How We Can Alleviate A Key EV Fear

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In a recent AP article about Ford’s delayed second-gen electric pickup truck, one key problem for US EV adoption was brought up:

“Industry analysts say most early technology adopters and people who want to cut emissions have already purchased EVs. Automakers now have to convince skeptical mainstream buyers to go electric, but those customers fear limited range and a lack of charging stations.”

We Need To Acknowledge This Problem Before We Can Solve It

For people who are happy EV owners and think these concerns are overblown, we need to walk a mile in other people’s shoes. Personally, I know a number of skeptical friends and family members who don’t want to buy an EV, and this is despite talking to me and having a reasonable idea of what EV charging is like. So, I have an idea of what their concerns are.

First off, they’re not the kind of people who pretend to be taking 500-mile non-stop drives wearing an astronaut diaper and with a catheter inserted. Yes, that’s the big thing from trolls on the internet, but most real people are honest about the need to stop. Kids have to pee. You have to pee. Everyone needs to eat. Everyone needs a break and needs to stop and stretch their legs sometimes, too. But, even given a realistic scenario, people have valid concerns.

I’ll give an example of a real-world concern: driving across Texas. Is this something my mom does every day, or even every week? No. But, we have family in Texas, and she drives down there several times a year to visit. Going from near El Paso to Dallas takes most of a day. The same is true for a drive to Austin. If you push it a bit, you can drive to Houston in a day.

But, when I was driving back from Austin in my EV, it boggled my parents’ mind that I wasn’t going to get back to southern New Mexico in one day. In my Bolt, that’s a 14.5-hour drive, and even in a much faster charging EV, it’s still about 11 hours before adding any meal breaks or for stops at rest areas without charging. So, many people would rather just make an extra stop and not push it too much.

For people who don’t have a friend or family member who can tell them about what it’s like, the EV world looks more frightening. You have to remember that things like Plugshare, Supercharge.info, A Better Routeplanner, and other things that would give people a definitive answer on how an EV would work out in real life just aren’t on the average person’s radar today. So, they really have no idea whether an EV would make it on road trips, even if they don’t go on those very often.

And, speaking of road trips being relatively rare, that’s another thing EV fanatics need to rethink. Even if you only drive on a road trip 5% of a time, that still matters. Nobody wants to buy 95% of a car. If you’re going to make a payment every month or lay tens of thousands of dollars on the barrel head, you want a car that can do 100% of what you expect a car to do!

Ways We Can Actually Solve This Problem

Instead of pretending this problem doesn’t exist or saying things like “should’ve bought a Tesla!,” we need to walk the walk more and not only talk the talk as early adopters.

Fortunately, I see people doing this all the time. There are some really cool accounts on YouTube, X/Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else where people are giving people a real taste of what it’s like to travel with an EV. The number of accounts doing this is growing, and some of the great ones include Out of Spec and Bearded Tesla. These videos let people see not only that an EV can get there, but gives enough detail where people can see exactly what they’re in for.

This might not always please people and make for a favorable comparison to gas car drives that are right on the limits of a day, but it helps get rid of the notion that you simply can’t get there, or that you’ll spend weeks charging at every plug you can find.

Sadly, only the most popular vehicles seem to get tested this way and the test results publicized. There are tons of videos of Teslas and Rivians going out all sorts of places and getting all sorts of attention doing it. But, I don’t see much when it comes to other EVs. I can only speculate as to why this is.

Preaching To The Choir Isn’t Very Helpful

On top of the dearth of such content, I also don’t see many mainstream publications doing this. While it’s great to share travel stories to fellow EV fans on social media, we’re often preaching to the choir. People who already know that a Tesla can make the trip are glad to see it, but if nobody else is exposed to that information, we don’t actually help EV adoption along.

So, we need to be working on ways to get outside of the EV bubble and start getting the word out more. The content will have to be very interesting to get people’s attention, because most people won’t click on a story or YouTube video about EVs if they’re not into EVs already. So, where EVs are going and what you’re doing needs to be more interesting than the EV itself!

How I’m Planning To Contribute To Solving This

For my upcoming travels, I’m going to focus on national and state parks! I mean, hey, who doesn’t love those? There may be a few weirdos who hate the Grand Canyon (I’ve met one), but everyone else wants to hear about trips to fun places like that. I’ve even started a website to write about this on the side (the actual travel logs will all be published here and I’ll publish links there). It’s a work in progress right now, and I’ll write an article just about the project once it’s a little more mature.

But, I can’t crack this problem alone! We all need to be finding ways to share the story of having a good time traveling in EVs with people who aren’t EV fans already. Instead of focusing on what you’re driving on the adventures you share to social media, be sure to focus more on the journey and the destination!

Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.


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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1989 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba