Range Anxiety 2.0

3 years ago by Peder Norby 79

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid (proto)

A mid-month break from our Driving to Net Zero Energy challenge and time for an observation.

As a two BMW i3 family, Julie and I have many opportunities to talk to interested people about electric cars, the question about range is always the first one to be asked. We’ve noticed a trend that we find very interesting, we call it Range Anxiety 2.0.

With the quickly escalating pace of plug in sales and the greater choices in the marketplace, be aware of Range Anxiety 2.0 because it can become a costly mistake that you regret shortly after taking delivery of your car.

We’re all familiar with the term “Range Anxiety” which generally describes the fear of not having enough electric range for your driving needs. Range Anxiety is combated by the car makers with a variety of tools such as software navigation aids and DC fast charging in pure electric cars.

Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on Peder’s blog.  Check it out here.

Perhaps the single greatest way to ease Range Anxiety is the plug in hybrid or PHEV models which get between 6 miles and 40 miles of pure electric range paired with a gasoline engine that takes over when the battery is drained and that can drive you hundreds of more miles.

Many of my family members, friends and colleagues have purchased PHEV’s. Not quite willing to take a major leap into a full EV they go the PHEV route. They all love their cars and electric driving, but to a person, after a few months they all wish they had bought a car with more electric range.

That’s Range Anxiety 2.0 and I’m hearing it more and more often.

Range Anxiety 2.0: The realization that you have made a multi year financial commitment buying or leasing a car with less electric range than you desire soon after taking delivery.

Comments such as: “If I only knew how much I liked electric driving I would have never bought this car as I now want even more electric range” or “How do I trade my car in after only a few months? I’d really love to get into a full electric” or “I’m hooked and I want more, do you know anyone that wants a six month old car?” I hear these all the time now.

Of course many drivers are happy to be in a PHEV like a Chevy Volt, Ford Energi or Plug in Prius and that the combination of EV and gasoline suits their driving needs just fine.

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

Programs such as BMW’s i3, three day test drives are outstanding ways for folks to get an idea if the EV model or the BEVx, a range extended model that still gets 70 miles of EV range, is the best for them.

BMW i3s

BMW i3s

If your newish or interested in electric driving, are thinking about buying or leasing an EV or PHEV and you have concerns about Range Anxiety, make sure you consider the effects of Range Anxiety 2.0 so that you don’t regret buying a car with too little electric only range.

All the drivers that I know want more electric range than the have with their plug in hybrids. Talk to other drivers, research the cars and websites such as Inside EV’s and seriously look at your driving needs and the range you require.

Don’t make the mistake of buying too little EV range in your next car.

That’s Range Anxiety 2.0

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79 responses to "Range Anxiety 2.0"

  1. lewl says:

    This affliction is most commonly seen for Prius owners, a most unfortunate situation.

    It is kind of fun to see how much you can do without actually using gas. I wouldn’t say I go to extremes, but I will drive a bit slower on the freeway if there’s a chance I might make the whole trip EV mode.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Yes, I know of a couple people who bought a Plug-in Prius, and now really wish that they had gone with the Volt for roughly triple the electric range and performance, often for a lower price point.

    2. CD says:

      Range Anxiety??? Do you have fuel anxiety?? If my gas tank is running low I fill up the tank. If your battery is running low stop at one of the thousands of chargers and fill up the battery. Can’t help but think that the idea of Range Anxiety is a byproduct of the oil industry.

      1. Steven says:

        Sadly, in some area of the country, “chargers per square mile” is a very low number.

      2. James M says:

        Good point yes, but let’s add several more. The vast majority of city commutes are well under 40 miles, so even pure EVs handle daily city activity. Unfortunately this article and others put too much emphasis on this idea of range “anxiety”. The only range question to ask yourself is what is your typical daily distance, and what is your worst case. That will decide whether a pure or hybrid EV is for you. We live in the sprawling city of Vancouver that spreads over 1,100 square miles. We own a 2012 Nissan Leaf and have never run out of range. Since there are high speed chargers (CHAdeMO), we can also make weekend road trips to Whister, Seattle and elsewhere. We save about $2,000/year, which is enough to rent for road trip vacations as well. In fact that adds fun and freedom because we can pick any car and fly into any place. Range anxiety is for the vast majority simply a fallacy (maybe contrived by the rest of the industry that fears EVs).

  2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Otherwise known as ‘HDTV anxiety’.

    That is, after you bring home one that looked ‘big enough’, a little while later you think ‘I shoulda sprung for the bigger one’.

