Curing Range Anxiety

Next year will see a sea change in American automobile scene. Plug-in hybrids like Chevy Volt and pure electric cars like Nissan Leaf and BYD E6 will start selling in the first determined effort to say good buy to our middle eastern overloards. The idea is that a Bush no longer has to hold the hand while walking with a Saudi King or an Obama doesn’t have to dutiful bow to High Oily Highness.

But there are a number of aspiring futurologists who claim that the world is afflicted with a strange disease called Range Anxiety – and because of that electric cars will not sell. The anxiety is so great that even if you regularly drive no more than 40 miles a day, a range of 100 miles on a charge is somehow impracticle.

Let us cure this disease by looking at some numbers. The data was compiled from the 2001 National Household Transportation Survey by the Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The pdf document is available here.

The numbers to look at are the Daily Accrued Miles per Day.


This shows that on a daily basis (the second column above) 91.4% of the days Americans drive less than 100 miles. In fact on 75% of the days they drive less than 50 miles. What this shows is if you have a car that gives 100 miles on a charge you can use it 90% of the days.  On those 10% of the days you have to either rent a car or if you have a second or third car, you can use it.

So, let us assume electric only cars with a 100 mile range are impracticle unless you have a second or third vehicle – since nobody wants to rent cars evrytime they want to drive more than 100 miles.

Now let us see  how many Americans have 2 or more cars. From this 2000 US census data we see that a full 57% of American households have two or more cars ! I see no reason why one of those can’t be a pure Electric Car.


Assuming a round figure of 105 million households in America, we see that nearly 60 Million households are ready to own a Electric car with a 100 mile range. All they have to do is to be able to decide before they hop into a car and drive, whether they are going to drive less than 100 miles that day or more than 100 miles. Take the electric car if you plan to drive less than 100 miles, otherwise take the gas car. Hell, make than 80 miles – just to be sure. Take the BEV if you drive less than 80 miles otherwise drive the gas car.

There, Range Anxiety is cured.

~ by evnow on September 2, 2009.

3 Responses to “Curing Range Anxiety”

  1. For my purposes, determining cents/mle is more relevant. I can then compare to my gasoline car. I would need to know how many kwh its takes to fully charge ANY battery and the range in miles.
    This info, however, does not seem to be readily available.

  2. The LEAF specifies 4 miles/kWh. So if you charge at home at 8c/kWh it works out to 2c/mile.

    • Yes, This seems about right. I attended the Leaf Tour in Santa Monica and and cents/mile was calculated and posted on displays
      about gas mileage. I currently pay .12/kwh which is what they used in their calculations, howeever SCE has special Time of Use pricing for EV’S that would bring it down to .08/kwh. Compared to my Ford Escape @ $3.oo per gallon, it costs me .15/mile. I have calculated that the Leaf, using these numbers equates to 100 MPG.

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