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‘Range anxiety’ no longer an issue for electric car buyers

Potential buyers of electric cars are sometimes put off by the thought of running out of power in the middle of a journey, but a new study has found that most drivers could do a whole week of normal driving on a single charge.

The study, by DrivingElectric.com, a consumer advice website for electric vehicles, looked at the mileage patterns of 500 motorists and concluded that ‘range anxiety’ is something that most drivers don’t need to worry about.

The website’s researchers found that the total average mileage covered by most drivers in a typical week, including travel for social, leisure, shopping, school runs and commuting, fell comfortably inside the published ranges of the latest generation of electric cars. Only longer business trips or occasional holidays would require a mid-journey top-up. Most electric car drivers wouldn’t need to worry about even a mid-week top-up.

The findings suggest that one of the main barriers to more widespread adoption of electric vehicles is based on a mistaken assumption among motorists that we travel greater distances under normal circumstances than we actually do.

In practice, even a shorter range car covering between 144 and 186 miles between charges would only need one top-up to cover a full average week’s commuting and social or leisure use.

“So-called range anxiety is consistently named by motorists as a main barrier to going all electric, but the facts suggest that range really shouldn’t worry most of us,” Vicky Parrott, Associate Editor of DrivingElectric.com, said. “The truth is that electric cars now need charging less frequently for normal use than many of us realise.”

Analysts found that the average weekly work commute added up to about 70 miles. School runs totalled about 24 miles a week. Journeys for social or leisure purposes came in at an average 89 miles, while shopping trips typically totalled 82 miles.

If all of those journeys were taken in one car, that would be a total of 265 miles – a distance that could be covered by four of the cars on the DrivingElectric.com list without re-charging. Even for lower-range cars, only one top-up should be needed during the course of a normal week.

“We are now seeing a widening gap between the perceptions of consumers about the range of electric cars and the capability of the cars themselves,” Vicky Parrott added. “We suspect this is because the earliest affordable electric vehicles enjoyed so much publicity that their shorter ranges have stuck in people's minds. Our research is exciting news because it shows that today's electric cars are perfectly poised for a breakthrough into the mainstream.”