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Electric Vehicle drivers are really worried about being stranded, says Canadian study

Electric Vehicle

Electric VehicleIt sounds like a boozy claim at a party that can be settled with a simple Google search. But many rational people will find themselves on the wrong end of this one. Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety is a thing. It’s true. They did a study.

By “they” I mean a group called The Toronto Atmospheric Fund, which conducted a five-year (five!) study into the habits of corporate fleet managers in the Toronto area. The rest of us are left to presume there was a four-year study into the habits of corporate fleet managers in the Toronto area the organization felt wasn’t comprehensive enough.

But I jest.

The resulting paper, entitled “FLEETWISE EV300 Findings Report on EV Usage in Sixteen GTA Fleets” was earnest in its intentions. It took a comprehensive look at the data generated by fleets who use vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Volt, and the Toyota Prius Plug-in to find patterns that might affect adoption of electric cars. One of the most interesting findings of the comprehensive report is that drivers of electric vehicles often suffer from “Range Anxiety”. What is range anxiety? It’s the uncertainty that a driver’s electric vehicle has the necessary juice to complete its route. And it’s a major consideration for fleet managers, according to the report.

Some chargers use different plugs than others, and when you are done with all that, you have to put your life on hold for at least 30 minutes to get enough charge to make a difference. No wonder electric cars haven’t gone mainstream yet.

“The impact doesn’t stop at drivers’ feelings. Their fears translate into serious underuse of all-electric vehicles’ capacity, which not only undermines their contribution to the fleet’s work, but reduces potential maximum fuel savings and cuts down on potential reductions in GHG emissions. If severe enough, fallout from range anxiety can put the entire economic justification for conversion to EVs in jeopardy,” says the study.

So what can be done to quell this thoroughly modern condition? The study says fleet operators can ensure drivers that vehicles are properly charged and inform them of ways to extend the battery life, such as limiting use of air conditioning. It adds that operators can equip drivers with reliable navigation tools to mitigate the risk of unexpected trips.

Blogger Steve Hanley says the mindset of an electric vehicle driver still differs greatly from those of us who simply hit up the nearest Chevron and it is, in fact, a barrier to adoption.

“Public electric chargers are often hidden,” he points out. “You need a smartphone app to find them and when you get there, the nearest charger may already be in use. Either that, or it is part of a network you don’t belong to. Some chargers use different plugs than others, and when you are done with all that, you have to put your life on hold for at least 30 minutes to get enough charge to make a difference. No wonder electric cars haven’t gone mainstream yet.”

Recent numbers suggest sales of hybrid and electric vehicles are underwhelming. In July, General Motors reported that Chevrolet Volt sales fell 31% in June to a measly 1,225. In the whole first half of 2015, the company sold just 5,622 Volts. Not exactly Detroit in its heyday.

Launched in February, 2010, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund’s EV300 Program aims to help public and private organizations shift portions of their fleets to plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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  1. The study clearly states that fleet operators can successfully deal with range anxiety from users by ensuring the EVs are plugged in at night and have adequate in-vehicle navigation, as you restate in one out of your article’s 10 paragraphs. The other nine paragraphs blather on endlessly about range anxiety. You don’t highlight any of the positive results of the study, such as an overwhelming operating cost reduction, and elimination of green house gas emissions over internal combustion engined vehicles. Combined with the click bait title, your article is void of any real information, other than posting the link to the well-done study (albeit only covering less than a year’s real world usage of EVs).

  2. Despite the fact that modern electric vehicles are quite dependent on the charging stations and the process of service is not set so good, these vehicles will have their place in the world market in future. If we develop the support of these cars and prolong the distance they can go, we will get the ideal model of transport market. Here are 7 Crucial Tactics for Your Content Marketing Strategy where I got many interesting information for myself.

  3. The idea of an EV seems the most practicle one for now and the near future, but still suffering from some important limitations.
    The big one is the range issue. Its ok if the vehicle is only used for local trips, like shopping or taking the kids to a game. But, I live 180 km from Toronto, and it would not even guarantee my trip back home, not to mention being stuck on the Hwy. for hours due to unforseen accidents.
    And yes, there may be the odd charging station in the city, but getting to it only to find out there are already 6 others waiting in line is not enticing. That leads to the other issue of knowing WHERE to find a charging station. But that could easily be solved (or maybe already has) by having them displayed on the GPS.

    I realize solar panels on the roof, hood etc. do not have enough surface area to make a noticeable difference with charging, but could at least help with powering low voltage items like reflectors to replace power-hungry running daylights.

    Also, a home-charging station should be included in the purchasing price, with public stations to be made available free of charge and included in the car-license fee. Not ever having to pay for a gas fill-up sure would draw in potential buyers I think.

    But… how much opposition for the development of the EV is really coming from the big oil companies who would be losing much of their businessin the long run?

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