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Study of electric vehicle owners finds long way to go on range anxiety

A Chevrolet Spark EV recharges at the DC Fast Charger at Fashion Valley Mall Saturday, September 28, 2013 in San Diego, California. The Combo Coupler Standard (CCS) is the first public installation of an industry-coordinated standard in the U.S. for fast charging of plug-in electric vehicles. (Stan Liu / Stan Liu for Chevrolet)
Nov. 15, 2013, 11:49 a.m.

By Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune

A study of 3,700 plug-in car drivers affirmed that range anxiety remains the biggest barrier to mass adoption and that an infrastructure of Level 3 fast chargers would lessen that anxiety.

This in itself is not news. The extensive study by PlugInsights, an industry analysis arm of the plug-in car service and software firm Recargo, polled 2 percent of all plug-in drivers about everything from public charging ettiquette to frequency of charging and incidents of dead batteries.

Plug-in car onwers are not environmentalist caricatures but a disparate group over a range of income levels and driving habits. Their satisfaction and preferences can be used to forecast the needs of the nascent industry.

“Midrange electric vehicles are on a leash,” explains Norman Hajjar, Managing Director of PlugInsights. “Those vehicles are confined to commuter car status.”

This is not what car buyers want for $25,000. What they want, according to the study, is a battery range of 186 miles. Only the Tesla Model S luxury performance car exceeds that, and for a starting price over $70,000. The unofficial average range for battery electric vehicles, also known as pure electrics (check this glossary for all the differences of electrified cars), is 80 miles. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) such as the Chevy Volt have a gas generator that powers the electric motor when the battery dies. The range for the Volt is 380 miles.


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