Myth buster: Electric vehicle range anxiety is real

4 min read
Feb 1, 2021 11:30:00 AM

How far can electric vehicles really take you? Recent studies reveal that people fear running out of power in the middle of nowhere, or having to stop regularly for long periods to refill their batteries.

Are facts backing up those fears? Is EV range anxiety still legitimate, or does it belong to the past?

Fact: Electric vehicles' range already exceeds most drivers' needs

Range anxiety refers to a concern that many drivers share on electric vehicles and how far they can really go with them. – Will they reach their destination before the batteries run flat?

This makes range anxiety one of the most important barriers to the large-scale adoption of electric cars. Volvo even found that a whopping 58 % of drivers say that range anxiety is a barrier for purchasing an electric car. The manufacturer also reports that while 65 % of EV drivers had range anxiety when they first purchased an EV, the feeling is fading away after a couple of months of usage.

The reason for the quick change of heart? EVs already exceed most drivers’ needs.

Fact: 8 in 10 drivers travel less than 100 km a day

A study conducted on 632 186 vehicles across Europe reveals that 8 in 10 drivers travel less than 100 km a day. The same study also finds that 6 in 10 drivers travel less than 50 km every day.

With most electric cars being able to travel an average of 300 km on a single charge, this means that EVs already exceed most drivers’ needs.

In application, for EV drivers using their cars on a daily basis, having an efficient charger at home – and/or at work –  is enough to eliminate any risk to fall short of power.

What’s more, as EVs are exponentially growing in number on our roads, so are the investments to increase their range. Models from world-renowned manufacturers such as Kia, Hyundai, or Audi can now travel over 400 km on a single charge. The latest Tesla Model S Long-Range can even go for 610 km on a full charge.

Now, just like they would with any other type of vehicle, EV drivers do need to stop to refill their batteries. Here again, we’re seeing technological progress as charging times keep decreasing.

Fact: Fully charging an EV can be done in 30 minutes

EV charging has come a long way

From long hours, we’re now down to 30-minute stops to reach a full battery charge, thanks to the latest High Power Charging stations (or HPC).

The HPC technology takes fast charging to a whole new dimension. From 50 kilowatts to 150-350 kilowatts, on average, HPC can charge 3 to 7 times faster than regular fast-charging stations. 

This breakthrough makes it possible to cut the charging time by up to 70 % for owners of the most recent models such as the Volkswagen ID.3, Audi e-Tron, the Porsche Taycan, the Tesla Model 3, or the Peugeot e-208 – all taking full advantage of the HPC technology.

For instance, the average charging time of an Audi e-Tron dropped from over 90 minutes to less than 30 minutes.

Fact: 19 charging points per 100 km across Europe

The number of public charging stations in Europe has been multiplied by 84 between 2011 and 2020. And we’re only at the mere beginning of a new electric-powered vehicles era.

Range anxiety also finds its roots in an infrastructure problem that, in reality, belongs to the past.

Charging infrastructures are already widely available in countries where the EV market develops fast. In 2020, there were over 200 000 public charging points in the EU, as well as an average of 19 fast public charging points per 100 km on European highways, thus providing security and comfort to those driving longer distances.

Of course, as the number of EV owners increases, so does the need for fast-charging stations.

Heavy investments in the making to meet the demand

We know that our current infrastructure network cannot sustain the exponentially fast-growing EV adoption we expect in the next decades.

According to the European Commission’s calculations, we will need 3 million publicly-available charging points across Europe alone by the year 2030. This is 15x more than the current setup.

Fortunately, we’re in a great position to deliver.

We see a convergence of both public and private investments to build the infrastructure of tomorrow, and clean vehicles — and the infrastructure required to charge them — have been a key part of the stimulus packages announced by European and Asian governments.

Meet the European Green Stimulus

In 2020, the European Union presented the NextGenerationEU, a 750 billion euro “Green Stimulus” project.

This European-wide effort to restart local economies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic also includes a 20 billion euro package to support the sales of cleaner vehicles, and install a million electric and hydrogen vehicle charging stations by 2025.

What will it look like locally? We can find a concrete breakdown of this plan in Germany.

Zoom on the German green stimulus

The German Government presented a 130 billion euro economic stimulus in 2020. Among other things, it includes a 2.5 billion euro investment to support the expansion of EV charging infrastructures and a 2 billion euro program to stimulate sustainable investments in the automotive industry. 

The European Commission highlighted the importance of electric vehicles in its green finance taxonomy, reporting that only cars emitting no CO2 will be considered a sustainable investment as of 2026.

The country aims at installing a million public charging spots by 2030 – up from 28 000 today.

We’re fighting a race against time and, money alone, or the amount of fast-charging stations won’t deliver any result without international regulations to standardise greener consumption habits. Here again, we find ourselves in a great position to fight climate change, as leading governments around the world seem to stir in one direction, even more so as the US re-joined the Paris Accords.

We're on a mission to debunk EV-related myths

There’s a lot of myths circulating about electric vehicle charging out there.

This blog post is part of our Myth Buster Series to set the record straight and address common misconceptions. Read on: 

To learn more facts about electric vehicles and EV charging in general, take a look at the comprehensive guide below.

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