Do EV truck drivers experience more range anxiety than commuters?
Range anxiety is synonymous with electric vehicles (EVs), but how does it affect EV truck drivers?
As electric vehicles become more popular, EV range anxiety — the fear of running out of power before finding a charging station — is a common concern. A Google of the term yields over 430 million results and it even has its own hashtag.
For commuters who may be able to make it to and from work on one charge, it's not such an issue, but for truck drivers who move goods across long distances, range anxiety can be especially pronounced because the consequences are so high. But does range anxiety differ if you're driving your own vehicle or a fleet truck? Are EV truck drivers experiencing it more?
The short answer is yes but there are plenty of reasons why. Unless the journey is within range, all EVs depend on the available charging infrastructure in the location where they are driving. Arguably, commuters who can make it to and from work on a single charge don't have to concern themselves with on-the-go charging, whereas truck drivers traveling hundreds or thousands of miles simply can't make their journey in a single charge. Commuters often charge at home and that is good enough for their daily trip.
Many highways have experienced rapid growth in their number of charging stations over the past few years, with some even providing free charge points that serve as rest stops for travelers along busy routes. Yet according to the White House, there are only 130,000 EV chargers on US highways for 3.9 million miles of road — 3 million of those are rural roads too. Public chargers help reduce range anxiety but only if they can be accessed on the route being traveled.
Another factor that affects range anxiety is the type of EV being used. Trucks with larger payloads tend to require bigger battery packs to provide adequate power on long distances. This means they have a greater risk of running out of juice before reaching their destination compared to cars with lighter loads.
What's more, their charging needs differ dramatically from cars too. US research found that by 2035, projected power needs for each EV truck charging station could be equal to that of a small town. It also doesn't help that research has found range forecasts tend to be over-estimated by around 20 percent so drivers can't always rely on their readouts.
Additionally, some EVs may not be able to access certain routes due to steep inclines or other terrain challenges which could limit a driver's ability to reach their destination without having to stop for a recharge.
Ultimately, it is clear that EV truck drivers experience more range anxiety than commuters because their stakes are higher. The risk of running out of charge before reaching a destination is real, and the lack of charging infrastructure in some areas exacerbates this fear. However, with the increasing number of accessible charging stations and advancements in EV technology, range anxiety can be mitigated for both truck drivers and commuters alike.
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