Opinion: EV Range Does Matter

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

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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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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5 of 150 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Apr 22, 2024

    Who is saying range doesn't matter? Of course it does. The question is whether this type of vehicle works for your life or not. If it doesn't, don't buy one. It's that simple.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Kwik_Shift_Pro4X on Apr 22, 2024

    In Delhi, with 27 million people, the Ghazipur landfill resides, which is considered the largest in India, and possibly in the world, is on fire.

    The emissions savings of every electric car ever driven and every solar panel ever installed has been undone over the last 5 hours of this single fire. And yet, you'll never hear anything about it from the 'climate change' crowd.

    • See 2 previous
    • EBFlex EBFlex on Apr 23, 2024

      “And ponder the fact that those people are allowed to vote and serve jury duty”

      Just wait until these people are dead and still voting for this garbage lol.

  • Jeff Glad that GM still makes a car for enthusiasts. Maybe if Chris is lucky he could get his hands on one it would make a good car review.
  • Tsarcasm Someone tell soft skull (musk) about the moss magnuson warranty act
  • Ajla Nice car.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Not at all.
  • Verbal Here's a little tale about long-term Tesla ownership.In 2017 my buddy bought a three year-old Model S for $68k, which was the going rate at the time. He kept it garaged and treated it with kid gloves. It looked and ran virtually like new. The only problem he ever had with it was some kind of recurring issue with the driver's door handle. He never had to replace the brakes.A couple months ago, at ten years of age, the original battery finally bricked. Tesla quoted him $17k to do a battery replacement. But! If he replaced the battery, they would give him $11k in trade on a new Tesla!!! You don't have to be a math genius to see that those are crooked numbers.Using aftermarket parts is a non starter. Rebuilt batteries can be sketch. And the cap that goes on the battery is a Tesla-only part.Most people don't have $17k burning a hole in their pocket for a car repair. What are you going to do? Ask your credit union for a $17k loan to put a new battery in your ten year-old car? Good luck with that.A local auto recycler quoted him $1000. The recycler said that if he replaced the battery, the car would have a resale value in the low $20k's. That wouldn't give him enough headroom to make it worth his while. He said there are 150,000 dead Teslas in the national inventory (don't know where he gets this figure). And there's no demand for used Tesla parts, since most Tesla owners seem to treat their cars well. So Teslas with dead batteries have marginal scrap value.Thus, my friend's Tesla, with 80k miles on the clock and in excellent condition, with a dead battery, was scrapped. During his ownership, the car depreciated by around $800 a month.He saved a lot of money by not paying for gas, oil changes, tune ups, and consumables. But in the end, all those saving were erased by huge depreciation.Welcome to long term Tesla ownership, folks.(Cue the wailing and rending of garments from the Tesla fanboyz.)