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How to tackle ‘range’ anxiety in electric vehiclesBack

The lack of charging points and limited battery life are the main deterrents for motorists who are considering buying electric vehicles, according to new research.

The fear of running out of battery on a journey, known as ‘range anxiety’, needs to be tackled if more UK drivers are to swap an electric car for their current petrol or diesel engined vehicle, says independent fleet management specialist Venson Automotive Solutions.

“The UK is the largest market in Europe for zero emissions capable cars, accounting for almost a quarter (23.8 per cent) of registrations in the EU, in 2016,” explains Alison Bell, marketing director at Venson. “However, limited battery range remains one of the biggest concerns associated with electric vehicles with many citing this as a reason why they are reluctant to buy.”

According to Go Ultra Low (GUL) figures, the average commute in the UK is less than 10 miles, which could be covered by most plug-in vehicles after a home or work charge. Even for longer journeys, GUL says, more than a third of UK motorists never travel more than 80 miles in a single trip, comfortably within the range of most pure electric vehicles. The Nissan Leaf offers a range of 155 miles and technology is improving all the time, with the Tesla Model S offering a published range of 265 miles.

When it comes to recharging electric vehicles, the battery technology is constantly being enhanced. Currently there are three different levels of charging points, offering different recharge times. The higher the kilowatts (kW), the faster the battery will charge. Most networks offer a mix of ‘rapid’ (43kW-50kW), ‘fast’ (7kW-22kW) and ‘standard’ (up to 3kW) charging options.

The standard service station is rapid and will charge a battery from flat to 80 per cent in under 30 minutes. Fast points are installed in public locations and will recharge some batteries in two to four hours. The standard, home charging point generally takes around six hours to fully charge a battery. The only key is for owners to know which type of connector their vehicle needs.

“Charging an electric vehicle sounds complicated, but once drivers get to know their vehicle, it’s no more complicated than charging a smartphone,” adds Ms Bell.  “In addition, the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme offers grant funding of up to 75 per cent of the cost of installing electric vehicle chargepoints at home, up to £500.

“Charging at home costs about £3 for a full charge or two pence per mile, offering clear savings for motorists, which could outweigh the worries for many. Understandably, this may not solve a driver’s ‘range anxiety’, so we’ve identified a couple things motorists can do to reduce the worry.”

Top tips for reducing range anxiety in electric vehicles

  • Find your charging points. Interactive maps like https://www.zap-map.com/live/ offer a quick, easy way to find the nearest charging points. With 11,000 across the UK, it could be closer than you think.
  • Adjust your driving style. Just as with traditional fuel vehicles, accelerating and braking use more energy. Drive smarter by staying at a steady pace and decelerating slowly to improve the range of your vehicle.
  • Charge at work. Employers could look into the workplace charging scheme, which helps them support staff who want to plug-in and reduce their emissions. That way staff can charge their car at work ready for meetings and the commute home.
  • Charge at home. charging at home costs about £3 for a full charge or 2p per mile.

Posted by Beth Rose on 03/07/2017