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Combining electric cars and car-sharing to fight range anxiety

With the recent unveiling of the new BMW i3 electric car came the announcement that BMW would offer its customers an option called “add-on mobility” that would allow them to use a full-size BMW X5 SUV up to several weeks per year, either for family trips, as a backup, or whenever needed.

It’s not a bad idea per se, but there are a few things to consider:

Firstly, I’ve personally never been that worried about EV range anxiety. It is a real issue, but the media has grabbed on to it and blown it all out of proportions. Is it possible to run out of juice in an EV? Yes. Just as some people run out of fuel in gasoline-powered cars, it’s a real possibility, but if you use some common sense, it’s not that big a problem, and with each passing month that problem gets smaller and smaller as more charging stations are installed everywhere and as lithium-ion batteries get better and cheaper.

Part of the issue is that people overestimate what they need (the vast majority of trips for the vast majority of people are quite short), and compare apples and oranges. Gasoline cars have a huge range when the tank is full, but you don’t fill up every day, so you might spend many consecutive days driving around with just enough fuel in the tank to drive ±100 miles… Yet that’s no big deal. With an EV, you can almost always charge overnight, so you start each day with a full charge. Total range is much smaller, but it doesn’t need to last you a week or two like in a gas car… It’s only a problem for long trips, which for most people are rare.


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