Mythbuster #3: Debunking Range Anxiety

Revolv’s Mythbusters Series dives into common misconceptions around electric vehicles, offering factual insights to aid fleet owners and operators and help them get the most out of the EV transition.

The myth: EV range is limited and will cause operational delays

We recently took a look at the inaccurate assumptions around EV charging infrastructure, but what about EV charging technology? Amid the EV transition, range anxiety has been a predominant concern for consumers across the board. Fleet owners and operators, in particular, often share these concerns over EV range:

  • What if I can’t complete my operations because I run out of battery?
  • Will there be operational delays caused by range?
  • How will my drivers feel about EV range restrictions?
  • Will electrification stop me from growing my business?

Therefore, fleets looking to optimize their operations may believe they shouldn’t be making the switch to electric vehicles – but the opposite is true. With the adoption of any new technology, there are going to be both pioneers and consumers who are hesitant to change. Think of the modern-day car: Once upon a time, there was an aversion to the automobile in favor of a horse and buggy – and look where we’re at now. We can expect rapid progress, and already, the reality is in favor of EV range and overall adoption rates.



Electric van movement around the city

The Fact: Technology is Improving Every Day

Let’s start with where we’re at today. Technology sets up the basis for adoption, and thankfully, there is a hodgepodge of new advances in battery chemistry and structure that improve capacity. An increase in battery capacity and the number of charging cycles through these advanced battery technologies, which some companies touting a 1M mile, 15-year lifespan, could help electric vehicles, including trucks, travel further between charges, while also increasing battery lifespan.

The technology is adapting at a breakneck pace. We’re already at the point with battery technology where electrification makes sense for everything from last-mile applications to drayage applications and even some middle-mile applications.

While there’s still work to be done when it comes to over-the-road or long-haul trucking applications, looking ahead, we can expect continued battery technology innovation – particularly focused on safety, robustness, and product life. Various OEMs are also building in capabilities to retrofit existing battery units to account for this expected change. Similar to the iPhone, the technology is going to exponentially increase over the next 10 years – making range anxiety a concept of the past.

The Fact: Range Today

So what do these advancements in batteries actually mean? As the market currently stands, for Class 2 vehicles, the lowest range is around 100 miles, although that’s getting closer to a 200-mile range for last-mile operations.

When we look at Class 8 vehicles, many OEMs are utilizing really large battery packs with 500-600 kilowatt hours, which translates to just shy of 300 miles.

While it is worth noting that current range testing methods are inconsistent since there is no standardized process for loaded and unloaded range estimations, these data points are still extremely promising and prove EVs are sufficient for many businesses. Having an understanding of the current range can circumvent operational delays so our nation’s goods can get to the right place by the right time.

Another common misconception is that trucks won’t be able to recharge fully overnight. Businesses worry that from the time a truck is parked at a depot or charging facility after a shift to the time it needs to be on the road the next day, there won’t be enough juice. The reality is, that there are quite a few opportunities out there: Whether it’s an improved on-board charger (OBC) or enhanced Direct Current (DC) charging rate, we’re seeing an opportunity to not overtax the electrolyte and still get an adequate charge rate overnight, so that businesses can have fully charged vehicles each morning. As McKinsey points out, charging overnight is also most predictable with manageable up-front capital expenditures and operating costs – offering maximum flexibility.

The Fact: Payload and Torque

It’s not just fleet owners and operators; drivers themselves – understandably – have a lot of questions about maximizing range. One key concern is the payload, especially for fleets that experience varying weight loads that change daily.

While payload is significant towards the range when it comes to different aspects of the vehicle, it is not necessarily the most taxing. Cabin conditioning and low ambient temperatures impact the range more dramatically than the payload does – which is why driver training and education are a must-have for fleets undergoing the electrification transition.

Another concern for drivers is that EVs won’t have adequate torque compared to their ICE counterparts, but the opposite is actually true. Another bonus of the EV driving experience is that EVs have instant torque, contributing to increased maneuverability that improves drivability by a landslide.

Having the Right Partner to Reduce Range Anxiety

Even if a business gets a handle on charging and range for its current fleet of vehicles, it might wonder how it can continue its growth trajectory amid the electrification buildout. There’s a common sentiment among fleets today that having EVs can be a hindrance to expanding operations. A growing business could want to change up its route, which brings range back into the picture.

It is indeed possible and what it comes down to is forward thinking – which is why it’s important to build any site out with the intention of future growth to alleviate any potential challenges and limiting factors (ie: the local utility grid, the city, landlord participation).

The key? Having the right partner to help you. When it comes to EV range and understanding the opportunities and challenges, there is a lot of information out there. Having someone to lean on who can break it down is especially important to get the most out of your changing fleet. Revolv guides businesses to optimize routes and operations to help reduce range anxiety while ensuring peak efficiency.

We do that by working closely with original equipment manufacturers to understand products on the market today – sorting through countless whitepapers, build sheets, spec sheets, and more for our customers and to have a clear understanding of the technologies readily available. And, since we’re OEM-agnostic, we let the technology speak for itself and choose what makes sense for each of our partners.

With any new customer, we start by analyzing the utility and value surrounding the ICE vehicles they’re looking to replace to understand their electrification needs. On top of understanding payload and range requirements, we perform a route analysis. Throughout the journey, we also provide access to our wide knowledge base, with pertinent information on battery chemistry, range payload, manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), suppliers, and much more.

There are many pieces to think about amid the EV transition, but concerns about range don’t have to be one of them.