4 Ways Your Fleet Can Combat Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety

August 22, 2022

Range anxiety

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Key Takeaways

In this guide we’ll walk through the challenges that contribute to electric vehicle range anxiety as well as four ways to minimize those fears with best practices and smart tools.

When electric vehicles (EVs) were initially introduced, a common concern raised among the automotive industry, and by commercial fleets considering fleet electrification, was the distance the average electric car could travel on a single charge. This is called range anxiety—a driver's fear that their vehicle won’t have enough energy storage to cover the distance of their intended journey. 

A major factor in range anxiety was the lack of charging infrastructure in the early days of electric vehicle adoption. However, with the rise of EV adoption—due in large part to the increased emission mandates in response to climate change—we’re seeing more and more programs installing public charging stations for consumers and commercial EV fleets alike.  

EV charging stations are part of the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Additional charging stations will help ease range anxiety for fleet managers looking to transition to EVs to meet sustainability goals. Adopting EVs will not only help reduce carbon emissions, but will also reduce costs by eliminating fuel reliance, and increase safety—as EVs are easier to operate and often report fewer fatal collisions. 

And, the government isn't the only line of support. Vehicle manufacturers and private charging companies are also deploying charging stations nationwide. Tesla has recently invested in its own, dedicated, nationwide network of Superchargerfast-charging stations. Ford has installed over 25,000 chargers. Chargepoint has partnered with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to accelerate the development of electric vehiclecharging infrastructure. And EVgo designs, owns, operates, and maintains a network of more than 1,100 Level 2 chargers and 800+ direct current fast charging locations across 34 states.

In this guide, we'll walk through the challenges that lead to electric vehicle range anxiety as well as how to minimize these concerns.

What is a typical electric car range? 

Fleets that use electric vehicles understand the need for a long car range, especially since timely arrivals are critical for meeting client expectations. One way this is seen is with government fleets which use light-duty EVs to travel across the city to verify services, meet with constituents, or conduct onsite inspections. In the private sector, EVs may be part of a fleet’s light-duty vehicles used in last-mile deliveries. In those instances, an electric car’s range can be the difference between making one more delivery or circling back to a charging station.

For a typical internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, the expected driving range is around 300 miles. As a result, many fleet managers want electric vehicles with similar driving distances. The average EV can travel about 250 miles on a single charge, with the next tier of long-range vehicles coming in at around 350 miles. If long-distance trips are more common within your fleet, consider extended range vehicles, also known as plug-in hybrid vehicles. 

4 ways to maximize electric vehicle range and minimize range anxiety

  1. Plan ahead: Optimize charging schedules to ensure EVs are job ready at the start of every shift. Also, understand where charging stations exist along routes and build in charging times into routes. Even fast-charging stations can take up to 30 minutes to fully charge a standard electric vehicle. Additionally, plan your stops in advance to use as much regenerative braking as possible, so drivers can slow down by decelerating instead of hard braking.

  2. Coach EV-friendly driving:EV drivers benefit from specialized driving behavior. For example, smoother driving with minimal harsh braking and accelerating will maximize your electric car’s range. You’ll also want to train drivers to be mindful of draining the battery unnecessarily. This includes the EV’s secondary systems (cabin heating, lighting, driver assistance, audio, etc.), USB charging, and idling.

  3. Maintain your vehicle’s battery life: EV battery life can impact the range of a vehicle, too. Electric carautomakers provide an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty, mandated by the federal government (though this may be higher in some states). [UK Localization Note: Please update mandates or remove] This warranty covers battery degradation if its capacity drops below 70%—making it more difficult for EV batteries to hold a charge. And while battery degradation is inevitable in the long run, there are preventable measures you can take to maximize battery life.

One way is to set smart charging schedules that take these factors into consideration to help maintain your EV batteries:

  • Ambient temperature: Consider local temperatures and seasonality when informing your charging schedules.

  • Minimizing charging cycles: Higher charging cycles can result in more wear on the battery cell. 

  • Adjust maximum charge: Be sure to stop charging after hitting a certain percentage to ensure you retain capacity.

That said, EVs are cheaper to maintain than ICE vehicles and ultimately require lower maintenance costs. Taking these preventative measures and setting custom charging schedules based on your EV needs will be key to keeping your total cost of ownership low.

Without an EV battery replacement, electric vehicle owners can begin to see a 3- to- 5% decline in driving range over time. Visit our guide to learn more about battery electric vehicles.

Support EV drivers with real-time data: Once drivers take their electric cars on the road, you’ll want to reassure them that they’re not alone. Monitoring vehicle state of charge allows managers to prevent vehicles with a low charge from running out of energy, or being “bricked.” Also, the back office can point drivers to nearby charging points in case a driver needs to reroute. Monitoring EV charge levels to add optimal charging stops in the drivers’ route is essential for reducing range anxiety and ultimately keeping your operations running smoothly. 

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