  3. vdiv says:

    Nice try bundling the EREV Volt with the PHEVs and throwing muck at all of them. BMW should pay Norby if they aren’t already. I expected such behavior from Coyota fanboys, but alas there may not be much difference.

    Here’s a new term, Tesla Anxiety. It applies to people who dunk a lot of money into an overpriced low-range hideous plastic city EVs wishing they had gone all the way and bought at real EV. It is identified by the people spewing hate and nonsense at other “lesser” EVs in an attempt to compensate for their own deficiency and mistake.

    1. Peder says:

      vdiv, hate and nonsense is certainly being spewed as you say.

      1. Assaf says:

        +1 Peter, -10 vdiv.

        Name-calling and baseless accusations at the post author are the opposite of debate. They poison the atmosphere and discourage people from wanting to contribute articles, thereby undermining the site’s health.

        1. Sri says:

          He is being a bit raw, but the opinion is not that much different from the OP, each defending their choices.

      2. sven says:

        Everyone I know who bought an i3 BEV all love their cars and electric driving, but to a person, after a few months, they all wish they had bought an i3 REx.

        That’s Range Anxiety 3.0 and I’m hearing it more and more often.

        Range Anxiety 3.0: The realization soon after taking delivery that you have made a multi year financial commitment buying or leasing a BEV car with a high all electric range (AER) that is too small to meet all your driving needs, when an EV with a range extender would have met all your driving needs while driving in EV mode the vast majority of the time.

        1. Nix says:

          Followed by RA 4.0, which is where you find out your REx isn’t really a go-anywhere gas range extender, which allows you unlimited/unrestrained highway travel like a typical gas car. When you realize BMW really meant it when they said they didn’t design the REx for extended regular use, and it was intended for limited use only.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:


            Both of you deserve +10000….

          2. Rick Danger says:

            +1 sven, +1 Nix 🙂

    2. Mikael says:

      It is a PHEV so why shouldn’t it not be bundled with the others?

      It’s at the other end of the range scale compared to a Prius PHEV but still a PHEV.

      1. sven says:

        If the Volt is PHEV, then by your logic the i3 with a range extender is also a PHEV and should be bundled with the others.

        It’s at the other end of the range scale compared to a Prius PHEV but still a PHEV.

        1. Mikael says:

          The i3 REx could definitely be bundled in with the PHEVs. By definition it is a series hybrid, has a plug and is an electric vehicle.

          But since it’s a BEV with an added motorcycle engine it has much more in common with the pure BEV’s than the PHEV’s.

          So it’s like having a Zebra (Volt) horses (other PHEV’s) and a donkey (Prius PHEV). It’s pretty easy to bundle them together. Basically the same but with some different properties.

          Just like a BEV could be compared to a Lion, then the i3 REx would be a Leopard. And in that analogy the Tesla would be a Cheetah, it’s a BEV but still a different animal (pun intended 😉 )

          1. sven says:

            No. The Prius PHEV is a jackass, not a donkey. 😀

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:


          2. ModernMarvelFan says:

            The better analogy IMO is that Prius Plugin is a turkey (barely flies), Volt is a duck, i3 REx is a geese, Tesla is an Eagle….

    3. Andrew K says:

      The volt is pretty clearly a PHEV, limited range. large motor running the wheels at times, not solely a generator. Calm down. Besides the volt is just a 4 seat cruise that costs too much and looks too future for it’s own good.

      1. sven says:

        Maybe if the i3’s puny lawnmower motor, oops I mean motorcycle motor, powered its wheels at times the i3 could actually make it up a long steep mountain road at highway speeds when the battery is depleted, or actually allow you to pass somebody on a two lane highway when its battery is depleted. And don’t get me started on that useless tiny gas tank.

        Somehow the light weight carbon fiber i3 with it’s tiny motorcycle motor range extender cannot match the highway mileage of the of the heavier Volt with its large range extender motor. The i3 REx gets 37 MPG, while the Volt gets 40 MPG.

        Is this the best German engineering could do?



        You must have meant the i3 costs too much and looks too future for it’s own good.

        1. Mint says:

          All those limitations you speak of are due to BMW wanting i3 REx sales to earn them ZEV credits from CARB.

          The drivetrain design is fine. It doesn’t even take 0.5kWh to pass. A 10% buffer and the ability to manually enable the REx would only leave extreme cases as problems.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            Will 10% (only 2-3kWh) enough to get you from SF to Lake Tahoe on interstate I-80 (hwy speed) from sea level to 9,000ft at donner pass?

