A lot of potential electric vehicle drivers are paralyzed by the fear of their car’s battery dying mid-trip, leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere. The truth is, however, that scenario simply isn’t going to happen. Sure, if you drive far enough without charging, your car will die. Same thing with a gas car.
And yes, there are more gas stations lining our streets than electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. But that doesn’t mean you’re more likely to run out of battery either.
The fact of the matter is, if you drive an average amount and can remember to charge your car at night, you will never run into a problem. Even still, that's not enough to convince some people. So, let’s run down the five biggest reasons you shouldn’t be anxious about switching to an electric car.
1. You charge at home
Just like charging your phone. Except it's a car.
When you get an electric car, you’ll be encouraged to install a charging station in your garage or driveway. In the US it will be a level 2 charging station. In Europe you will need to install a 1-phase or 3-phase charging station (depending on the capacity of your home). With this handy device, whenever you aren’t driving, your car can be plugged in and charging. This way, whenever you leave home in your EV, it’ll be with a full battery.
“But I don’t need to gas up my car every day! Why should I charge my car every day?”
That’ll bring us to our second point.
2. EV charging is not like getting gas
No. It is nothing like this. Very different.
Right now, most people with gas cars fill up when they are approaching the dreaded “E” on their gas gauge. That’s not how you’d fill up your EV. With an electric car, instead of waiting for the battery to fully drain before you recharge, anytime your car is sitting in your driveway or anyplace with an EV charging station (i.e.,restaurants, hotels, parking garages), it’ll be plugged in. This way, you are always hitting the road with your full range at your disposal.
“But what if I forget to plug in my car the night before?!”
Take a deep breath, because guess what?
3. You probably don’t drive that far
This photo's blurry because the drive ended before the camera could focus. Very short drive. Which is normal.
The reason most people experience ‘range anxiety’ is because they hear that an EV can only go 100 miles (160 km) on a single charge and think “but what if I have to drive 101 miles?!” And that is a valid concern. Or it would be, but in reality, the average person drives 37 miles a day (59.5 km). That is well within the range of even the smallest EV battery, even if it's only half-charged.
“But what about road trips?!”
Don't worry. Want to know why?
4. Charging stations are everywhere
Zoom in on this photo and see if you can find all 44,000 chargers!!
Okay, maybe not everywhere, but right now there are roughly 44,000 public charging stations located across America (many along highways or places where you might start running low on battery). In Europe, there are roughly 120,000. The fact is, you probably already drive by EV charging stations routinely without even noticing. And to help you find those stations, there are dozens of handy smartphone apps that’ll give you their exact location. Plus, in the next 5-10 years, there will be public or commercial charging stations in pretty much every parking lot.
“But the app is showing me there are no charging stations nearby!”
Truly that is a shame — but all is not lost, my friend! Why?
5. Battery life today is longer than you think — and it’s growing
And going and going and going and going and going....
In 2014, the Nissan Leaf had a battery range of 84 miles. Today, the 2017 Leaf can go 107 miles. In 2018, the Nissan Leaf will be able to go 150 miles. And so on, and so on. Not enough? For $35K, you can buy a new Tesla model 3 that has a range of over 300 miles. And by 2020, Elon Musk is positive that his cars will have a battery range of > 750 miles per charge. Even now, the Tesla S recently broke the record for longest drive on a single charge — a whopping 670 miles!
But nothing. Range anxiety solved (won't even be a topic of conversation within three years, trust me).
The European Union has been co-founding various infrastructure initiatives to accelerate the adoption of electric mobility across the continent. We discuss these initiatives here in brief, as well as what environmentally-concerned European citizens can do to help.