Is Range Anxiety going to Improve in 2014?

One of the most daunting issues facing the acceptance of electrical vehicles is “range anxiety” which is the fear that the vehicle will run out of power before it reaches the destination. Range anxiety is actually nothing new and it plagued early automobiles at the turn of the 20th century as well.

Back in those days, a horse was more reliable as it could be easier fed and go much longer distances. The range anxiety in those days was eventually quashed when vehicles could go hundreds of miles on a tank of gas that could be refilled virtually anywhere in the US.

When all-electric vehicles first came out, there range was roughly 30 to 40 miles on a single charge which took several hours. While perfect for short range commutes, that range was considered way too small for the needs of most people simply because they often drive much further distances one way, let along back and forth to work.

So how will range anxiety about electrical vehicles lessen over time? The answers are many fold and will have to rely on conditions changing across the country for that to happen.

Extend the Length of the Electric Vehicle

In 2011, a survey of experts in electric vehicles believed that if they could achieve a range of 120 miles on a single charge, then range anxiety would definitely diminish. Today, the Tesla Model S achieves a full range of over 200 miles which certainly reduces range anxiety. However, there are a number of other factors which play into range anxiety as well.

Shorten Recharge Time

One of the biggest issues with batteries is that they take time to charge. Even quick charge batteries take much longer to fully charge up than it takes to fill up a gas tank. With so many people use to spending a couple of minutes filling a gasoline tank, the idea that they have to wait 30 minutes, an hour or longer is not very attractive. When recharge times reach five minutes or less, that will be a crucial factor in overcoming range anxiety.

More Recharging Stations

leadacidbattIn the US, there is seemingly a gas station on every corner. It’s actually fairly common to not realize just how low the gas tank is until warning lights remind us. Then for those that live in the city especially, finding a gas station is no issue.

The same cannot be said for electrical recharge stations. While they are prevalent in some states, for many they either do not exist or are in such few places that people fear if they run out of power they won’t reach a recharge station or home. This means that the number of recharge stations must expand greatly to help overcome this anxiety.

Today, electrical vehicles now average well over 100 miles in terms of total mileage. The day is coming when 300+ miles are not far away, but until that day is reached as well as more recharge stations with short recharge times, range anxiety will continue to be a strong factor in people not purchasing electric vehicles.