Last year EVs accounted for approximately 10% of all new car registrations in the UK; an upward trend showing a rising consumer preference towards these vehicles.
While this is certainly a step in the right direction towards a greener motoring future, it’s hard to escape the fact that it’s still a relatively low number overall. What’s more, with the looming ban on new petrol and diesel cars now less than 15 years away, you would think more of us would be incentivised to pick electric or hybrid cars over the alternatives. So what is it that’s putting so many drivers off switching to an EV?
Well, according to a number of studies, the range of electric cars is a big issue for buyers, with many citing what’s now become known as ‘range anxiety’ as a major deterrent.
However, rather than looking to some miraculous new long-life battery, the solution to this anxiety could lie with the reintroduction of an older tech – namely, E-REVs (or Extended Range Electric Vehicles). Here we take a closer look at why.
Is ‘Range Anxiety’ Justified?
As the descriptive name suggests, ‘range anxiety’ is a fear of your EV running out of power before you get to your destination.
When drivers compare long journeys in EVs to those in petrol and diesel cars, it often exacerbates this fear in that they feel more secure with fuel ranges and the wealth of fuel stations dotted around the country. To add to this, your average driver probably also isn’t sure where their nearest charging station is, nor would they be confident enough to use one.
In reality though this needn’t be the case, as with simple planning, a driver can quickly work out where and how often they’ll need to stop on a longer journey based on their EV’s range and by consulting a charging point inclusive route planner.
How E-REVs could Help
Beyond the simple maths of working out ranges and charge times, the use of E-REVs could also really help to change this negative consumer perception.
What separates these vehicles from standard EVs is they feature a small – usually petrol-powered – range-extending generator that supplies extra electric power once the batteries have been drained. This can give upwards of an extra 50-100+ miles of drive time available. Also, unlike a hybrid, this generator only offers charge to the batteries and never technically drives the car itself.
Unfortunately there aren’t any ‘new’ E-REVs available in the UK, as recent EV production has focussed primarily on improvements to standard cars – but you can find them second-hand like the Vauxhall Ampera. With this comes an opportunity for consumers to save money on a used E-REV, rather than investing in the often-hefty price tags brand new cars can command.
Ultimately, it does seem there’s an education piece to be done for today’s average road user as the ‘range anxiety’ issue can quite quickly be dismissed once you know more about charging and the vehicular options you have available.
Looking ahead to the aforementioned upcoming ban on petrol and diesel models, it may well be the case that E-REV production begins again and manufacturers do indeed start putting more effort into showcasing the real potential of EVs in general. For the sake of a green future, let’s hope this is the case.
Andrew Rogers has been working and writing within in the motor industry’s marketing niche for 4 years and is the creator of Rogers Electric , a self-help guide for every new electric car buyer.