            I seriously doubt it.

            1. Jeff Songster says:

              I believe it would get you over Donner pass if you quick charged back to 80 or 90 % at SMUD HQ in Sacramento. You could also top off in Placerville if you go the slower but more direct route to south shore.

              1. Jeff Songster says:

                I once made it from Alpine Meadows to Auburn in the wee hours of morning on fumes in an ICER… I80 from Truckee to Auburn has lots of long rolling slopes great for gentle climbs and long regen runs in an EV.

        2. David says:

          Love debates about Volt MPG. By that measure the Plugin Prius wins…

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            How about “normalize” that MPG with performance against Prius Plugin?

            Oh, how about Safety? How much does 1 less star worth in that scale for the Prius Plugin?

  4. Anon says:


  5. Stimpacker says:


    I don’t see this phenomenon in my local EV community (50:50 mix of BEV and PHEV’s).

    What I do see is something that I’d call “Charge Anxiety”. It differs from range anxiety in that the driver is certain that he has the range to reach his/her intended charge station.

    1) Will I be able to find the station easily?
    2) Will the station only have 1 bay that everyone has to fight over?
    3) What do I do if the station is in-use?
    4) What do I do if the station is ICEd?
    5) What do I do if the station is closed?
    6) What do I do if the station is available to but I cannot get it to start charging?
    7) If the station needs an activation card/key, will it work with mine?
    8) What are my options if I cannot charge there?
    9) What are my options if it looks like I will have to wait a long time?

    1. George says:

      The answer is PlugShare!

      1. Jeff Songster says:

        Plugshare FTW!

  6. Assaf says:


    Thanks for an interesting and somewhat surprising observation.

    Unfortunately no one in our close circle has anything resembling an EV, so I cannot corroborate or counter-example your report. We are the only “green sheep”…

  7. Sri says:

    I bought a Volt for my wife and I am sure, on a fine winter day when the Volt would be giving 25 miles and she has to run the rest of the commute on gas, I would wish more range. I am queasy with the thought of having to burn gas, but I am “anxious” with the idea of being stranded on the side of the road and the conventional help would be of no good and need to be towed to nearest “charge” station or home. 10 out of 10 times, I would go with the queasy option.

    1. Jeff Songster says:

      I hear ya on the queasy feeling about being stuck… But we just kept our old gasser for the big trips. . over 75 miles if no qc’s are along the route… But the qc’s really work well in the SF Bay Area… And that has lead to the battery in the old gasser giving me more range anxiety when it refused to start one day… Because it had sat so long the Pb acid battery had failed completely. Love my LEAF! works perfectly for most trips we ever take.

  8. Blind Guy says:

    We bought a Volt because it gave us the most AER for the money and the ability to take long trips with no worries of having to have a charge. I was interested in the I3 until I found out about the compromised sized fuel tank for the purpose of long trips. I do understand that the purpose of the I3 wasn’t for long trips and works great for some people’s needs. I strongly believe that the next RX or EREV type EV with at least mid-size room and 60-80 AER with a fuel tank to go 350 miles will appeal to many people’s needs in a 1 vehicle family JMO. Since there are not enough convenient, competitively priced chargers available, we prefer having enough AER to meet most-all of our daily needs and charge conveniently at home overnight  I can’t wait to see if Volt II meets our wants even better! BTW, some people refer to it as: gas anxiety.

  9. pjwood says:

    It almost makes too much sense, doesn’t it?

    The extent to which 2.0 is true, whether for environmental, economic or simply because folks prefer electric-mode, really points out what sitting ducks the <=10kwh crowd could be, over time. Then, there's the power larger batteries can bring electric mode.

    Yeah, some car co's proved they can be frugal with their battery sizing. But all that showed was "Who's being served". They didn't come close to the readily available empirics of daily miles traveled.

  10. Mikael says:

    It is a PHEV so why shouldn’t it not be bundled with the others?

    It’s at the other end of the range scale compared to a Prius PHEV but still a PHEV.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Because that’s sort of like saying that all PHEV’s are hybrids, so why not bundle them with all the other hybrids?

      The statement’s true, but it’s not precise. An EREV is a subset of PHEVs, PHEVs are a subset of hybrids, hybrids are a subset of cars, cars are a subset of automobiles, …

      It’s like the TV revolution all over again… “What kind of TV do I want? Flat screen! Oh wait, plasma or LCD? Maybe LED LCD? How about OLED? Refresh rate? Smart TV? I just want a flat screen!” 🙂

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Great explaination!

