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Anxiety The Problem, Not EV Range

A recent report from the United Kingdom highlights a maturing charging network and a reduction in range anxiety. The Automobile Association (AA) reports that the percentage of breakdown callouts for low battery has halved in the past 12 months. They have found that range anxiety does not match reality — half of the callouts were for anxious drivers who had not actually run out of range but from drivers panicked when their cars warned them that the battery was low. Having been I a similar situation in Queensland’s far west, I can understand the concern.

A little planning and using a phone charging app (like PlugShare) can go a long way. Part of the story is also learning and trusting the car. Most EVs will warn you when the charge is low. Tesla has the yellow triangle of death and will tell you to get to the nearest charging point. The electric vehicle ecosystem is evolving and expanding very rapidly, and some of the early adopters’ concerns are no longer valid. The situation is different in every state, in every country.


Yellow triangle of death

The AA said the top one third of breakdowns for EVs are exactly the same faults as with internal combustion engine vehicles, with those being 12V battery problems and tyres. Other EV faults are different, however, and cover things such as charging equipment, warning lights, battery monitoring systems, or key transponders.

“Electrification is going mainstream and potential EV owners shouldn’t be put off by myths about range. Once you have tried an EV it is hard to go back,” Edmund King, AA president said.

An AA survey has found similar concerns to what we have here in Australia, and, I would hazard a guess, worldwide — charging spaces need to be wheelchair friendly, and charge post design should consider users with limited mobility and/or disabilities. As I get older and stiffer (I think I inherited my mother’s arthritis), I feel the need to open the car door completely in order to enter and exit. A wide parking space is preferred.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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