According to senior economist for Cox Automotive, Charlie Chesbrough, once EVs achieve a 5% share of new vehicle sales in a given market, EV adoption really starts to take off. Why 5%? That’s considered to be the “tipping point” where the general public has become comfortable that EVs are no longer novel or risky purchases. That milestone was passed in the US, last year when EV’s comprised 5.5% of US auto sales. That momentum has continued this year and by the end of the third quarter in 2023, EV’s made up 7.9% of new cars sold in the US, a nearly 50% increase over the same period in 2022.
While auto manufacturers scramble to bring EV models to market, there’s still a prevalent myth out there that’s held back the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) for years: range anxiety. If that happens to be a new buzzword for you, “range anxiety” is the fear that an EV will run out of charge mid-trip, leaving the driver stranded. While the fear of being stranded is entirely understandable, is it still relevant or justified? Let’s look at the facts and debunk the common misconceptions about EV range.
Myth 1: Electric Cars Have Limited Range
Fact: All cars have limited range, modern EVs can travel pretty far on a single charge
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of modern EVs can travel more than 300 miles on a single charge. While the range of an EV largely depends on the model and the battery technology it uses, advancements in battery technology means EVs now offer far better energy density and longevity compared to earlier battery types. In fact, the top 20 best selling EV’s in the US have an average range of over 300 miles.
Myth 2: EVs Are Impractical for Daily Travel
Fact: EVs offer driving ranges that exceed most drivers’ daily needs
According to the Federal Highway Administration’s latest numbers, the average American drives 300 miles each week, or 35 miles per day. With the most popular EVs averaging a range in excess of 300 miles on a single charge, EVs already exceed most drivers’ daily travel needs. That also means that EV’s are sitting idle for most of the day, with estimates of cars sitting idle more than 90% of the time, so if you need to top off your vehicle charge, there is plenty of time for that while it sits in your driveway or office parking lot.
Myth 3: EVs Can’t Handle Long-Distance Travel
Fact: EVs Are Suited for Both Short and Long-Distance Travel
As the demand for EVs rises, so does the expansion of charging infrastructure. Public charging stations are now widely available along highways, at gas stations, and in many other public locations. Plus, with on-board GPS systems and phone apps to locate charging stations, long-distance travel in an EV is a breeze.
Again, according to data provided by the FHA,, the average summer long-distance trip is 284 miles one-way. More than three out of four (78 percent) summer trips are 50-249 miles in length and one out of 10 (11 percent) trips are between 250-400 mile, one way. And, according to one study, those making road trips prefer to make pit stops for stretching, food and bathroom every two hours. Combine that with some trusted advice from your friends on the r/roadtrip sub-reddit, you’d want that rest to last between 20 and 30 minutes. In that brief stop, a level-2 charger, (those are the slower chargers) you can add 30 to 40 miles of range and if you stop at a level-3 charger, you can fully charge your vehicle while you grab a bite.
So what does that really look like in reality? Well, somebody driving an EV and leaving from Erie, Pennsylvania can drive as far as the suburbs of Washington DC, Fort Wayne IN, Dayton OH, Watertown NY, Reading PA, Lansing MI, or Toronto, Canada on a single charge.
Or, maybe you are looking to take a drive from Erie to Jacksonville, Florida. Looking to Google Maps for directions, that will be a 13 to 16-hour drive:
But for an EV, you have to make sure you can find chargers along the way! Fortunately, ChargeHub has a nice trip planning tool built on Google Maps that can help. In the same scenario of a road trip from Erie to Jacksonville, I assumed a stop roughly every 200 to 250 miles or every 3 hours or so. Turns out, the EV road trip is estimated to take 14-hours and follows a nearly identical route. A decade ago, this trip might not have been possible, but fortunately, today, it is entirely doable.
Myth 4: EVs Take Too Long to Charge
Fact: Charging Times Are Decreasing Rapidly
With the increased deployment of Level-3 fast-charging stations, EVs can be fully charged in as little as 30 minutes. Level-3 chargers can charge 4 to 10 times faster than regular fast-charging stations, cutting charging times to be nearly inconsequential.
But the issue arises when people try to think of charging an EV in the same way we are accustomed to filling up our gas tank because how we fill up our car is going to change. Electric vehicle (EV) chargers will grow increasingly common sights at shopping centers, businesses, and other public venues. Unlike gas stations, this new approach will allow charging needs to become an afterthought as it becomes part of a drivers daily routine.
When these chargers are placed at locations where people typically spend time, such as workplaces, shopping malls, or leisure centers, they provide the convenience of charging the vehicle while the driver is engaged in other activities. This arrangement eliminates the need for dedicated charging time, as the vehicle is charged during periods that would otherwise be unutilized for this purpose. For example, a car can be recharged while its owner is working, shopping, or enjoying a movie. This efficient use of time means you can save 4 to 5 hour a year not at the pump, but it also alleviates range anxiety, as drivers can confidently use their vehicles, knowing that charging fits in with their daily schedules and routines.
Verdict: Full Charge Ahead & Leave Range Anxiety In The Past
So, while the fear of being stranded while driving an EV is totally understandable, the reality is that range anxiety is no longer the issue it once was. With advances in technology, an expanding charging network, and improving vehicle ranges, today, EVs are a practical and sustainable choice for both daily commutes and long-distance travel.