in order to find the perfect fit and to avoid range anxiety.
For an EV driver who uses the car for a daily commute, an efficient home charger will quickly remove all anxiety about making the next day's range. For the people who drive more, the anxiety can be reduced by an established charging infrastructure and a possibility for fast charging. In Europe, you can easily drive long distances, as long as you have an EV suitable for long ranges, remember to plan ahead and charge when you can. With all cars, you need to plan where you go based on the fuel you have left, whether that is gasoline or battery power. However, since gasoline is readily available on a larger scale, driving an ICE does not require as much planning at the moment. This is something we aim to change, by helping to build a large and reliable charging network that makes owning and charging an EV easy-peasy.
Read our other posts in our EV Charging 101 series: how to charge, vehicles and charging stations and input power.
Charge wisely – Charge with Virta