I would ask this engineer in the first paragraph, "have you ever been driving along, looked at the gas gauge and and had an immeadiate question in your mind where the next gas station is and will you make it"? The question would possibly be phrased in involuntary explitives that indicate the anxiety. Now imagine that you are certain there is no place to "re-fuel" nearby. Fun.
Range anxiety happens in all types of vehicle (bet it's real fun in a plane). With EVs (current state of the art) unless you plan and monitor carefully it would be very frequent.
"They don't buy cars to satisfy their average needs. They buy cars to satisfy their exceptional needs"
This formulation creates, I think, an artificially limited set of choices. I would say we buy cars to satisfy our full range of expected needs. The daily commute is only part of the picture for most drivers. It may be typical, the most frequent use, but the requirements for greater range are still frequent rather than exceptional for most of us.
My daily commute is only 35 miles round trip, great for EVs. Weekend events, sometimes more than one per week require far more range- not infrequently both of or vehicles will see this use for conflicting events. A dedicated EV to commute would mean a third vehicle.
People buy for the real world, not a theoretical scenario someone else imagines. Opinion.
Besides, it's the job of engineers to figure out what consumers want and then design to it. It's not the job of engineers to say, "Here's what you should want."' Amen.
I agree completely with Dennis - seems silly to me that the engineer is trying to project an unrealistic expectation that folks shouldn't be thinking about all of their driving scenarios - even if some are not as frequent as others. Selecting a car wisely includes considering all of the ways it will be used. I would not want to have to rent a car when I have car payments on an expensive EV, just to make the 5 hour drive to see our inlaws that occurs mostly on country back roads to get there...
Thanks Nancy. Your point on rural Texas is good also. Gas/diesel cars work everywhere. All the time. No anxiety. And even inner city dwellers often leave (drive into Chicago on a Friday afternoon sometime).
Rental on top of a car payment! Very good point. Bet that would be satifying.
The reaction of this engineer makes me suspect that he probably does not believe the range issue will be solved anytime soon. Hence he tries to make it go away. The EV fans keep insisting this will soon be a dead issue-but this guy , who is working on "the front lines", sees a need for consumers to adapt. He doesn't see a near term solution. Just a thought.
It seems the engineer is trying to convert the language of range anxiety to include all vehicles. This is the "nudge" effect to take away the negative preception of EV's. However, my first answer is, "Yes, I know the approximate range of my vehicle and it is 4-5 times that of the best EV." A suburban with a 42 gallon tank getting approximately 17-19 mpg, translates into over 700 miles! BOOM!
As many have stated over and over. Daily commutes are the perfect fit for the EV. But it is the idea of extra commuting that dictates the buyer. I do not go into a car dealer and say, "I need a vehicle that I can drive 50 miles to work each day." I go into the dealer looking for a car that fits most all my needs. If it happens to be a SUV because I haul around a bunch of kids, supplies, and drive long distances, then that is the vehicle that I look for. Sure, my 9-5 job is only 50 miles, but that is not my immediate thinking. Perhaps we should be thinking more in terms of specialized vehicles for specialized needs. But who can afford 2, 3, or 4 different cars?
Bunter, you also brought out the most practical thought of most buyers. "How do I re-fuel it?" No one worries about a gas station (except maybe in West Texas). But where do you plug in your EV. Also, can I plug it in at home? Special recepticals or wiring required? How long to recharge? These factors are the "range anxiety". Re-fueling has to be considered at the time of purchase!
I agree with Nancy in that the engineers should consider the needs of the consumers. Most consumers who have the range anxiety in electrical vehicles usually are people who desire to use the vehicle for out of town purposes. While electrical vehicles are de3signed for short range distances, it is important to note that there are consumers who require vehicles for weekend trips and buying an electrical vehicle may not be a good decision.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
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