Saturday, 28 May 2011

Range anxiety: an overcharged story

by Stephen Bieda on 01/03/11

I concur with the projection of the nation's leading EV advocacy group Electric
Mobility Canada, that 2.5% of vehicles on the road in Canada by 2018 will be
electric. That seems to be a reasonable target and in line with the original
Ontario government mandate of 1 in 20 by 2020 (5%).

What I have issue with, is so many EV cynics citing range anxiety as the 
Achilles heel of BEVs like the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi iMiEV. Back
in November, I was in Toronto at an EV industry conference participating
in a EV infrastructure round table break out session with a host of EV stake-
holders when the tiring range anxiety question was raised once again.

I maintain whether you own a battery electric vehicle (BEV), a hybrid, a 

PHEV, a gas or a diesel vehicle, the issue of how far you can go before running
out of stored energy is always present and somewhere in the back of your 
mind. The range anxiety issue is so overblown because cynics need something 
to talk about and the fear of the unknown can always be relied on to strike a 
chord with the public.

The real difference between a Nissan Leaf and its ICE platform brethren 
the Nissan Versa, is the Leaf gets up to 160 km on a charge and the Versa up
to 620 km on a tank. So what! Most everyone by now has heard the much
quoted figure for the daily average commute is 64 kms round trip. How often
does anyone just hop in their car and drive aimlessly and not pay attention to
their instrumentation? How likely is it that while you are driving your car that
you will have sudden memory loss forgetting that you car can only go X kms
before it requires more juice? If anything, those with a EV will be less likely 
than ICE auto drivers to run out on the side of the road because they have the
benefit of advanced iPod interface instrumentation and a heightened sense
of what their vehicles capabilities are or are not. Range anxiety is a red herring

We would all love to be able to mindlessly drive forever without charging up
but a fully electrified wireless highway network is still decades away.

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