With a limited range, even on a full charge and a sparse charging infrastructure, range anxiety in an EV is definitely an issue. And so, it’s really the long-range EV that will drive mass adoption of electric vehicles. Or so I thought. After a few months with EVs in our garage, all of us at Autocar are now thinking differently.
A few months ago, heading to my hometown Goa for a vacation, I was pretty tempted to take our long-term Hyundai Kona on the trip. It would certainly help keep the fuel bills low, save the environment and what a story it would make. But when planning the 600km plus route from my Mumbai home, it was soon clear the story would be quite a read for all the wrong reasons.
The Kona’s 452km, ARAI-certified range isn’t what you get in the real world. Plus, with most of the driving on the highway, the range would drop further still. Yes, completely unlike IC engine cars, EVs return a slightly higher mileage in the city and a lower figure on the highway, thanks to the extra brake energy regeneration possible in the city. And so rather than have multiple – and longer – charging stops and potentially run out of charge somewhere in the ghats, I picked the keys to the Hector.
And that’s pretty much been the story with all the EVs in our garage – no matter the range each offered, they were all reduced to city runabout duty only. Until, that is, Hormazd decided to take the EQC to Mahabaleshwar, the roughly 250km distance should have been achievable, given that the Merc’s 471km max range was well over the required distance. But…. well, as you’ll read about it in our February 2021 issue, it was quite an electrifying story.
So, while the maximum range an EV offers is definitely a problem, the lack of a well-developed charging infrastructure is really its biggest hurdle, and that’s where the thought process changes. Offering a range in excess of 400km does not make the EV a long-distance vehicle, it will still be used for daily driving only, which is typically never more than 100-odd km for most motorists. So rather than drive up costs with extra batteries, a smaller pack with a range of around 200km still keeps the EV very practical and the more affordable price tag will help put it in the hands of more buyers.
Yes, it does mean you have to charge your car every night, but think about it, even with a longer range, you’d still plug in. So while the long-range EV will serve as the poster boy, it’s the shorter range one that will really usher in the EV.