Is "Range Anxiety" Keeping You From Buying an All-Electric Vehicle?


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The benefits of electric vehicles are numerous. While gasoline-powered vehicles convert only 17%-21% of the energy contained within the gasoline to power the wheels, electric vehicles convert over 77% of their battery energy to power the wheels.

Electric vehicles are good for the environment because they emit no tailpipe pollutants, and the electricity used to power them can come from nuclear, hydro, solar or wind power, none of which add pollutants to the air. Electric vehicles have greater torque and thus provide greater acceleration. Electric motors are quiet and require less maintenance than internal combustion engines.

So, if electric vehicles are so great, why aren't more people driving them? The answer can be summed up in two words: "range anxiety."

What is "range anxiety"?

"Range anxiety" is the fear that an electric vehicle won't have sufficient range to reach its destination, and that its passengers would be stranded. The term was first used in a September 1997 article by Richard Acello in the San Diego Business Journal.

The term must have struck a chord because, on July 6, 2010, General Motors filed to trademark the term, stating as their purpose, "promoting public awareness of electric vehicle capabilities". Hmm. In 2013, the Norwegian equivalent of "range anxiety", rekkeviddeangst, landed in second place on a list of Norwegian "words of the year" released by the Norwegian Language Council.


In 2016, a study by researchers at MIT and the Santa Fe Institute showed that most commutes and daily trips are well within the range of an electric vehicle, and that 87% of the vehicles on the road could be replaced by an electric vehicle without needing to recharge during the day.

Strategies to beat range anxiety include:

  • Creation of extensive charging infrastructure
  • Development of higher battery capacity
  • Use of battery swapping technology, which is commonly used in warehouses on forklift trucks
  • Use of range extenders, which can include internal combustion engines or fuel cells
  • Creation of highly accurate navigation and range prediction applications.

The average range of a gas-powered vehicle is 300-400 miles (400-600 km). With that in mind, let's take a look at the ranges provided by today's most popular all-electric vehicles.

1. 2019 Audi e-tron

  • Range:204 miles (328 km)
  • Top speed: 124 mph (200 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 5.7 seconds
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $74,800

Audi's first all-electric vehicle, the e-tron is a luxury SUV that also comes with all-wheel drive and has towing capacity.

2. BMW i3

  • Range:153 miles (246 km)
  • Top Speed: 93 mph (150 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 8 seconds
  • Seating: 4
  • Starting price: $44,450

For the i3, BMW is offering an optional gasoline-powered range extender engine that is the same 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine used in the BMW C650 GT motorcycle. It has a 2.4 gallon (9 L) fuel tank.

The range extender engine starts when the battery drops to a specific point, then acts as a generator to produce electricity. The i3's range can be extended from 80 to 100 miles (130-160 km) to 150 to 190 miles (240-300 km). The range-extender option costs an additional $3,850 in the U.S., €4,710 in France, and €4,490 in the Netherlands.

3. 2019 Tesla Model S

  • Range:370 miles (595 km) (Long Range), 368 miles (593 km) (Performance)
  • Top speed: 163 mph (262 km/h) (Performance), 155 mph (249 km/h) (Long Range)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 2.4 s (Performance), 3.7 s (Long Range)
  • Seating: 5 (+2 short children)
  • Starting price: $86,200 (Long Range)

The Tesla Model S is an all-electric 5-passenger hatchback. Its pair of electric motors generates a massive amount of torque, allowing the Model S to outrun just about anything on the road.

4. 2019 Tesla Model X

  • Range:328 miles (528 km) (Long Range AWD), 305 miles (491 km) (Performance AWD)
  • Top speed: 163 mph (262 km/h) (Performance), 155 mph (249 km/h) (Long Range)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 2.7 s (Performance), 4.4 s (Long Range)
  • Seating: 5-7
  • Starting price: $98,200

The 3-row Tesla Model X SUV will allow you to cart around seven friends or a lot of stuff, and it goes 0 to 60 mph in... wait for it... 2.7 seconds.

5. 2019 Tesla Model 3

  • Range:348 miles (560 km) (Long Range AWD), 310 miles (500 km) (Performance)
  • Top speed: 162 mph (261 km/h) (Performance), 145 mph (233 km/h) (Long Range)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 3.2 s (Performance) 4.4 s (Long Range)
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $45,700 (Long Range)

Tesla's "car for the masses," that is, if you have a spare $45,700 lying around, is the smallest and least expensive Tesla. It got a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).

6. Hyundai Kona Electric

  • Range:292 miles (470 km)
  • Top speed: 104 mph (167km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 6.4s
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $36,450

Building on its popular gas-powered Kona subcompact SUV, Hyundai has built a really versatile car in which to get around.

7. 2020 Kia Soul EV

  • Range:243 miles (391 km)
  • Top speed: 90 mph (145 km/h)
  • Acceleration: (0-60mph): 11.2 s
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting Price: $35,000

Kia did a huge range increase between the 2019 model, which only got 111 miles, to the 2020 model which has a range of 243 miles.

8. 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC

  • Range:220 miles (354 km)
  • Top speed: 112 mph (180 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 4.9 s
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $67.900

The EQC's two electric motors provide all-wheel drive, and the base model comes with a sunroof, satellite radio, a quality sound system, power liftgate, rear side-window sunshades, rain-sensing wipers, heated seats, rear air suspension, and LED headlights with active high beam assist.

9. 2019 Kia Niro EV (e-Niro)

  • Range:239 miles (385 km)
  • Top speed: 96 mph (155 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 7 s
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $37,500

Kia's hatchback/SUV gas-powered Niro was already popular, and the all-electric version should be popular as well.

10. 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV

  • Range:238 miles (383 km)
  • Top Speed: 93 mph (150 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 6.5 s
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $37,495

The Bolt was the first all-electric vehicle with a range of over 200 miles and a price tag of less than $40,000.

11. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

  • Range:105155miles (169–250 km)
  • Top speed: 115 mph (185 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 9.9 s
  • Seating: 4
  • Starting price: $30,315

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric also comes in hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, but all versions are only available in select markets.

12. Ford Focus Electric

  • Range:115 miles (185 km)
  • Top speed: 84 mph (135 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 9.9 seconds
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $29,200

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranks the Focus Electric as the most fuel-efficient car sold in the U.S.

13. 2019 Jaguar I-Pace

  • Range:234 miles (377 km)
  • Top speed: 124 mph (200 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 4.8 s
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $69, 850

While it doesn't resemble a typical SUV, the I-Pace can do off-road.

14. 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

  • Range: 226 miles (364 km)
  • Top speed: 93 mph (150 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 6.5 s
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $37,445

Newly released in 2019, this new Leaf has 214 horsepower.

15. Volkswagen e-Golf

  • Range:186 miles (300 km)
  • Top speed: 90 mph (145 km/h)
  • Acceleration (0-60mph): 10.4 seconds
  • Seating: 5
  • Starting price: $31,895

Volkswagen's answer to the Tesla Model 3 and the Nissan Leaf, but it may cause you range anxiety.

Watch the video: Tesla Model Y Regrets. The Facts After 1500 Miles Time To Sell? (February 2023).