  11. Ajay says:

    I about to purchase a i3 BEV instead of an i3 REx. I have had a ford focus electric for the past two years and had no range anxiety as we also have a prius for longer trips. In some ways the REx has longer “electric range”. Do you suspect I will have the same 2.0 anxiety and regret the decision to go with BEV instead of REx?

    1. Jeff Songster says:

      My 2 cents are… If you get the non Rex… You should ensure that you get the QC option so that if you go far enough to need it… You can be back up to 80 in 30. Waiting 4 hours usually makes these cars feel impractical. In my area there are qc’s in every direction around my home… So…the anxiety is almost none.

  12. Lou says:

    I enjoyed this topic, as there is a lot of truth in the comments. I don’t agree with _all_ of them, but they come from an honest place. I recently switched from a Mitsu I-MiEV with its 62 mile EPA rated range to a Chevy Volt with its 35 mile range. For my family, I needed a car that could travel longer distances than the “I” could. It had no QC option, the on board charger was 3.3 and even charging at 120V was slow as it only allowed the slower charging speed. Mitsubishi alleviated many of the complaints in the new model year, but the range itself was still just a little too short for us. Our ICE car(an older Kia van)runs, but who knows for how long? I am able to easily commute back and forth to work,and can get a 5 mile recharge in an hour, and if I need more than that when I get home I use the Range Extender. If I had my druthers I’d have a Volt PLUS a Leaf(or a Kia Soul EV if they were available on the east coast, and if I could afford one). Bottom line, though, the Volt fits our situation. No one car fits all,and we are extremely happy with the choice we made. It was a used car, we got it for less than half the MSRP it sold for a few years ago. Honestly, I can’t wait to see what is available in a few years.


    1. Bill Howland says:

      Exactly Lou,

      I have a friend who recently traded in his Prius for a Nissan Juke. I asked:

      “How do you like it?”

      “drives nicely, but a bit small in the rear. I miss my Prius already”.

      Always the proponent of EV’s I offered,
      “Have you ever thought about a Plug-IN-Prius?”

      “i would never get one of those”

      “Why not? For the first 15 miles its totally electric, then it reverts right back to the Prius you love for the next 300 miles”.

      “you mean i can take longer than a 15 mile trip?” (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

      “You’re the second person I’ve talked to who absolutely ruled out electric cars since you think they’ll leave you stranded. To repeat, it becomes just like your prius after 15 miles. But before hand, you get the benefit of an electric car”.

      “do I have to have a special circuit or can I just plug it in the existing garage outlet?”

      “Not sure if you can go lower on a Prius, but it is no more than 12 amps 110. My volt is standard at 8 and may be optionally beefed up to 12 if you need to charge in a hurry. So day to day charging is easy. Rather like plugging in your drill motor, or celly. Overnight you unplug the cord, and you’re off”.


      So I wonder how many people avoid ev’s just because of a misconception?

      1. Jeff Songster says:

        Since the company’s ads rarely inform about charging at all… It simply stands to reason that Toyota is not helping to inform. One truly informative ad by the PHEV Companies could go a long ways. IMHO Ford’s Cmax and Fusion ads do a much better job than Toyota’s.

  13. Stephen says:

    I undestand the feelings exhibited by these owners. I have a Volt and I do have a mild anxiety disorder about having to use gas during my daily about town driving and commute. However I do not regret my purchase at all and still do not see a BEV on the market in Seattle that I would buy today instead. The BEV alternatives all have ranges less than 100 miles, except the out of reach for me Teslas. I have not used a public charger once. My home charging is convenient and when I do the longer trips at the weekends I appreciate the convenience of just filling up quickly with gas once every 300 miles. The nature of my job security also requires my to have the range extender as a hedge on needing to make a much longer commute.

  14. abc123 says:

    There is no range anxiety with the Volt… only “gas anxiety”.

  15. Nix says:

    I have RA 2.0 myself. And RA 1.0 too.

    I’m still looking for that elusive combination of enough gas backup motor to drive endlessly just like a gas car (Volt style) — along with lots of battery-only range for everyday driving (i3 style).

    A car with a gas motor about half way between the Volt and the i3, and a battery pack with range about half way between the Volt and the i3 would solve my own personal RA 2.0 and 1.0 symptoms.

    For me (subjective to my own driving habits) the Volt sacrifices not enough battery, for too much gas motor. While the i3 sacrifices too little range extender, for plenty of battery for a PHEV/REEV/whatever.

    Some car maker needs to meet somewhere in the middle. (Volt 2.0 maybe? — I don’t know of anybody else who has a 100% fully highway gas motor capable PHEV with more electric range on their roadmap than GM).

