Range anxiety; sounds like something your doctor might diagnose you with. But it is in fact a common misconception most people have when discussing Electric Vehicles - just how far can you drive before you have to recharge?
To begin with, most modern electric vehicles offer around 80-100 miles of range. Of course, this does vary considerably with driving style, speed, weather conditions and vehicle maintenance. All of these factors also affect petrol and diesel drivers, but losing 30 miles due to inefficient driving is not as immediately apparent with a range of 300 miles or more. But is this smaller range really as big an issue as many are so quick to conclude? According to The National Travel Survey 95% of all journeys are 25 miles or less, which means that modern battery technology can already meet the overwhelming majority of demand.
When looking at the demand of the taxi industry, excluding airport transfers, the average daily range of a taxi driver is 50-150 miles. Aha! So EVs couldn’t cope as taxis! Wrong, most trips are only a few miles each and separated by frequent breaks. With the latest rapid charging technology, batteries can be recharged to 80% in just 20-25 minutes!
As the EV market grows it will stimulate the necessary Research and Development to improve the performance of today's batteries. There are already a number of exciting ventures, including an aluminium-air battery developed by Phinergy that achieved 1000 miles on a single charge! Another research team from Solid Energy have improved the design of the existing Lithium-ion battery, by doubling the energy density for 80% of the cost.
Although the switch to electrically powered driving does require some planning and additional infrastructure it is important to remember that the automotive and energy industry have only just begun to swing their weight behind this new technology. If you cast your minds, not very far, back to the 1980s, then the range of your car and where you would refuel it were genuine concerns. However, fast forward to present day and you will find most new petrol and diesel cars with a range of 300 miles or more and a petrol station on every street corner. That comfortable, carefree scenario is right around the corner for EVs…only you won’t be able to hear or smell it!