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Last week's poll: range anxiety

BMW has become the latest car manufacturer to try to tempt drivers to go electric with rental schemes and range extending engines. But will this help convince consumers they don’t need to worry about electric vehicles running out of juice?

Scepticism over electric vehicles is still rife among respondents to The Engineer’s polls, it seems. The largest group of respondents to last week’s poll, 45 per cent, thought that rental schemes and range extending engines would not be enough to dispel range anxiety; only significant advances in battery capacity and charging time would do that. The next largest group, however, 22 per cent, thought that such schemes would help overcome misconceptions about electric vehicle range. A little over 19 per cent thought that people would always prefer to own a vehicle outright rather than hiring one, and the smallest group, 13 per cent, thought that such vehicles and hire models would become the norm rather than the exception.


What’s your opinion on this? Is there a generational issue at play here? Or are people too stubbornly attached to ICE vehicles to reconsider their usage patterns to take account of electric vehicle performance?

Readers' comments (4)

  • Being of the older generation, and loving to drive,the biggest issue with me would be the life of the battery pack.
    I keep my vehicles to at least 200,000 miles. Buying battery packs is scary. Waiting for hydrogen

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  • To James Roe,

    As far as I understand the life of PEM hydrogen fuel cell is around 6000 hours, or at an average of 30 mph, 180,000 miles. Buying fuel cells will be as "scary" as buying new battery packs.

    The IC engine can be well adapted to burn hydrogen, these engines are getting more and more efficient.

    Why is it we (almost) never hear of converting the IC engine to run on hydrogen?

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  • Leasing for say three years including all servicing means you can hand the vehicle back and leave any worry about the battery life with the OEM and who knows what battery developments will have taken place in three years time.

    I am more than happy with my leased Citroen C zero fully electric car which has an approx 75 mile to 90 mile range and which takes all the cold starting wear and tear of short journeys, particularly in the winter, away from my 2001 S Class Mercedes 320 CDi which has done some 115 000 miles and so is just run in and which has a 30 year corrosion warranty on the body.

    When the lease expires on the Citroen I may well lease another or buy ten year old or so A Class mercedes with high engine mileage but in excellent body and interior condition for a couple of thousand pounds or less and convert this to electric drive. (The A Class also comes with a 30 year corrosion warranty on the body and was designed in 1997 with the Californian market in mind and has room under the back seat for fuel cells or batteries so is an easy electric conversion. A converted electric A Class came in second in class just behind the VW entered Golf electric prototype in the Nov 2011 RAC future car rally from Brighton to London).

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  • Having now driven 9000 pure EV miles in an Electric Smart i wonder how many people who repsonded to that survey had ever driven an electric car.

    If you're that worried about range anxiety, why not spend a week or two logging the journey's you take in your current IC car. Assume your home is a charging point and any major town/city would have a charging point and note down lengths of journeys in between.

    You'd be amazed how short your average journey is between where you could charge.

    And if everyone is still not convinced by the benefits of free road tax, free charging and free parking at most charging points in towns/cities then more fool them and more benefit to me!

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