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From EV Range Anxiety to Range Confidence

Posted 11/30/2023

What Are EV Range Anxiety and Range Confidence?

  • EV range anxiety is the fear of running out of power and getting stranded. Range confidence is the opposite.

  • Today’s EVs have higher battery capacity, allowing EV drivers to charge less frequently.

  • Increasing EV charging infrastructure at home, work, and on the go creates range confidence.

  • Level 2 charging supports home and work charging, and DCFC supports fleets and road trips.

  • The EV market is here and now.

The EV Market Has Made the Switch and You Should Too. The electric vehicle (EV) market is here and concerns about finding a charging location for your EV are quickly diminishing. Here’s what future EV drivers need to know about driving EVs with a sense of security and confidence.

What Is EV Range Anxiety?

The term "range anxiety" was a common association for early electric vehicle users, who were troubled by the fear of their battery electric vehicles (BEVs, also known as fully-electric vehicles) running out of battery power and the potential of being stranded on the roadside. A study by Cox Automotive revealed that over 80% of consumers hesitated to embrace electric vehicles due to worries about range anxiety, possibly stemming from uncertainty about the technology. Let's admit it: BEVs represent uncharted territory, so it's important to learn about the entire EV network.

Experts contend that range anxiety is mostly psychological. Similar to ICE vehicle drivers who vary in how often they visit a gas station, EV drivers may also vary their charging habits based on personality and acceptable risk. As one German study on psychological range noted, “users tend to avoid critical and potentially stressful range situations planning for substantial range buffers… Range buffers are also likely present in conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles [but] range buffers are more relevant for EV use.” As fueling or charging a vehicle requires monitoring and adapting vehicle usage, drivers must adopt their preferred “buffers” according to a risk assessment and understanding of themselves. That means creating a personal range buffer to reduce range anxiety.

EV drivers consistently say that their range anxiety is less of a problem once they start driving their EV. As stated in research conducted by Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll in 2019, while 58% of drivers cited running out of power as a barrier to buying an EV, “65% [of EV drivers] say they had range anxiety when they first purchased an EV, but it went away after a few months.” The total number of electric vehicle charging station locations in the United States has more than doubled since that research was conducted, increasing from just 26,959 locations in 2019 to 59,696 locations at the end of November 2023. Other studies found that “more than 95% of daily driving can be accomplished with 100 miles of electric range” and that “more than half of [a fleet of BMW Mini EVs with a 70-100 mile range] could meet 95% of driving needs with 100 miles range using only overnight home charging.” Today’s electric vehicles, which averaged 291 miles of range in 2022, have more than enough battery capacity to meet the daily needs of most drivers.

Why Does Range Anxiety Persist?

It’s simple: drivers are accustomed to refueling at gas stations, and simply driving past one without stopping can induce a sense of unease about battery capacity. But what these internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle drivers don’t realize is that 80 to 90% of charging will take place at home or at work, while the driver is parked. The “top off” mentality of the EV means that drivers are unlikely to run out of charge because they typically “top off” whenever they see a charging station. With technological advancements and the widespread development of charging infrastructure, there is a shift from range anxiety to range confidence.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, the U.S. has over 156,000 charging ports for plug-in EVs installed at the aforementioned nearly 60,000 locations. This number is expected to grow significantly due to the substantial funding poured into electric vehicle infrastructure. The demand for charging outlets is high, with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimating that the country will need 28 million charging ports by 2030 to accommodate the 33 million light-duty electrics projected to be on the road by then.

Blink Charging recently celebrated our second consecutive record quarter, with 5,956 charging stations contracted, deployed, or sold during Q3, and a new total of nearly 85,000 Blink charging stations worldwide. This expansion and contribution from various sources are promising as we anticipate new electric vehicle infrastructure. This means that EV owners can now relax and be assured that the EV community is here to support them.

How Expanding EV Charging Infrastructure Creates Range Confidence

Fundamentally range confidence all comes down to increasing the availability of electric vehicle chargers, which is unfolding thanks to investments from both public and private sectors. Between 2015 and 2020, the number of charging ports more than doubled, and in 2021 alone, it surged by over 55%.

Importantly, the rapid expansion of fast charging networks is also alleviating concerns about electric vehicle range during long-distance travel. Fast-charging stations have become more ubiquitous, reducing charging time and enhancing convenience for drivers traveling long distances.

In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration introduced the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. This initiative will allocate funds to states for strategically siting electric vehicle charging stations and establishing a connected network for data collection, access, and reliability. Numerous states have already secured funding for procuring, installing, and interconnecting chargers so they can ensure proper functionality and promote long-term data exchange. Each NEVI-funded site will feature 4+ connectors and a total power capacity of at least 600 kW. These stations will be strategically positioned no more than 50 miles apart along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors and within one mile of a freeway exit or highway roadway.

Thanks to the NEVI program, fully-electric vehicle owners will soon have access to a dependable national network of fast chargers, enabling them to easily charge their vehicles and drive cross-country without delay or apprehension about locating a station.

