Electric Car

Electric cars - Is range still an important issue when buying a car?

Published: 05/16/2024


Range in electric vehicles is the distance you can drive before you need to charge the battery again. Range anxiety is by far the most common fear that Irish motorists say prevents them from the transition to driving electric.

While battery range is something that should be considered, along with all of the attributes of a new or preloved vehicle, it is not something that should make you worry unduly. Range anxiety exists but with the improvement in electric car models and the increased amount of public and private car chargers it is not the big problem that it used to be. In fact, with newer and even with, second hand electric cars, this anxiety is often unwarranted. The average electric car can travel up to 320 kilometres on a single charge and this distance is only going to improve as the technology improves. 


How far can you go before a plug in?

The range of each car, like the fuel consumption on an internal combustion engine vehicle, varies greatly depending on the age of the vehicle, the size of the battery, the type of car etc., but generally speaking most motorists driving electric can easily manage their daily driving commute without any battery worries. 
Recent data shows that 99% of car journeys are less than 100 miles, and with typical electric vehicle ranges extending from 100km up to 500km, this is more than enough for a single charge, even on an older Nissan Leaf. A 40kWh battery will last around 270km on one charge. The higher the kWh of the battery, the further you will go on a complete power up. A fully charged 62kWh battery can achieve over 380 kilometres before needing any further plug in. So, even with a lower range battery you can probably keep up your fossil fuel’ed driving habits without having to charge up too often. Of course, longer journeys, driving styles, the weather and road conditions all have an impact on the range of an electric vehicle, but it can be managed with a little forward planning.
Running out of power is a rare occasion for EV drivers. The car gives plenty of warning. The AA have said 2.5% of its EV customers’ breakdown callouts are for flat batteries, and they expect that to fall to 1% over time, in line with the proportion of people who run out of petrol or diesel.


Second hand electric cars

Range anxiety should not be the block that prevents you choosing a second-hand electric car. At Peter Hanley Motors you can be certain that we will offer a full vehicle history accompanied by some in house professional expertise on each model of car that we sell. It is important to us the car you purchase suits your wallet, lifestyle and driving style. This includes advice on the battery range on electric vehicles. We also service electric vehicles, and this is a more pressing criteria when purchasing preloved EV cars. If you are choosing a Volkswagen Egolf or the ubiquitous Leaf, this will not be an issue, but with long range electric cars, like Tesla, you may have to source a specialist to conduct the regular service. Another myth around electric cars, and in particular, used models, was that the batteries would not last and would need replacing after few years. In reality, EV car batteries last a lot longer than was originally thought and most new cars batteries come with an eight-year warranty. Of course, when buying a used electric car, you may also see that it might not have a 100% battery life report. This is because most batteries will lose two percent storage capacity rate per year. Anything more than that might flag an issue. Second hand electric vehicles are a great purchase and a perfect way of introducing yourself to green driving. Call in or phone us if you have any questions around buying a second-hand electric vehicle.


The future 

Battery worries and range anxiety will be consigned to the past as we all get used to driving electric and the needs of a battery powered car. Many upmarket electric cars are now offering a range of 350 – 400 km and rumour has it that Mercedes-Benz have a concept car that will have a range of 1200km in between charges! But driving electric does take some changes to habits at first. 
Remembering to charge and planning for charging up on longer journeys are the main lifestyle changes to driving electric. Weighed up against the smooth silent and cheaper driver, it’s a small change to make. It is also estimated that the average car is actually driven for only 4% of its life time. The rest of the time it is parked up awaiting for you to hit the highway again. This means that most people have plenty of time to charge up their car. 
To make life easier, it is still possible to avail of the environmental grants and install a home or work place charge port. The network of public chargers has ballooned in the past year with a plethora of new suppliers offering chargers at shops, supermarkets, and garage forecourts. It has never been easier to power an electric car. 


In the video: Irelands first electric car 1981

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