A survey-based assessment of how existing and potential electric vehicle owners perceive range anxiety
Journal of Cleaner Production , Volume 276
Electric vehicle (EV) owners enjoy many positive aspects when driving their cars, including low running costs and zero tailpipe gas emissions, which makes EVs a clean technology provided that they are sourced through renewable sources, e.g., biomass, solar power, or wind energy. However, their driving behaviour is often negatively affected by the so-called range anxiety phenomenon, i.e., a concern that an EV might not have enough driving range to reach the desired destination due to its limited battery size. The perception of range anxiety may also affect potential buyers in their decisions on whether to purchase an internal combustion engine vehicle as opposed to an EV. This paper investigates some factors that influence range anxiety through a comparative analysis of two target groups: (i) existing EV owners, and (ii) non-EV owners (i.e., potential EV owners). The specially crafted survey was used to collect range anxiety data from more than 200 participants. In particular, participants provided their perceptions on (i) the potential relationship between existing gas station infrastructure and the desired EV charging station infrastructure, and (ii) the potential relationship between range anxiety and two influencing variables, namely the current state of charge and remaining range. Concerning the existing gas station infrastructure, evidence suggests that both target groups think that the distances between gas stations could be increased. Moreover, our analysis shows that the desired distances between charging stations correspond to the distances between the existing gas stations, which indicates that both EV owners and non-EV owners have a common view on the optimal gas station and charging station topology. Furthermore, we find that the type of settlement (urban vs rural) influences preferred distances, where both target groups living in cities desire shorter distances, and that non-EV owners, as opposed to EV owners, are more prone to be affected by the state of charge and remaining range. Quantitatively, we are able to define a measure for range anxiety, which is connected with the preferred distance between two neighbouring charging stations. Throughout our analyses, we find that the mean preferred distance between two neighbouring charging stations is 7 km, but this value significantly differs based on the settlement type of a (potential) EV owner.