Range Anxiety Solved?

One of the concerns of purchasers of electric vehicles is that the range on a single charge is limited so they might run out of power before getting to their destination. This is known as “range anxiety”. With a typical practical range of 200 miles or less for less expensive electric car models, they do not match the distance achievable on a single tank of diesel or petrol. A Tesla Model 3 Long Range claims a range of 370 miles but at £47,000 list price it’s out of the affordability of many people even if running costs might be lower than a diesel/petrol vehicle. Longer ranges require bigger electric batteries and that makes the vehicle expensive.

But recent announcements suggest than in few years’ time the range of electric vehicles will be enormously improved. Mercedes have released a concept car named Vision EQXX that has a range of 1,000 km (625 miles) using a relatively small battery. They achieve this partly by making the vehicle very lightweight with a low drag coefficient but the battery and motor system are also improved.

Tesla have promoted a modified Model S with a new battery that is able to travel 1,200 km (750 miles) on a single charge. That’s more than even diesel/petrol vehicles with large capacity fuel tanks. The new battery is named “Gemini” which in production will be based on LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate, also known as LiFePo4).

These vehicles and batteries may be a few years away from volume production but you can see the way the trend is progressing. With fast charging times and more extended charging networks, many of the objections to electric vehicles will disappear.

Already for most people who can charge their electric vehicles overnight at home, the ranges provided on low-cost cars are sufficient for most daily purposes. While their running costs are lower and taxation benefits make them overall a better buy.

Roger Lawson

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