The usage and demand of electric vehicles (EV) have been steadily increasing over the last few years. According to Markets and Markets, the Global Electric Vehicle Market size is projected to grow from 4,093 thousand units in 2021 to 34,756 thousand units by 2030, at a CAGR of 26.8%. More people are realizing rising issues such as global warming. Electric vehicles are the means to a more sustainable and cleaner future along with generating savings.
However, with every technology comes its set of challenges and EVs are no different. One of the key elements of an electric vehicle is its battery, and the condition of the battery is critical for the success of the EV. The performance of the battery can be affected over time due to age and wear. For many EV users, one thing that really bothers them is the range. Most of us would know it as Range Anxiety.
Defining Range Anxiety
Range anxiety is what an electric vehicle (EV) driver feels when the battery charge is low, and the usual sources of charging are unavailable. Agreed that its psychological but any malfunction may drastically affect the experience and cause stress to the driver.
If we had to define it then EV range anxiety is the fear of running out of power and not being able to find a charging point. Part of the reason for the anxiety could also be the lack of experience of using electric vehicles. However, in the future as we see more adoption of electric vehicles, we may see less range anxiety.
But before that becomes a reality, we still need to address this question. How to overcome range anxiety?
Overcoming Range Anxiety
Charging an EV is not like filling gas in your car. It does take some time to get your car battery to be charged. This is also a reason why there is a need to address range anxiety. Also, the EV charger infrastructure is not well developed (now) and may be inadequate. There are still a few things a user can do to overcome or ease range anxiety. Let’s take a look.
Measuring the Range: One of the common ways to overcome range anxiety is by measuring the average range that your vehicle provides. Most EVs have an average range of 180-200 miles over a single charge. How many miles you can get from your car over a single charge will help you determine the range you are getting out of your vehicle but at the same time it may also help you to overcome range anxiety to an extent. Instead of manually calculating this, we now have apps along with our car that may do the estimation for us.
Setting up a charger in your garage: One of the easiest ways of getting over range anxiety is installing a charger at home so that you can charge the battery at your convenience. There are chargers available in the market that allow you to charge the battery at your convenience by choosing the appropriate time. Charging stations also have mobile application which will allow you to pre-schedule the timeframe for charging your car. This can be a possible option until we see a surge in the improvement of public infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Many EV charger development companies may use the data generated from these apps using machine learning algorithms to optimize user experience for the future.
Invest in the right vehicle: There are plenty of options in electric vehicles. Its best to invest in a car that has a successful track record and reputation. This is another way of overcoming range anxiety. Cars like Chevrolet Bolt, Mercedes Benz EQC, Kia e-Nero, Tesla Model X etc., are vehicles that are considered to give maximum output on each charge. These are options until many other players in the automotive segments comes up with better options.
Ensure smooth driving: Sometimes range is also dependent on your driving skills. Always maintaining sensible speed, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration can yield better output from your battery. Usage of heating and air-conditioning can also reduce the range by at least 30 percent. Proper training on using the regenerative braking system can also help the driver to give back to battery and manage their battery better. Timely service of the vehicle along with its battery can also help in maintaining the range and avoiding malfunctions.
Don’t fully charge your battery: What? Why can’t I fully charge my battery? Many auto manufacturers including Tesla would recommend that unless you are going on a long trip, you need not fully charge your battery. Keeping your battery 100 percent always may not be ideal for your battery, in fact it may be bad for your battery. So, if you want the most out of your battery, its best to keep it charged around 80-85 percent.
However, overcoming range anxiety is not only up to the user. EV manufacturers can also play an important part in helping their customers overcome their anxiety.
What car manufacturers can do to reduce range anxiety?
There are two things that would be critical for any electric vehicle: the percentage of battery left, and the location for the next charging point. These two factors have an impact on your anxiety. Apart from these, the prediction of how long the battery is going to last needs to be accurate. For all these functions to work seamlessly, manufacturers need to ensure that they push timely updates while customers need to regularly check for updates and ensure that the car is using the latest firmware.
The application should be able to give valid estimations on destination and expected charge (percentage of battery remaining) on reaching the destination to ensure that the driver doesn’t have any anxiety or confusion related to his/her trip. If the charging stations can advertise how many chargers are engaged and how many are available, this can also help the customer to know how much time they need to spend at the station or in case of traffic they will be able choose the next available charging station.
Another feature that may play in huge role in sustaining good battery health would be to introduce predictive maintenance. This can notify the user about a potential malfunction before it occurs and make way for necessary repairs before a failure takes place.
Beyond all these measures is the obvious need for more fast charging infrastructure across the country. Better infrastructure will ease range anxiety but will also encourage more people to adopt electric vehicles.
Many auto manufacturers are also investing in finding ways to optimize the battery and battery manufacturers are also working on developing batteries that will give more output and may last longer. These factors will eventually help in getting rid of range anxiety.
As discussed earlier, more companies are planning to utilize user data from charging infrastructure and mobile application piece to implement machine learning algorithms that will better assist users and help them to make much more informed decisions.
This will play a vital role in easing range anxiety. Knowing your car vehicle and once you get comfortable with it may also help in easing range anxiety. As technology sees more advancement and with their injection into the automotive domain, we may see more reliable batteries and more ways of easing range anxiety overtime.