Americans Want More EV Charge Range Than They Need

However, that sense of security in a high-range EV could be what transitions consumers from ICE to EV.

September 27, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—U.S. electric vehicle shoppers want an EV with a range of at least 300 miles, according to a Bloomberg survey, and less than 10% of those surveyed would buy an EV with a charge range of 200 miles or less. However, 95% of car trips in the U.S. are 30 miles or less.

“We’re in this education phase of electrification,” Stephanie Valdez-Streaty, director of EV research and development at Cox Automotive Mobility, told Bloomberg. “We’re getting consumers to understand: How often do I drive? Where am I going to be able to charge? What do I need for my lifestyle? As consumers start to get more educated, they may realize they don’t need a vehicle that has a 400-mile range.”

Americans have historically purchased too much car for their needs, according to Bloomberg, but when consumers buy “too much” electric vehicle, they are overbuying battery as opposed to number of seats, storage space and horsepower in an internal combustion engine vehicle.

According to Bloomberg, an EV that has a range of 300 miles takes 91 kWh of battery, which costs automakers nearly $11,000 to make, and that battery weighs more than 1,100 pounds. The question is whether that added weight and cost is worth it to drivers and automakers.

“For every kilowatt hour of battery, we add cost for the consumer, and we add CO₂,” Fredrika Klarén, head of sustainability at Sweden-based EV maker Polestar, told Bloomberg.

But EVs with a range of 300-plus miles per charge may be the only way to get more American consumers on board with EVs.

“We have to get more people on board, really trusting EVs and feeling confident enough to buy them,” Klarén told Bloomberg. “They need to feel like they have good range to be able to make that leap from ICE vehicles.”

If Americans can purchase an EV that fulfills their range desires and they get used to a charging routine, then second-time EV purchasers may trade down to a smaller EV with a lower range, according to Valdez-Streaty. By that point, there may be more EV options that are cheaper and have a lower range.

If we want mass adoption,” she says, “we need a price point for everyone and something that meets their lifestyle.”

Automakers and startups are also innovating on batteries that offer a large range but without the heaviness of the EV batteries on the market now.

“If these options follow the trend of lithium-ion battery packs, prices will eventually come down to a level that makes them available to the broader market,” writes Bloomberg. “For now, though, the long-range, low-cost, lightweight electric car remains a fantasy.”

Many convenience stores are investing in EV charging infrastructure, including 7-Eleven, Sheetz and Circle K, among many others.

“We’ve been very early adopters of EV charging,” said Trevor Walter, vice president of petroleum supply management, Sheetz, in a Bloomberg article. “We installed our first EV chargers in Pennsylvania in 2012.”

EV owners have time on their hands while they juice up. Here are five things c-stores can offer waiting EV customers.

The NACS EV Charging Calculator allows retailers to assess the cost and profitability of offering EV chargers at their sites. The calculator focuses on what retailer utility costs associated with EV recharging are and what the corresponding revenue must be to recover those costs after allowing for potential ancillary in-store visits and purchase profitability.

The Fuels Institute is headlining two EV-related education sessions at the 2022 NACS Show, October 1-4 in Las Vegas. These include EV Economics: Fact vs. Fiction and Reality of EV Transitions. Register today to attend the NACS Show.