Do you really need an electric vehicle with a range of 300 miles?

In the United States, the saying “Bigger is Better” captures the national psyche. Whether it’s a 2,200 square foot home, 16 connected devices per family, or a new vehicle cost of $47,000, averages say it all: Greatness is ubiquitous in the U.S. like nowhere else. elsewhere in the world. Now that electric vehicles (EVs) are entering the mainstream, Bigger is Better is also an extended EV theme – better EVs have bigger size for space and bigger batteries for longer range. In fact, a 300 mile range is considered a must.

After all, a longer reach is elegant. It’s a zen bounty for those who can afford it. It offers safety and comfort.

But is a range of 300 miles really necessary?

The Inflation Reduction Act offers significant tax credits for the purchase of new and used electric vehicles. California has just announced that it intends to ban the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles starting in 2035. Electric vehicles are the talk of the town.

The same goes for adapting an electric vehicle to an individual’s lifestyle. A fact often cited by the US Department of Transportation is that the average person in the US travels 1,200 miles per month, or about 39 miles per day round trip. 95% of our car trips are 30 miles or less. This reality of driving distance, however, does not seem to hold true for most American drivers.

The memory of the perfectly acceptable 24 kWh of the first generation Nissan Leaf for a range of 84 miles still thrills. Proving that electric vehicles can power a typical commute is a significant psychological hurdle to overcome for range anxiety – that drivers’ fear of being stranded with an off-charge vehicle before reaching their destination or station. nearest available refill.

A combination of geography, history, and ICE road-trip hyperbole has become a go-to comparison for much-needed electric vehicle range. But it’s not the same – the local gas station is no longer the only method of refueling. Electrification replaces ICE combined reality and distance mythology with options.

Again, having options is confusing and time consuming.

Picking an option that comes closest to familiar ICE practices seems like the easiest way to make sense of electric vehicles. This means that a premium electric vehicle with a big battery and access to a fast-charging network like Tesla instills constant confidence in the driver.

But is this big, fast polish necessary for an average day in the life of an American pilot?

The Ongoing Process of Reducing Range Anxiety

Effective planning for electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a starting point for balancing range anxiety. By improving home charging for urban apartment dwellers and prioritizing electric vehicles with smaller batteries, we can maximize the miles we as a society can affordably electrify. In this way, road trips and big batteries become less of a topic of conversation than zero-emission EVs, luxury, low maintenance costs and reliability.

Information and communication technology (ICT) can help reduce driver anxiety levels, 2021 study finds Annals of the GIS. This is because range anxiety is affected by a subjective estimate of usable range. Stress buffering can go a long way in alleviating range anxiety through ICT infrastructure, such as smartphone apps, by providing drivers with objective estimates of range.

A recent New York Times article describes the bigger-is-better battery dilemma as the current solution to consumer anxiety. Big batteries provide the power and range that make electric vehicles attractive to US buyers. These “massive batteries” make electric vehicles on average “about 30% more expensive than gasoline-powered cars. This problem is likely to get worse,” they continue, “as battery supply chain constraints are making batteries more expensive, unlike past trends that have made them cheaper.” Battery innovations, while important to the forward momentum of the electric vehicle industry, are not the only thing to consider when considering the viability of electric vehicles, supply chain reason and other considerations.

The future may call for a mix of zero-emission transportation options for all of us. It could start with an all-electric vehicle, and the chosen model could have multiple uses – commuting, transportation, team transport. But transportation should also include electric bicycle, electric public transport and occasional rental car to meet the demands of our vital and exciting lives.

The facade of Big in EVs

It’s true that long-range electric vehicles offer dwellers in apartments or multi-family buildings the opportunity to charge once a week or two from a public charger. On the other hand, vehicles with large batteries also take a long time to charge, Green Car Reports reminds us, which puts a heavier burden not just on efforts to get people charging at off-peak times, but also on public charging infrastructure.

Greater energy density allows for batteries that are smaller, lighter, less resource-intensive and more appealing to all demographic groups. Indeed, large batteries could actually prevent more people from buying an electric vehicle, thereby stalling the important transition to all-electric transport. Battery cells cost around $128/kWh to start. A heavier vehicle requires more batteries, so the cost of the vehicle increases in proportion to the price of the battery.

Big batteries aren’t the greenest way to go electric. Of course, the full-size dimensions of the GMC-Hummer EV and Tesla Cybertruck mean huge batteries. But, as the International Energy Agency has pointed out, battery cells will continue to advance rapidly in terms of energy density – those kilowatt hours per weight of your choice. Increasing battery energy density will help reduce battery manufacturing emissions and cell lifecycle carbon impact.

Final thoughts on a 300 mile range

The dilemma that 300 mile range is a deal breaker is mythologized and can be easily disproved. For example, according to the JD Power 2022 Electric Vehicle Ownership Study in the United States (EVX), first-time EV buyer satisfaction is almost as high as that of EV veterans. Battery life is only one part of the whole EV satisfaction package. Here are 10 satisfaction factors, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Accuracy of indicated battery range
  • Availability of public charging stations
  • Battery range
  • Cost of ownership
  • Driving pleasure
  • Easy to recharge at home
  • Interior and exterior styling
  • Safety and Technology Features
  • Service experience
  • Vehicle quality and reliability

These responses from new EV drivers should resonate with the transportation community as a whole. The climate crisis is forcing us to eliminate 29% of all US greenhouse gas emissions, so electrification is essential. Yes, it’s hard to break free from a comfortable car culture and its associated habits, but high-tech, clean-energy mobility is now ready for us – and very appealing to the new vehicle driver audience. electrical.

To meet all transportation needs, we must continually reflect on the perceptions of others so that we can learn how to best meet needs rather than neglecting past experiences. Then again, driving an electric vehicle is not driving an ICE-powered vehicle, so molding the image of past car ownership into today’s electric vehicle driving experience won’t work. still.

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