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EV Range Has Changed Dramatically

Last Updated: March 2nd, 2023 | E-Mobility

Electric vehicle range has been on the minds of potential buyers for a long time. A common concern is whether the car will be able to make it to your destination without having to stop and recharge. Electric vehicles have come a long way in the past few years. The range has changed, but what does that mean for current and future EV drivers and their charging needs?

The average distance people travel each week has increased, and many EV drivers are able to go on long drives and take their cars out of town on a single charge. Let’s look at the numbers! According to the EPA, the average range per charge was merely 68 miles in 2011. A decade later, that number has shot up to 234 miles. Additionally, city electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, they can get you around town without worrying about running out of charge. Due to the range capabilities, charging networks and charging technology have also developed exponentially.

What's the right amount of range?

When it comes to range, it’s easier to argue that more is better. But sometimes, more is just a number. So how much range should you demand from an EV and say farewell to ICEs? That depends a lot on what distance you drive on a weekly basis.

Let’s put things in perspective. Looking at how much people drive on average per week gives an idea of how much range is actually necessary. Average Americans drive a total of 14,263 miles per year. This breaks down to nearly 1,200 miles driven per month and roughly 400 miles per week. Of course, depending on your location, the numbers could vary.

How much EV range on a full charge is enough?

There are more models than ever in the EV market. Unlike ten years ago, every major automaker is currently launching battery-electric models alongside their ICE models. The majority of them will have only electric vehicles in their product lineup by 2030. But can EVs really compete with the range offered by ICE vehicles? With the growing competition and technological advancement, the range possible for EVs is closing in. At time of writing, the longest EV range exceeds 500 miles per charge. Admittedly, that is for the most expensive and highest-performing model. But affordable, everyday cars are not left too far behind in terms of range.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 2020 was the first time the median range of all of the electric vehicles offered in the US was more than 250 miles per charge

So, how far can gasoline-powered vehicles go on a full tank? The average car tank can hold around 14 gallons of fuel. Given average miles-per-gallon efficiency, a full tank average car will run about 470 miles.   

How much can you do with a fully charged EV?

As mentioned earlier, the average person drive roughly 400 miles per week. That includes driving to work, dropping kids off at school, weekend shopping, and other errands. Compare this average distance with the range of average affordable models out there, 250 miles per charge. This means charging at most twice per week to have more than enough energy in the “tank.”  And unlike gas-powered vehicles, a lot of drivers have access to charging at home. No trips to the gas station are necessary! 

Charging Behavior vs. Filling Up

The frequency really depends on the driver when it comes to refueling ICE vehicles. Some people fill up once every two weeks while others top up multiple times every week. Regardless of the frequency, refueling requires a trip to the gas station. Meanwhile, to charge an EV, only a parking spot is needed. No matter if in a garage at the home, the office, or a parking lot outside a shopping mall, hotel, or restaurant. Those idle times when the car is not needed are perfect for topping up the battery. 

Charging networks are becoming increasingly robust. Charging routines now depend on the drivers’ preference. It is similar to our behavior in charging smartphones. Most people plug in at about 40-50% and it gets them through their day. Only on rare occasions does the phone fall to  3%. Likewise, EVs have easy access to charging ports; the vehicle can be charging whenever it’s parked, eliminating a separate trip to the gas station.

The Bottom Line

Over the last decade, the selection of EVs has dramatically increased, and so has the range that each model offers. From a mere 68 miles per charge, the average model in the market now has more than enough range for anyone to get through their week. The growth of charging networks rapidly mirrors the development of EVs on the road. It’s making it easier to eliminate range anxiety. From now on, buyers have fewer barriers to adopting EVs, at least when it comes to range and charging.

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