Sustainable America Blog

Current Electric Car Ranges

– – – 10% of trips are less than 2 miles
– – – Average commute distance:18.8 miles
– – – 95% of trips are less than 60 miles
– – – EPA electric range of Mitsubishi-MiEV (62 miles)
– – – 99% of trips are less than 140 miles
– – – EPA electric range of Tesla Roadster (245 miles)


You want to buy an electric car but you’ve got visions of being stranded in the middle of nowhere. There is data to suggest that even though there aren’t charging stations on every corner today, it is likely the distance you travel to perform your daily commute and errands is well within the range of today’s electric cars.

In the past few years automakers have made a serious commitment to electric cars, but a phenomenon called “range anxiety” still persists among the public. It is the fear that you will run out of power far from a charging station. Anyone who has ever run out of gas on a lonely road can relate to why the threat of this might cause anxiety.

Right now the national infrastructure to charge electric cars lags behind the enthusiasm for and production of them. This is thought to hinder the consumer who might be interested in an electric car from actually purchasing one.

But there is hope. Not only is the infrastructure to charge electric cars improving rapidly, but some new models about to come on the market have incredible ranges. Tesla’s Model S for example, boasts a range of up to 300 miles. There are also Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHEVs, that run on electricity and gas, so you can always stop at a gas station in case of emergency. Most fully electric cars, or EVs, currently for sale in the US travel from 60 – 100 miles on a charge, with the Teslas potentially going up to 300. (source) While the Tesla Model S is still very expensive at $49,900 after $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars, its vastly improved range bodes well for the future of all electric cars.

Electric cars are likely to be charged at least once a day – overnight at home. So with most EVs that gives you 60 – 100 miles to drive per day. This is where range anxiety comes in.

A cool head and hard facts are the antidotes to most anxiety, and the same is true here. If you want a fully electric car, you should ask yourself a couple of questions:

‘Does my family have more than one car?’ and ‘How far is my daily commute?’

Many two car families interested in an electric car could use the EV for commuting and light errands, and use their second car for road-trips. Single car families may lean toward a reasonably priced PHEV like a Prius with a base price of $24,000 – $29,805.

It’s important that you don’t just estimate how far your daily commute is; you must measure it. On your next workday, record how far you actually drive on your odometer. For most people, this should fall well within the range of today’s electric cars.

Approximately 95% of car commuters in the U.S. travel less than 40 miles to work, with the average commute being being 13.6 miles, according to data from the National Household Travel Survey of 2009, analyzed in a study by Garrett Fitzgerald and Rob van Haaren, doctoral students at the school of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. Those figures represent one-way commutes, but that still means that an average round trip commute is well within the range of the electric cars on the market.

Knowing the facts about electric cars means you can let go of that range anxiety and relax . They can get you nearly anywhere you want to go, and the growing infrastructure is making it easier to go farther everyday. Besides, freedom from oil is invigorating!

 

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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