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      It does sound like Volt 2.0 is perfect for you. (3 cylinder between 2 cyclinder in the i3 Rex and Volt’s current 4 cyclinder)

      If Volt can do a solid 50 miles, then it is an ideal car for many people…

  16. David Murray says:

    I have a Volt. My commute is so short I could easily get by all electric on a lesser PHEV like a Ford Energi or even a Prius PHEV. So I don’t suffer any sort of anxiety. However, I think if I had the lesser PHEV I’d probably find myself having to space my trips out further after work and on the weekends as to give myself time to recharge.

    1. lewl says:

      Im in a similar situation, my commute never comes near to half battery. But multiple trips beyond work or a longer weekend jaunt push me closer to draining it.
      I arrived home Sunday with 0 bars and 1km left on the dash 😉
      I’d rather go home and top up for an hour if I’m in no hurry, than use gas. Seems like a waste to do so :p

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      The problem with Prius Plugins is the fact that it requires you to be gentle to get that 6 or 11 miles where Volt doesn’t have.

      In addtion, with heat usage, Volt allows you to have a decent 20 miles or so range in the winter where Prius allows you none. (exclude extreme cold).

  17. David Murray says:

    Also, I should point out the photo at the top of this article shows a prototype Prius PHEV when the charge door was in the logical place in front of the driver’s door. Unfortunately the production model moved it to a retarded place.

  18. Spec9 says:

    Yeah, I really don’t understand companies that put less than 16KWH into their PHEVs. It is just amazingly stupid. THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY YOU TO PUT IN A LARGER BATTERY! At this point, the ~$400/KWH tax-credit allowance up to 16KWH pays for the battery cost in an EV or PHEV up to 16KWH. So why not take advantage of it? It is free money! I’ve been completely amazed to see all these PHEVs come out with batteries smaller than 16KWH when they could have put a bigger one in there AT NO COST TO THE CUSTOMER!

    1. Mikael says:


      I wonder what position in the company someone would get if they would consider basing their car models on one country’s current incentives/tax breaks instead of looking at all the factors.

    2. David Murray says:

      I’ve considered the exact same thing. The only explanation I can come up with is that companies like Ford and Toyota are modifying an existing car to make into a PHEV and there just isn’t any more room for more batteries without seriously compromising interior space.

  19. James says:

    As much as I love Tesla and all it stands for too, even a Model S is not without some range anxiety. As Superchargers go up, and in some years – battery swap may become more of a reality, there will still be range anxiety – as your long trip aspirations are always limited as to charger locations.

    Enter the Volt – while built by evil ICE profiteers, still seems to have cracked the code to zero range anxiety, and a limitless travel plan. Gen II Volt will have seating for five, and with the hatch area, better-than-Camry utility. I still see Volt as the best solution thus far. By “solution”, I mean a car that can be purchased as the only car for that home ( unless it’s a family of five or more ).

    Peder and Tom M. here do their best to convey that the i3 has the ability to be that only car. This is far from the truth for a vast majority of folks who do need that long trip capability.

    I’m not knocking variety. I’m happy the “premium brand” elitists have an EV choice. If they want to pay a good deal more than LEAF money for a local commuter rig – More power to them. Volt owners like myself never like using gas. It’s just a reality one has to grapple with in this day and age unless you wish to adventure about like some = trying to prove that you can drive a BEV to the ends of the earth with enough sweat, courage and planning.

    That’s not me. I don’t like anxiety at any level. If I do buy a 200 mile BEV, such as Model III in the future, it still will not be my only car.

    1. wraithnot says:

      “As much as I love Tesla and all it stands for too, even a Model S is not without some range anxiety. As Superchargers go up, and in some years – battery swap may become more of a reality, there will still be range anxiety – as your long trip aspirations are always limited as to charger locations.”

      In over a year and a half, my wife and I haven’t had to take her gas powered car on a trip because our Model S has been able to go everywhere we wanted to go. This includes trips from the SF bay area to Seattle, Portland, LA, Las Vegas, and southern New Mexico. In the past we would have flown to most of these destinations, but I like driving the car so much that this time around we drove (free/prepaid fuel at superchargers also doesn’t hurt). Since the gas powered car was getting less and less use, we sold it last week and my wife got an i3 BEV for her commute into San Francisco.

      A road trip in a Model S does take a bit more planning than a trip in a conventional car, but an over-the-air software update is all that will be required to automate the trickier bits. And if we ever do find some trip that we want to go on, but would just be too difficult with the Model S then we’ll rent something. But based on previous experience that won’t happen very often.

