Opinion: EV Range Does Matter


opinion ev range does matter

Last month, I was chatting with Dave Thomas from CDK Global on the TTAC podcast. We were discussing electric vehicles, and Dave suggested that for many EV buyers, range isn’t that much of an issue.

That’s because, he said, many EV buyers will be able to charge at home and/or at work on a daily basis, and they aren’t going to use their EVs for long road trips, especially if they have a second car that is internal-combustion or a hybrid.

I think Dave made a valid point, but thinking it over later, the next time I tested an EV, I realized that there’s a flip side.

No, it’s not about road trips. It’s that for many EV owners or intenders, charging at home or work just isn’t that easy.

I am a perfect example of the urbanite with limited access to charging. I live in a multi-unit, high-rise condo building, sharing a garage with many other residents. It’s an older building, built long before electric vehicles were on the market. So unlike with many new-construction residences, there are no fast chargers in the garage. I can charge using the 240V outlets, sure, but it’s slow.

There are some fast-charger options nearby, at least. I can walk/drive about 5-10 minutes to a new mixed-use development that has two ChargePoint chargers in the parking garages, or go a bit farther to a Whole Foods that has a couple of chargers. It’s not the biggest inconvenience in the world, but it is still a pain.

It also means that I have to plan my charging a bit, to bake in time to drive to the charger, hook up to the charger (assuming there’s one open), pay, lock the car, and walk home. And reverse those steps when I need the car again.

Once again, that’s not the biggest pain in the butt in the world, but it does factor into how I manage time whenever I am testing an EV and likely to need to charge it. No wonder the Mercedes-Benz EQS and Hyundai Ioniq 6 earned praise from me based on their range.

At least two of my neighbors have EVs – one has a Tesla and another a Kia EV6. I’ve never seen the Tesla owner around, but I did ask the gentleman who owns the Kia how he charges. I’ve never seen it plugged in in the garage. His answer? He charges while he’s parked at the office.

Once charging is more plentiful and takes less time, this won’t be an issue. Nor will it be an issue with EVs that have long ranges – it’s one thing to hike a few blocks once a week and another to do it every two or three days.

I wish I’d have mentioned this to Dave – I think I will next time he’s a guest on the podcast. Again, it didn’t occur to me until after the episode aired.

Someday, perhaps even someday soon, range really will matter less to all EV drivers. Until then, it’s going to be a big deal to any EV driver that doesn’t have easy access to fast charging at home or work.

[Image: BLKstudio/Shutterstock.com]

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