Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety may be the scourge of electric vehicle marketing, but BMW is using a different tactic to attack this very real problem.
Ask anyone what they fear most about an electric vehicle, and invariably you’ll hear the results of range anxiety: “I’ll get stranded!” or “My commute is 75 miles and the Nissan Leaf has a range of 73 miles, so it makes no sense to buy an electric vehicle.”
The obvious solution is to install bigger battery packs, such as in the Tesla Model S, which tops out over 265 miles with an 85kWh battery pack. This also drives the price up out of the reach of many who would consider the technology.
Chevy and Fisker are using a different tactic to attack the problem, and installing backup generators in their electric vehicles. The Volt and the Karma use a small gasoline-powered generator to recharge the battery and provide power to move the vehicle.
BMW is trying out a new marketing tactic to combat electric vehicle range anxiety, and plans on providing loaner vehicles for owners to take long trips. BMW’s market research and electric vehicle trials indicated that, only about 10% of the time, owners of their electric vehicles needed to take a long trip, which would be impossible in a pure electric vehicle, and thus the range anxiety.
BMW’s other tactic includes offering an optional gasoline-powered engine/generator in the i3. It’ll only add 85 miles or so to the range, which is still less than half the volt, but nearly double the i3′s electric-only range. Current battery technology, of course, will have to change, before electric vehicle range anxiety is fully cured, but as we can see from Chevy, Fisker, and BMW’s offerings, there are a number of optional treatments.