      1. James says:

        I think what we all hope for is longer range, as in a 400 mile BEV, which would eliminate nearly all need for on-highway charging, and more Supercharger and Supercharger-like charging opportunities. Even more-so, the AFFORDABLE BEV with longer ranges. All of these will close the loop and mean the demise of the gasoline dependency as we know it.

        Until then – it’s going to take creative solutions. I’m really glad you’ve experienced the level of financial security that allows a Tesla and an i3 in your garage. We do know that the vast middle cannot go there. So we’re back to the big picture solution, which involves some sort of gasoline range-extender for at least ten more years.

        In that realm, extend the mpg of the extender, and increase the energy density of the battery pack. It will only be large-scale battery production that will eventually lower costs so the words, “mainstream” and lithium BEVs may be
        used in the same sentence.

        We’re talking current Prius owners here, not current Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, BMW and Infinity owners.

        1. wraithnot says:

          “I think what we all hope for is longer range, as in a 400 mile BEV, which would eliminate nearly all need for on-highway charging, and more Supercharger and Supercharger-like charging opportunities.”

          More range certainly wouldn’t be my number one choice. Better supercharger coverage (and decent amenities at each location) followed by faster charging speed would be more important to me than 400 miles of range. I’ve seen the guideline of a 15 minute break after every two hours of driving for drivers in the UK- a car and infrastructure that can comfortably allow that would be fine with me.

          “I’m really glad you’ve experienced the level of financial security that allows a Tesla and an i3 in your garage. We do know that the vast middle cannot go there. So we’re back to the big picture solution, which involves some sort of gasoline range-extender for at least ten more years.”

          The Model S was 3X the cost of my previous car and we didn’t purchase the i3- we leased it for three years. Assuming Tesla can release their Model 3 on time, we plan to purchase one when the lease on the i3 is up (unless something better comes along in the meantime). The price point on the model 3 should open it up to many more people. And while Tesla tends to have a poor record when it comes to hitting their release dates, I’m pretty sure it won’t take them 10 years.

          I can see something in between a Volt and an i3 REx (without the silly software restriction) filling the Honda Accord pricepoint for the next few years. But I don’t think it will take until 2024 to get a mainstream BEV that is capable enough to be someones only car.

          My wife is not a car person by any stretch, but even she drastically prefers the driving experience of an electric drivetrain to a conventional car. Couple that with the fact that it is far cheaper to fuel a vehicle with electricity than gasoline and I’m convinced the transition to BEVs will happen far more quickly than most people expect.

      2. Peter says:

        I aggre the difference today is the planning.
        My Tesla makes me plan more and see more new places for free.
        Next goal a D.

  20. James says:

    I will point out also, that with smaller, lighter and more clever range extenders. Possibly even small diesel ones – the chance for longer electric range and better charge-sustaining mode gas mileage is a given. Volt V.2 is the best example.

    IMHO, BMW went with too small of a gas tank and too puny of a range extender. It seems GM is trending smaller in it’s range extender, and BMW needs to look at a larger one if they get to i3 v.2. So the two are converging towards what just may be the best solution for a zero anxiety, all-purpose machine.

    I hope I live long enough to see Supercharger-quick charging stations as numerous as today’s gasoline filling station, and gas stations be few and far between.

    1. Spec9 says:

      They’ll never build that many. That would cost too much because people would use them all the time. The goal is to have people charge at home 90% of the time and just use superchargers for long trips.

      1. Rick Danger says:

        I think James meant “supercharger-quick” charging for all EVs, not Tesla Superchargers specifically.

      2. David Murray says:

        Indeed. I think if they build superchargers inside of big cities they will need a pay-for-use model. Otherwise everyone who lives nearby will just top off all of the time. Granted, I doubt current Tesla owners would do this as they already have plenty of money and I doubt they would go to that much trouble to save a few bucks on electricity. But as more low-end cars eventually come out, especially on the used market, you know that would happen.

  21. Nix says:

    The reality is that with every car purchase, there is always some level of buyer’s remorse.

  22. James says:

    Situations arise in these modern days – things we have no way of predicting, and it makes an all electric car family a group of risk-takers. We know if you’re single, or a city dweller with loads of public mass transit options, having that spur-of-the-moment capability isn’t as big of deal, short of natural disaster.

