Range anxiety is real – This is what it looks like – TopAuto
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Monday / 17 January 2022
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Range anxiety is real – This is what it looks like

The disconnect between how far South Africans drive every day and how much range they want an electric car to have is a clear indicator that “range anxiety” is a matter which needs to be addressed in the local electric vehicle market.

J.D. Power describes range anxiety as “what an electric vehicle driver feels when the battery charge is low, and the usual sources of electricity are unavailable”.

“It sparks a fear of getting stranded somewhere, which adds time, inconvenience, and stress to a journey. Studies show that driving range and a lack of charging infrastructure are the primary reasons people do not consider EVs when buying a new vehicle.”

The fear of being stranded due to an electric vehicle running out of power appears to be very much on the mind of local drivers, based on feedback from TopAuto readers.

The feedback

In October 2021, TopAuto ran its Automotive Survey in which 1,459 TopAuto readers took part.

One of the questions in the survey was: How many kilometres do you drive per day on average?

65% of respondents in the survey stated that they drive under 50km per day – a reflection of what an average driver does.

In November, TopAuto’s readers were then asked in a website poll: How much range on a single charge should an electric car have to be “usable” for your daily driving?

2,841 votes were cast, and the results were the inverse of the driving habits established by the survey.

71% of respondents stated that an electric car would need to provide over 200km of range on a single charge for it to be suitable for their daily needs.

This disparity points to a strong desire from prospective car buyers for their electric vehicle to have much more range than they would need on a daily basis.

The graph below shows the sharp difference between how far people drive every day, and how much range they would like an electric car to have.

Charging stations

In an bid to combat range anxiety, car companies like Jaguar, BMW, and Nissan are building electric vehicle charging stations across the country.

All of these charging stations can be found through GridCars, which provides a live map of the available charging stations in South Africa.

Jaguar, for example, has been building a “Powerway” since 2018 in partnership with GridCars.

These charging stations are mostly found in major cities – with charging stations also placed along the N3 from Durban to Johannesburg, and the N1 between Cape Town and Johannesburg.


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