I personally love the idea of the electric car. And when Nissan Motors Co., Ltd. (NASDAQOTH: NSANY) announced a new Nissan LEAF model that could potentially sell for as little as $18,800 after various tax credits, I began to seriously consider the purchase of a new electric car. So I began to do my research. And as I was at my local Nissan dealership checking-out the current Nissan LEAF model, I was reminded of the one thing that has thus far kept me from pulling the trigger on a new electric car purchase. And that one thing is the battery. While I love the electric car in theory, the electric car battery leaves a lot to be desired for in practice. Specifically, I am referring to finding locations to charge the electric car's battery.
Think of all of the consumer electronics you have with a battery. Smartphones, laptops, tablets. Losing charge on a phone is an inconvenience, but not a major problem. But what happens when you are driving an electric car and you get that low battery warning?
That is a significantly bigger problem than a smartphone with a low battery. This worry actually has a term for it: range anxiety, the fear that your electric vehicle will run out of power with no way of recharging it away from home. Range anxiety is rationally nothing to worry about. Nearly 95% of the daily commutes of all Americans are less than 30-miles a day. Despite that statistic, that feeling of anxiety is still a very real problem that needs to be addressed.
For electric automakers, range anxiety is one of the biggest factors holding back electric car adoption. And until public charging stations are a common sight on the road, range anxiety will likely always be an issue for automakers.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has done relatively well for itself catering to a wealthy clientele. And if Tesla continues to only sell luxury electric cars to its wealthy niche audience, they will likely continue to do well regardless of the lack of an adequate public charging infrastructure. And General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’ gas engine to extend the range of their Chevy Volt (and their soon to be released Cadillac ELR) has shown to be cleaver way address the range anxiety issue.
But for automakers looking to sell mainstream all-electric vehicles, such as Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s all-electric Focus Electric and Nissan Motor’s all-electric LEAF, the infrastructure for public charging stations is a must to achieve widespread electric car adoption. What can be done about this?