For those who’ve been mulling over buying or leasing an electric car, ‘range anxiety’ has typically concerned some – and who can blame them? After all, driving to visit relatives, enjoy a day out somewhere or perhaps to fulfil a work commitment while smugly emitting zilch out of the back is one thing, but running out of juice and becoming stranded is quite another.
Technology continuously marches forwards in the name of solutions, though, and the latest research from DrivingElectric.com has lead them to now call range anxiety a ‘needless worry’. The site was launched earlier this year by Dennis Publishing, the people behind Auto Express, with the magazine’s editor Steve Fowler also placed at the helm of this new resource devoted to all-things-electric.
DrivingElectric.com number-crunched the driving and journey habits of 480 drivers across the UK to get a feel for whether range anxiety is becoming less of a factor in the choice over buying or leasing an electric car, and the results are pretty interesting.
The average UK motorist’s typically work commute tots up to 70 miles at the end of each week, they reckon, while 24 miles are added by the school run, 82 miles by shopping trips and 89 by social or leisure use. That’s a total of 265 miles on average, or about 13,250 per year.
Electric vehicles (EVs) of old would struggle to accommodate even a modest weekly mileage like this without the need to be plugged in and topped up or recharged fully, but a growing number of new electric vehicles being introduced to the market are able to cover around 265 miles on a single charge. EV drivers just need to bear in mind that heavy use of the accelerator and features like climate control, along with carrying around excess weight in the boot and driving in cold temperatures will all affect the range of an electric car.
While a popular electric car like the Volkswagen e-Golf is generally quoted as being capable of covering between 144 and 186 miles before its battery needs recharging, other electric cars like the Hyundai Kona 64kWh can gobble up a claimed 339 miles at best, which is still excellent even if real-world driving brings this down to around 292 miles.
The latest version of the Nissan LEAF falls just short of DrivingElectric.com’s average weekly mileage, managing upto 235 miles, but this is still a significant improvement on the original LEAF’s 124 miles, which in real-world conditions usually amounted to around an 80-mile range. Vehicle Consulting’s directors drove Nissan LEAFs for over a year and experienced this first-hand.
At the posh end of the electric car spectrum, the dribble-worthy Tesla Model S 100D promises a hugely impressive notional electric driving range of 393 miles, trouncing the fictional average scenario under discussion, while a tiddler like the Kia Soul EV can reportedly notch up 140-to-155 miles on electricity.
“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”, DrivingElectric.com associate editor Vicky Parrott comments. She adds: “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.”
All this means that even the least capable of electric cars should now only require one full recharge in order to tackle the average UK driver’s weekly shenanigans, which is a far cry from previous notions of having to mess around with cables on a daily basis or to change one’s routine due to range anxiety.
And the other good news for electric car drivers?
This development involves slightly more vision and a sprinkling of bravery on the part of prospective EV adopters. In addition to Hilton hotels, NCP car parks and Novotel tie-ups, over 30,000 private parking space owners have placed their trust in YourParkingSpace and are earning extra income while they’re out or away. It’s a great concept with the added benefit of properties looking occupied, which can boost their security.
YourParkingSpace cite an anticipated figure of 200,000 electric vehicles on the UK’s roads by the time Santa Claus has done his thing at the end of next year and, having identified an exciting opportunity, the parking platform has formed a partnership with Zap-Map, the leading website and app combo for finding the location of electric vehicle parking spaces across the UK.
People who drive electric cars will now be able to quickly find and prepay for private residential or spare business car parking spaces that come with an EV charge point and the prices quoted through the YourParkingSpace and Zap-Map collaboration cover both the parking space and the charging of the car.
This is a potential profit-maker or at least a recuperation exercise for EV adopters somewhat nervous that it’ll take them a perceivably long period of time to recoup the cost of their domestic home charge point’s installation and the inevitable increase in electricity bills. Renting out an otherwise empty driveway and permitting EV drivers to plug in is a great concept, although we only envisage a fairly limited uptake. Some of the more modest mainstream electric cars on the market take around four hours to charge their batteries, correlating nicely with the length of time the driver will be away from the vehicle, at work or play. The only possible downsides are perhaps contrived, such as the extremely unlikely risk of fire, abuse of a property owner’s charge point or indeed property, and the arrangement for dealing with any service-user issues such as being unable to connect or experiencing other technical problems with the cables, charge point or some other part of the infrastructure.
It’s greatly encouraging to see all manner of organisations and businesses striving to facilitate the acceleration of the government’s vision for as many motorists as possible to go electric as quickly as they are able and we welcome these two developments.
Thinking of leasing an electric car? Our friendly and knowledgeable contract hire experts will happily share their recommendations and identify the best deals and offers on the PCH or business lease market.