Myths about Range Anxiety for Electric Vehicles

With proper planning, the experience in driving an electric car is actually more convenient than driving a gasoline car. As a photographer, I have to drive around to take photos and videos for my customers. I can say that I have zero problems with regards to any range anxiety. The following explains my experience.

In a day to day basis, an average driver would drive an average of 30-40km per day. Consider a battery’s total range is 250km – that is using less than 1/8th or so of the total battery’s capacity. Local driving in town is certainly not an issue.

About overnight charging: Despite the standard plug level 1 charger charging slower than the dryer plug level 2 charger, even with a Level 1 standard wall plug charger, as long as the user plugs in the car every night while sleeping, the user is only charging back the used power of the previous day. Generally it takes about 18 hours to charge an empty battery to full. But, how would one use up the entire battery in one day for local driving? For example, if the user uses 1/8th of the 250km battery in a day (uses 30km of range), using a standard power outlet will charge back up the used 1/8th of power, bringing the battery back to 100% when waking up in the morning.

For those living or renting houses or apartments, the following reasons may not be suitable to own or lease an electric car:

  • Older apartments with no 120V standard electric plug in the parkade
  • Older apartments may not have the electrical infrastructure in place to install Level 1 or Level 2 electric plugs
  • Stratas that don’t allow electric car charging in the parkade
  • Stratas that don’t allow installation of additional electrical infrastructure to support Level 1 or Level 2 charging
  • Landlord does not allow standard charging or adding additional infrastructure to charging

Driving an electric car seems to only makes sense as long as there is infrastructure at home to charge overnight. Therefore those renting or not having their own homes or living in apartments may encounter difficulties.

More and more public charging stations at retail complexes:

Normally when people go shopping or do errands, if a user finds a electric car charger, they would plug it in and top up power while doing errands, grocery shopping, or having a meal at a restaurant. It makes sense to go about the day to day life while the car is charging, to do 2 things at the same time.

As time goes on into the future, more and more places will have Level 2 electric charging stations available in shopping mall complexes. Also more Level 3 quick chargers will be added on the highway routes.

Long distance road trip experiences:

To take this into perspective, an Nissan Leaf 2018 with a 250km range – one can go from Vancouver to Chilliwack BC and back in one whole charge with about 25% of battery left.

An example of good planning – is a road trip to the Chilliwack Tulip Festival recently. From Vancouver, the battery starts off as 100%. Once we get to Chilliwack, the battery has a remaining power of about 65%. Then on return to Vancouver, we had dinner at Milestones at the High Street Shopping complex in Abbotsford. By this time the battery range got to about 50%. The complex has a electric car charger, so we plugged it up and charge while having dinner. By the time finished having dinner, the battery range was about 75%. And by the time returned back to Vancouver, there is 50% power left. The key point is to take advantage of destination level 2 charging whenever possible to add back power to the battery to extend the range.

Another example is a roadtrip to Seattle Premium Outlets using a Tesla. The car starts out at 300km range. By the time we get to Seattle Premium Outlets near Everett, WA, the range is about 150km. Expecting to shop for about 2-3 hours, we plugged the car into a level 2 EvGo charger, and the range goes back up to nearly 275km range. Given such, it may not be necessary at all to visit a Tesla Supercharger if heading straight back to Vancouver directly. On the way back up to Vancouver, we dine at a restaurant at the Angels of the Wind casino, and further plug in the car using a level 2 charger. Despite that location having 22 Superchargers, there is no need to use that.

In summary: With proper planning, it maybe possible to do road trips with an electric car – just as long as to plan ahead destination charging (ie: stop over to dine in restaurant or at the factory outlet shopping, etc). As the years progresses, there will be more DC Fast chargers added along the highways, to give drivers more peace of mind for quick charging.