QOTD: Range Anxiety

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

qotd range anxiety

Hyundai announced today that the maximum range in the Ioniq6 will be a tick over 360 miles.

Not bad!

Range anxiety has always been a concern with EVs, but we're reaching a point where EVs can get over 300 miles to a charge -- this Hyundai isn't the only one. It wasn't that long ago when 300 miles was pretty good for an internal-combustion-engine vehicle.

Of course, technology advances, and now most ICE cars, crossovers, and trucks get more than 400 miles of range. That's usually because cars are simply more fuel-efficient now -- though sometimes it's a function of a large tank. That latter bit tends to happen with gas-guzzling large trucks -- it is possible for a vehicle with poor MPGs to achieve a decent fuel range if the tank is big enough.

The few ICE vehicles I test now that have a range under 300 miles are dedicated sports cars and cars with tiny tanks. That said, 300 miles still would give me, if I had an average commute of 40 miles per day, seven and a half days of driving before I needed to refuel. Or in the case of an EV, seven and a half days before needing to recharge. Yes, yes, I am simplifying things here -- no one is driving exactly 40 miles a day each day, I'm not factoring in weekends or non-commuting trips, and I'm not factoring in the effect that weather and driving style have on EV range -- but the point is, 300 miles of range means you won't need to worry about charging on the daily.

To be fair, most EVs aren't yet at 300. All-wheel drive seems to sap range, and in some cases, one must fork over more dough for a battery pack that can provide more range. Right now, ranges of 200-250 miles are more common, and having even 50 fewer miles available to you can make a difference.

This leads, after this long preamble, to my question to you -- what range, be it fuel or EV charge, would make you the most comfortable? Even when driving an ICE vehicle, I find myself eyeing the gauge a lot more when the max range is under 300. Even when gas is cheap -- and even when I can expense it. Same with EVs -- I was more relaxed testing the Mercedes-Benz EQS than I have been with other EVs because I knew the range was over 300 miles.

What say you? Sound off below.

[Image: Southworks/Shutterstock.com]

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6 of 63 comments
  • Surakmn Surakmn on Feb 03, 2023

    Wrong question, for a lot of people even a PHEV has enough range for commute or errands. The problem is lack of a cost effective, speedy and available charging infrastructure. With an ICE you're usually never more than a few miles away from a ten minute fill up. THAT is what makes me comfortable on a cross country trip. Electrics can manage more routes than many people realize but you have to plan it out and allow for charging times and pray charging stations are real and working shopping the way. It's a few years out yet.

    • See 2 previous
    • VoGhost VoGhost on Feb 06, 2023

      Bullnuke, The Tesla supercharger network is extremely reliable. Plus, the vast majority of charging stations have 8-12 chargers. Your vehicle can tell you how many are available on the nav sys. They've literally thought of everything. You just pull up, plug in, and do what you need to do. No credit cards. No phone apps. Go to the bathroom, grab a bite, and you are set to go.

      Maybe wash your hands, too.

  • Surakmn Surakmn on Feb 04, 2023

    True anyone who tops off nightly has plenty of range for their commute, that's not the point. Tesla's proprietary network is an asset but moot for the majority that doesn't plan to buy a Tesla. And to the previous comment's point, charging stations aren't ubiquitous. When fast charging becomes as quick, as cheap and as readily available as gas stations an electric will be viable as an only car in the garage.

    • VoGhost VoGhost on Feb 06, 2023

      Maybe those are your needs, but they don't represent what most of drivers today need. It's like saying, "I'll buy an ICE vehicle when I can leave the house with 300 miles of range every morning" or "I'll buy an ICE when I spend less than a minute a week refueling" or "I'll buy ICE when I no longer need to stand outside in the weather at gas stations every week."

      Once you experience the advantages of EVs, most people realize those supposed disadvantages are actually fake.

  • Kwik_Shift I like, because I don't have to look at them. Just by feel and location while driving.
  • Dwford This is the last time we are making these, so you better hurry up and buy (until the next time we make them, that is)
  • FreedMike @Tim: "...about 40 percent of us Yanks don't live in a single-family home."Keep in mind that this only describes single family **detached** homes. But plenty of other house types offer a garage you can use to charge up in - attached single family homes (townhouses, primarily), or duplex/triplex/four-plexes. Plus, lots of condos have garages built in. Add those types of housing in and that 40% figure drops by a lot. Regardless, this points out what I've been thinking for a while now - EV ownership is great if you have a garage, and inconvenient (and more expensive) if you don't. The good news if you're looking for more EV sales is that there are literally hundreds of millions of Americans who have garages. If I had one, I'd be looking very closely at buying electric next time around.
  • Matthew N Fanetti I bought a Silver1985 Corolla GTS Hatchback used in 1989 with 80k miles for $5000. I was kin struggling student and I had no idea how good the car really was. All I knew was on the test drive I got to 80 faster than I expected from a Corolla. Slowly I figured out how special it was. It handled like nothing I had driven before, tearing up backroads at speeds that were downright crazy. On the highway I had it to about 128mph on two occasions, though it took some time to get there, it just kept going until I chickened out. I was an irresponsible kids doing donuts in parking lots and coming of corners sideways. I really drove it hard, but it never needed engine repair even to the day I sold it in 1999 with 225000 miles on it, still running well - but rusty and things were beginning to crap out (Like AC, etc.). I smoked a same year Mustang GT - off the line - by revving up and dumping the clutch. Started to go sideways, but nothing broke or even needed attention. Daily driving, only needed the clutch into first. It was that smooth and well-synced. Super tight, but drivable LSD. Just awesome from daily chores to super-fun.To this day I wish I had kept it, because now I have the money to fix it. It is hard to explain how amazing this car was back in the day - and available to people with limited money - and still the highest quality.
  • Cprescott Well, duh. You will pay more to charge a golf cart than an ICE of the same size if you charge externally. Plus when you factor in the lost time, you will pay through the nose more than an ICE on lost opportunity costs. Golf car ownership savings is pure myth.