    I should mention natural disaster, as many who post here live near me, in western Washington State. I’m sure they know we’re in the window for possibly the largest natural disaster in centuries. We live on the “Ring Of Fire” and are truly the only part of that geologic ring that hasn’t “popped” in recent times. The Cascadia Subduction Zone runs along the Northwestern U.S. coastline for 600 miles. This means we are looking at a mega-earthquake in this region that would be 9.0-9.2 on the scale for 6 minutes! This is unknown in modern times. Any doubters should check the U.S. Geological Survey website to authenticate my facts.

    In an emergency, you have to go. Those aforementioned singles or folks without kids at home – well…You don’t have to plan for those times when your daughter dislocates their arm and needs to be hustled to the nearest emergency room, STAT! But we all have emergencies in our future. Hopefully, most of us will not have to face them. When we do, however – a car that has insufficient charge is not an option. Imagine frantically trying to find transportation in these circumstances.

    So pure EV households are pioneers. They are risk-takers. Or, they have lots of access to other forms of transportation.

    I’m not trying to BUILD ANXIETY out there, but I am trying to play the realist to those who endorse BEVs as a total transportation solution.

    1. James says:

      *especially the large crop of 60-80 mile BEVs we have on the table at this point in history.

    2. Peder says:

      James, your point is well taken and accurate.
      What I am pointing out is the 2 car gasoline family that dips their toe into the electric vehicle world and gets a low electric range PHEV and then quickly realizes that they want more electric range. The point is to consider both ends when you purchase or lease, range anxiety and the possibility that you may be buying too little EV range in your purchase.

    3. **Unless you have a 85 kWh Tesla that never goes below 50% SOC unless you are on a trip.

  23. James says:

    I would also be interested as to how many readers of this site and other “green auto” sites have only one car.

    I can only speak for myself, but I admit that I have not owned one car for decades. I’ve had a backup for so long, it’s hard to think back to those times when I did have one driving option. Back in those days, I remember anxiety about: “What if the car doesn’t start and I’m late for work?” type of
    worries. I think most who pontificate on this subject ( fortunately, but unfortunately for their impartiality ) own more than one car.

    The main basis for the subject of efficacy of BEVs is – can it be the only car for a household? So if like some, they’ve purchased two or more BEVs, that decreases anxiety exponentially.

    1. Wendy says:

      I leased a Fiat 500e BEV in Dec 2013. I leased and didn’t buy because technology is changing quickly and I don’t want to be limited to 85 mile range forever. But I *HAD* to get into the car pool lane, traffic was killing me. We have been a 1 electric car and 1 motorcycle household for 10 months – until last weekend. September was National Disaster Preparedness Month and since we moved from Seattle to Orange County and don’t know anyone, we know our survival is on us. So we decided to buy something old enough we could maintain but it actually runs. We found a 1993 2 door 4WD Mazda Navajo (Ford Explorer) with 203k miles on it that someone else from WA drove down and found he doesn’t need a car. We paid $700 and are putting in another $500 to get it smogged (emissions test), licensed in CA, title transferred, replace the front windshield and driver’s seat is broke down too much so we are going to a pick yard to find a replacement. For not a lot of money we now have a backup vehicle we can store our emergency supplies in, and since it is 4WD it gives us maneuverability to get around other stranded vehicles. If there is a true emergency where fuel is a problem for everyone then it can’t be helped, but at least we can get out of the tsunami zone and up into the mountains, or make our way back to family in the Northwest if we need to.

  24. Frank Martin says:

    Is this article just an elaborate troll?

  25. Bill Howland says:

    Thanks for the article.

    Although few of us could afford TWO I3’s, it shows the perspective of one upper middle class couple.

    But think of how much gasoline would be saved if most people drove Volts or even Plug-in-Prius’s, as I suggested a few posts up to a friend. They are not the ideal car, but for a driver who can only afford a single vehicle, they are a very pragmatic solution, confortable to drive, and do daily driving chores, and save much more gasoline than the “BEV ONLY” acolytes think they do.

  26. flmark says:

    There is a definite ongoing EV-purist-snob theme in Peder’s articles. I had two EVs TWO YEARS AGO and loved the feeling of my VOLTS being able to driven around on sunshine from the PV panels on my roof. Peder’s responses to me provided mild chiding that I wasn’t really driving EVs around but he and at least one commenter here don’t get it…the Volt is the NO COMPROMISE concept short of Tesla [and we do plan on getting a Tesla Model X when available…but we will be KEEPING our Volts].

