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Forget road rage, what about anxiety surrounding ‘road range?’

Friday, November 14, 2014 - 11:00
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Has range anxiety affected you?

Stress levels over electric car range is a highly-charged issue for fleet managers, says Martin Wedge, managing director of OVL Group

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ used to be the dreaded words heard by most parents setting out on a long journey, but with electric car drivers, this anxiety has been eclipsed by their own nagging and persistent thoughts: ‘am I actually going to get there?’

‘Range Anxiety’ is real condition for the early adopters of electric car technology who are faced by a plethora of different charge technologies – Alternating Charge or Direct Charge (AC or DC) – and charge ‘plug protocols’ including ‘to disconnect or not to disconnect’ another parked vehicle that has reached full charge while the driver is not present, which has led to some instances of so-called ‘charge rage’ in the US.

The Government’s initial market forces approach to charging – slower and fast charge, AC and DC in town and city centres and service stations, is now being replaced by a universal charging regime although this is a slow roll out, especially north of the more affluent London and the south-east where infrastructure is more plentiful.

Ecotricity is one green power company that is slowly marching north with faster charge points up the motorway corridors, but the pace has meant that adoption of electric car technology as a fleet option could stall outside of the van market where short haul, pre-set journeys close to charge points – usually back at base – make it a greener and more attractive proposition.

Early adopters of the electric cars seem to be the technically-minded semi-or fully–retired community who want to put something back after years of putting miles on their fossil-fuel powered cars attending meetings up and down the UK. Time is now their friend as they can plan their journeys through ‘Zap Map’ and research where the fast charge points are – the 40-minute charge points – just enough time to get a coffee rather than the four hour or longer sockets.

This does not necessarily fit the generic fleet behaviour where time and targets are the priority. If their patches are local, this is not such an issue, but having a larger regional or national reach, means allowing more time to plan journeys to find fast charge points.

Rather like the Roman legions, fast charging is marching north so range anxiety will become a historical condition rather than a current complaint.

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