As electric vehicles gain popularity, automakers have focused on increasing battery capacity to ease concerns about running out of power on the road. However, a new study from the University of Delaware suggests that in many cases, choosing a smaller EV with less range may be a better option.
Led by Willett Kempton, the study analyzed the driving habits of 333 individuals with internal combustion vehicles in Atlanta, Georgia, since 2004. The researchers compared their annual mileage needs to hypothetical EVs with varying ranges and found that 37.9 percent of drivers could have driven an EV with a range of just 143 miles (230 km), such as the Nissan Leaf, without needing to change their driving habits at all.
While longer-range EVs may seem like a better choice, there are several disadvantages to larger battery packs. According to Kempton, smaller EVs are cheaper to purchase and easier to produce, making them more attainable for drivers. Fewer batteries also make EVs safer on the road, as lighter vehicles cause less damage in the event of a collision.
Although longer ranges are useful for cross-country trips, only a few drivers in the study made such journeys. Kempton suggests that renting a car for those trips may be a more cost-effective solution.
Kempton hopes that this research will alleviate concerns about range anxiety among interested EV customers. As a Mustang Mach-E owner, he rarely worries about running out of power since he wakes up with a full battery every morning.
This study highlights the potential benefits of smaller EVs and encourages automakers to consider producing more affordable and efficient options for drivers.