The Importance of Home Charging Solutions for Range Confidence

According to a study by J.D. Power on the EV charging experience at home, a 88% of EV owners reported regularly or always charging their vehicles at home. That’s why boosting confidence in BEV range is closely tied to having accessible and affordable home charging options. Charging at home means EV owners wake up with a full battery each day, avoiding the need for frequent stops at public charging stations.

The Blink HQ 200 offers a universal J-1772 plug and up to 50 amps of electricity.

While the initial home chargers were simple cables that plugged into a 110V wall outlet, today’s drivers are looking for advanced Level 2 home chargers that offer quicker and more efficient charging. The Blink HQ 200 offers a sleek design, competitive price, and up to 50 amp power output when plugged into 208/240V input. Drivers can connect the HQ to their home Wi-Fi with the Blink Charging Mobile App. Not only can EV drivers use the same app as they use for commercial charging, but they can manage their home charging process from anywhere, allowing them to schedule charging for off-peak electricity rates, view charging history, and manage their user profiles.

The Importance of Level 2 Charging Infrastructure for Range Confidence

For EV drivers who don’t live in a single-family home, L2 chargers have become increasingly popular, especially at multi-unit properties and public spaces such as parks, shopping centers, and parking facilities. These locations serve as ideal spots for efficiently recharging battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) on a daily basis.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average daily distance covered by a US driver is a modest 37 miles. EV drivers can easily recoup their commute while topping off at the office or at a nearby public charger. Whether running errands or shopping, L2 chargers provide a convenient way to recharge while going about daily activities.

As of 2022, 75% of public EV chargers in United States are L2 chargers. The consistent growth of public chargers since 2007 has played a crucial role in promoting the widespread expansion and adoption of electric vehicles throughout the nation.

But what about if you run out of power while driving an EV? The great news is that an increasing number of emergency roadside assistance companies are now adding EV battery charging to their services. The Blink Mobile Charger can offer up to 30 amps of power and up to one range per minute, allowing EV drivers to get the boost they need to get to a charging station. Worried about your EV range? Ask your roadside assistance company if it offers emergency EV charging.

Enhanced Battery Lifespans Decrease Range Anxiety

On a positive note, electric vehicle batteries are retaining their charge for more extended periods, ensuring a more secure and reliable driving experience.

A study conducted by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) provides quantitative evidence that EVs will meet drivers' daily travel requirements for a longer period than commonly believed. Many drivers and previous literature on the retirement of EV batteries have assumed that these batteries would be replaced once they lose 20 percent of their energy storage or power delivery capacity. But as researchers at the Berkeley Lab found, “batteries that have lost 20 percent of their originally rated energy storage capacity can still meet the daily travel needs of more than 85 percent of U.S. drivers.”

Not only will EV batteries last longer than expected, but research and development into repurposing EV batteries for energy storage may further expand their usage.

The EV Market is Here

The EV market is here, and its growth is instilling confidence and dispelling any lingering reservations. The data supports this positive outlook, projecting the global EV market to reach $980 billion by 2028, with the EV charging market expected to achieve $11.69 billion by the same year.

In the United States, the automotive landscape has undergone a significant transformation, with EVs constituting 8% of new car sales in the first three quarters of 2023. California, a prominent advocate for EV adoption, witnessed an impressive 22% of new cars in Q3 being electric vehicles. Globally, the financial commitment to EVs is underscored by consumer spending, reaching a remarkable $400 billion in 2022. The U.S. market reflects this commitment with over 40 BEV models available now and an additional 75 models anticipated between 2024 and 2030.

The momentum in EV adoption is further highlighted by the plan to introduce one million new EVs in the U.S. in 2023, signifying a strategic and widespread transition. Fleet preference for EVs is grounded in a compelling 30% lower total cost of ownership compared to conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Demonstrating the industry's trajectory is the commitment of global OEMs, surpassing $600 billion in EV investments from 2023 to 2027.

Examining the economic aspect, data from the Department of Energy emphasizes the cost-effectiveness of driving an electric vehicle, which can, on average, cost about half as much as driving an ICE car. Nationally, EV drivers spend $1.22 to cover the same distance as a regular car would on a gallon of gasoline. This comparison is referred to as an “egallon.” Unlike with volatile gasoline prices, the comparatively stable electricity costs allow EV drivers to better predict and budget for fuel expenses. Over the past decade alone, gasoline prices in the United States have exhibited significant fluctuations, ranging from below $1.50 to over $5 per gallon. These opportunities for significant cost reductions and EV charging expansion makes adopting electric vehicles a sensible decision.

The EV Market is Now

The transition from range anxiety to range confidence stands as a significant milestone in the increasing acceptance and adoption of electric vehicles. Fueled by technological advancements, an expanding charging infrastructure, and heightened public awareness, drivers can now shift from EV range anxiety to range confidence.

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