Forget About Range Anxiety, EV Owners now Face ‘Charging Time Trauma'

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【Summary】According to a report by The New York Times, electric vehicle owners are no longer facing range anxiety, but are now looking for ways to avoid “charging time trauma.”

Original   Vineeth Joel Patel  ·  Oct 12, 2017 10:30 AM PT
author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

When it comes to technology in the automotive industry, vehicles are progressing at an incredibly rapid pace. All it takes is one look at the first electric vehicles to see how far EVs have come.  The Tesla Roadster, which was one of the first widely-available electric vehicles on the road, had a range of more than 200 miles on a single charge. The first Nissan Leaf, which came out in 2011, had a range of roughly 100 miles. But the vehicles weren't able to get those kind of figures in the real world.  

While the Leaf and Roadster's figures are nothing to sneeze at, they weren't on par with gasoline-powered machines. And driving one of the first electric vehicles resulted in "range anxiety" where a driver would worry about being able to get to a location. Plus, when the first few EVs came out on the road, there weren't a lot of available charging stations, making the vehicles' available range even scarier. 

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Range Anxiety Is A Thing Of The Past

Those issues have since been fixed with the latest generation of electric vehicles. The 2018 Leaf has a range of 150 miles, Model 3 is expected to be able to travel 310 miles on a single charge, and Chevrolet Bolt boasts a range of 238 miles. Automakers and electric companies have also put more chargers in place to make the cars' range even more attainable. 

Despite the advancements that are being made in EV technology, electric-vehicle owners still have a lot to be worried about. As a report by The New York Times claims, modern electric car owners no longer have to worry about "range anxiety," but "charging time trauma" is now a major thing. 

Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars take awhile to recharge. As the outlet claims, for the majority of owners charging their vehicles from the comfort of their own home, charging could take as long as all night. Even charging at a charging station isn't as simple as refueling with a gasoline-powered vehicle, as getting a decent charge can take up to an hour or more, claims The New York Times

"Driving long distances and stopping for one to two hours is not something I would want to do," said Mark McNabb, chief executive of Electrify America. The subsidiary of Volkswagen, as The New York Times, points out, is planning to install charging stations across the entire country as part of the automaker's settlement plans for dieselgate, which doesn't have an end in sight.  

As the outlet reports, that's good news, as more charging stations will surely help owners spend less time charging their electric vehicles. And new technology will also reduce the amount of time owners spend at charging stations, as well. 

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High-Tech Chargers To The Rescue

According to The New York Times, owners have two available levels of charging for their residential home. Level 1, as the outlet points out, involves a standard AC outlet that pumps out one to 1.5 kilowatts of electricity. Charging an EV on a Level 1 charger can take up to 30 hours for a full charge, which is unrealistically long for those wanting to go more than 100 miles. Level 2 chargers are available, but need to be professionally installed, and feature a 240-volt AC outlet that can crank out seven to nine kilowatts. With that kind of power, charging only takes 5.5 hours, claims The New York Times

Neither of those charging options are viable for owners looking to use an electric vehicle as a replacement for a gas car. But there's a third option, which involves fast chargers. These types of chargers, as The New York Times claims, are good for 50 kilowatts of DC power, allowing some EVs to get a charge of 90 miles in just 30 minutes. Now that's actually helpful and quick. Tesla, as the outlet claims, has a "supercharger" system for its EVs that can provide the vehicle with 300 miles of range in 75 minutes thanks to 120 kilowatts of power. 

The charging options don't stop there, as new technology is helping companies and automakers come out with even more powerful charging stations. According to the outlet, the new generation of chargers is coming out in Europe in the near future that will have the ability to deliver 350 kilowatts of power. If those chargers come to fruition, they'd be able to charge an EV in just 10 to 15 minutes, claims the outlet. 

Electric Car Charger.jpg

Next-Gen Chargers Are Around The Corner

While a 350-kilowatt charging station may sound farfetched, it's not that far off. Various companies and automakers, including Volkswagen's Electrify America and Tesla are working on installing high-capacity chargers along highways in the U.S., claims The New York Times. Electrify America, as the outlet claims, is investing $2 billion in infrastructure to charge electric vehicles -- $800 million of that will go California. 

With that kind of money, Electrify America, as The New York Times claims, will put 350 Level 2 charging sites in California and an additional 540 units throughout the rest of the country. ChargePoint, another major company looking into installing charging stations in America, has plans to place 400-kilowatt chargers in various locations, which could boast "tap-and-charge" features

Technology companies aren't the only ones that are working on highly-advanced charging stations, as the outlet reports that German automakers Daimler, BMW, and Volkswagen have all teamed up with Ford to install 350-kilowatt chargers across Europe in a joint venture. The initial rollout will see approximately 400 fast-charging stations before the end of this year, with "thousands" set to be installed by 2020. 

"We're looking for similar solutions across the globe," said Mike Tinskey, Ford's global director of electrification and infrastructure. 

There are some things, though, that are holding companies and automakers back from placing quick-charging stations in place. For one, standards across countries vary wildly and another issue is that current electric vehicles aren't engineered to utilize 350-kilowatt charging stations. 

While "charging time trauma" will improve over time, the issue is notoriously bad for Tesla owners in busy cities. As a report from The Motley Fool earlier this April states, Tesla owners had to wait two hours to get a spot a supercharger site in California on the day after Christmas in 2015. If that doesn't include the time it took to charge the car, that's ridiculous. 

With automakers and technology companies rolling out with more EVs, hopefully they'll find a way to reduce charging times, as that has become the largest negative aspect to EV ownership. 

via: The New York Times, The Motley Fool

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