Can bigger batteries solve EV range anxiety?
Battery size is a big selling point for electric cars. But do larger batteries mean less range anxiety?
Range anxiety — the fear of running out of charge while driving — is a common concern among electric vehicle (EV) drivers. But while larger batteries can certainly increase the range of electric cars, are they the ultimate solution to range anxiety?
Larger batteries mean higher costs, which could be a barrier for many people looking to buy an EV. Bigger batteries also mean heavier vehicles, which reduces efficiency and can lead to slower acceleration and poorer handling.
Yet the biggest challenge to increasing range is today's charging infrastructure. It still needs to catch up with the increasing popularity of EVs — currently, there are 2.3 million charge points globally and predictions by the IEA suggest we’ll need 18 million public charge points worldwide by 2050 to meet the demand. Meanwhile, EV sales are booming with 10 million sold in 2022 alone, accounting for one in seven sales.
Even if an electric car has a larger battery, there may not be enough charging stations available to make long trips feasible. And for those living in urban areas or multi-unit dwellings like apartments, they might need to rely solely on public charging stations. So, for these people without a personal charger, the range question becomes much more vital. They need to plan in advance when to charge and where, and make predictions that could influence range such as weather conditions, road type and route elevation.
There is a trend now for large batteries. However, not only do they make vehicles more expensive — batteries are about 30% of the total car costs. Critically, they also take longer to charge.
While bigger batteries can certainly help alleviate range anxiety, they should not be seen as the sole solution. Larger batteries don’t address the range anxiety issue — they just mean you’ll experience the problem less often.
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