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No power? No problem: Kiwi electric vehicle owners aren’t afraid of getting stranded
Wed, 26th Jul 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

According to the latest poll by Flip the Fleet, most electric vehicle owners are unfazed by the prospect of getting stranded with a flat battery.

Flip the Fleet is a citizen science collaboration of over 200 Kiwi electric vehicle owners that share data from their cars' dashboards each month.

The poll found that 72% of drivers experience only very occasional range anxiety.

New electric vehicle owners are more anxious at first, but quickly learn the performance of their EV and drive within its range.

One respondent saying, “We are not idiots, we can see how much we have in the tank before we start out on our drive.

Another respondent continuing, “In 51 years of driving an internal combustion vehicle, I have run out of gas three times, I bet I can score just as well in whatever number of years I have left driving a battery around.

Flip the Fleet has already 447 randomly selected trips by full electric vehicles to collect travel data.

The average EV trip out and back to home base was 54 km, the median distance was 27 km and around 8% of trips have EV drivers going over 100 km before returning home.

These figures are not much different from those for trips in conventional vehicles.

Mark Nixon, Christchurch EV Group member says, “Don't fall for the myth that EVs are just good for short trips, or that you have to delay buying one till the new long-range EVs are available.

“For the vast majority of people, one of the cheaper, entry-level EVs such as the Nissan Leaf will be good to drive for a day or two without having to worry about a charge.

“When you do need to charge, it's simply a matter of charging up at home while you sleep.

An electric car's dash gives adequate warning when the charge is low and predicts how far you can go before you need to recharge.

There are enough fast chargers in most parts of New Zealand for long trips, but 95% of the charging still happens at home.

Nixon continues, “It's like having your own private petrol station in your garage.

“EVs are also ideal for medium range commuting of a 100 to 120 km round trip, even more, if you are able to charge up at work.

Lots of NZ families retain a conventional vehicle for occasional long trips and do nearly all their local and regular travel in their electric vehicle.

Some electric vehicle owners think that others deliberately magnify the ‘range anxiety' problem as a reason for maintaining conventional vehicle business as usual.

Nixon saying, “One thing is for sure, while range anxiety is a small and manageable problem for most EV owners, it's more of a perception issue in the minds of prospective EV buyers.