    If you got the REX i3, you made the same choice, albeit with a limp-along range extender and a MADDENINGLY short gas range. But what if you didn’t and you had relatives you commonly visit 120 miles away like I do? If your alternative is, even to OCCASIONALLY use that conventional gas burner, then you blew it if your motivation was to avoid burning gas. With the Volt, you get that first 40 miles or so on electricity, so that OVERALL, you burn LESS gas. I typically burn about 1.5 gallons on this 120 mile trip, equating to about 80 miles per gallon burned. This is most likely less than half of what would be used in a conventional vehicle, if that is what you kept around because your sub100 mile EV didn’t do the job for the times you exceed its range.

    Yes, everyone should indeed consider their own needs before purchasing an EV. However, this article falls back into that same theme voiced in previous discussions. While my Volt is the ‘gateway drug’ to wanting more EV range, taking the MINOR step toward the i3 is like jumping over the crack in the sidewalk. I am not even overjoyed with any minor step the Volt 2.0 will have over what I’ve got now. If there is such a thing as Peder wants to define as ‘Range Anxiety 2.0’, I suspect that the only true cure is a multi-hundred mile EV. Tesla is the only game in town to solve that problem, for the time being.

    1. Peder says:

      I’m advocating strongly for the transition from oil to electricity for a lot of reasons. My apologies if my writing style comes off as EV purist snobbery. I try to relay our experience with the cars that we have.

      In this article, I relay what I am hearing from friends and family as they immediately want more electric range after the purchase of the car. This is different that hearing about range anxiety pre purchase of a car. My central point is to consider both the electric range of the car and the fact that you will be wanting more electric range once you buy the car, RA1 and RA2.

      Any car with a plug in it is a big step in the right direction and my article acknowledges that for many the PHEV solution works just fine. The BMW i3 is not the ultimate car as far as length of range goes, the existence of a BMW i3 Rex is validation of that, however it works just fine for our life without degrading our driving experiences at all.
      So it’s a journey and a transition and we all have different driving needs and scenarios.

      I do believe that all electric is the goal and that PHEVs and the BMW Rex strategy are bridges or transitions to that goal while EV ranges are sub optimal for many or most drivers.


      1. flmark says:

        Thank you for your response. I think that most Volt drivers consider their cars to also be ‘bridge’ vehicles (I know I do- and did even before I bought it). I am thankful that the commercial world is now giving us sustainable options for everything from transportation to artificial turf. You do what you can, as I do. I am glad you are letting others know via your writing. We have to do the right thing…because it is the right thing. Cheers to you, as well.

        1. I have a Volt, and it is a bridge…but I want to make clear that the “purists” who look at this as a binary decision (I either go all EV or I don’t) are really missing the point.

          With the Volt, I drive 100% electric about 96% of the time. I use about 6 gallons of gas A YEAR, about the same as a lawnmower or a single weekend on a motorcycle.

          If you change from using 450 gallons a year with your old car to 6 gallons per year, eliminating 444 gallons of fuel consumption annually, you are foolish to focus too hard on the remaining 6 gallons.

          Don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “very good to excellent”.

  27. iwatson says:

    I have no plans to trade my Gen 1.0 Volt for a Gen 2.0 model that might have greater range.

    With my current model the engine comes on so infrequently (about twice a week based on my current work schedule) that If I had Gen 2.0 with 20 or so miles of additional range, the engine might not come on but only every 6 months or so. Although it bothers me when I have to burn gas, I believe more range would cause a burden in maintaining a range extending engine. If the engine operated less often then the benefits of operating (keeping the engine seals lubricated and avoiding stale gas) would cause additional maintenance headaches.

    I can only imagine if I owned an i3REx it’s 70 miles of electric range would mean I would rarely use it’s 2 cylinder engine. If I opted for the BEV i3 then I would almost certainly run into an occasion when I might need the engine however rare that occasion might be. The only time I could see needing the range extender for sure would be for a road trip in which case the i3’s small engine and small gas tank would prove to be unsuitable for the task. That leads me back to the gen 1.0 Volt that I already own.

    An Yet to be built all-electric with 200+ miles of range would remove any normal range anxiety and would be fine for all local commuting but when an occasional road trip is taken, it would only work if there is sufficient charging infrastructure. Which also leads me back to my current vehicle.

    As battery range increases the need for a range extending engine decreases, where at some point, it’s no longer needed.

    The original Volt seems to have just the right amount of EV range for a range extending vehicle. The best refinements that Chevy can make is to make it a larger car with 5 seats to make it appeal to more potential customers. Most people that I have contact with seem to reject my car because of it’s small size and cramped cabin rather than it’s range. Most people just like a larger car!