Electric vehicle range has been on the minds of potential buyers for a long time. The concern is always whether the car will be able to make it to your destination without having to stop and recharge. However, electric vehicles have come a long way in the past few years. The range has changed, but what does that mean for current and future EV drivers and their charging needs?
The average distance people can now travel each week has increased, with many drivers being able to go on long drives and take their cars out of town. Let’s look at the numbers! According to the EPA, the average range per charge was merely 68 miles in 2011. A decade later, that number has shot up to 234 miles. Additionally, city electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, as they can get you around town without worrying about running out of charge. At the same time, charging networks and charging technology have developed exponentially.
What’s the right amount of range?
When it comes to range, it’s easy always to argue that more is better. However, more is sometimes just more. So how much range should be demanded from an EV? That depends a lot on what distance you drive per week on average.
Let’s put things in perspective. Simply looking at how much people drive on average per week gives an idea of how much range is actually necessary. Therefore, how much range should a driver require from an EV to comfortably say farewell to ICEs? Average Americans drive a total of 14,263 miles per year. This breaks down to nearly 1,200 miles driven per month and roughly 400 miles per week. Of course, depending on your location, the numbers could vary.
How much EV range on a full charge is enough?
There are more models than ever in the EV market. Unlike ten years ago, every major automaker is currently launching battery-electric cars alongside their conventional models. Moreover, by 2030, most of them will have only electric vehicles in their product lineup. But can EVs really compete on the range with ICEs? With the growing competition and technological advancement, the range possible for EVs is closing in on that of traditional cars. For example, the longest range currently exceeds 500 miles per charge. Admittedly, that range is for the most expensive and highest-performing model. However, affordable, everyday cars won’t be left too far behind in terms of range.
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, for the first time, the median range of all of the electric vehicles offered for sale or lease in the US in 2020 was more than 250 miles per charge.
So, how far can gasoline-powered vehicles go on a full tank? The average car tank can hold around 14 gallons of fuel. Given average miles-per-gallon efficiency, a full tank average car will run about 470 miles.
How much can you do with a fully charged EV?
As mentioned earlier, ordinary people drive roughly 400 miles per week. That includes driving to the office, dropping kids off at school, weekend shopping, and other errands. Compare this average distance with the range of average affordable models out there, 250 miles per charge. This means charging at most twice per week to have more than enough energy in the “tank.” And unlike gas-powered vehicles, a lot of drivers have access to charging at home. No trips to the gas station are necessary!
Charging Behavior vs. Filling Up
The frequency really depends on the driver when it comes to refueling. Some people fill up once every two weeks while others top up once or twice every week. Regardless of the frequency, refueling requires a trip to the gas station. On the other hand, to charge an EV, only parking is needed. Whether in a garage at the home, the office, or a parking lot outside a shopping mall, hotel, or restaurant. Those idle times when the car is parked are perfect for multitasking by topping up the battery.
Significantly, charging networks are becoming increasingly robust. Charging behavior now depends on the drivers’ preference. It is similar to our behavior in charging smartphones. Most people plug in at about 40-50% and go through their day. Only on rare occasions does the phone fall to 3%. Likewise, EVs have easy access to charging ports; the vehicle can be charging whenever it’s parked, eliminating a separate trip to the gas station.
The Bottom Line
Over the last decade, the selection of EVs has dramatically increased, and so has the range that each model offers. From a mere 68 miles per charge, the average model in the market now has more than enough range for anyone to get through their week. The growth of charging networks rapidly mirrors the development of EVs on the road. Making it easier to eliminate the range anxiety. And from now on, buyers have fewer barriers to adopting EVs, at least when it comes to range and charging.