Photo: Milan, Città metropolitana di Milano, Italy, June 2023.

I used to think that EVs do not really need a long range of, say, 300 miles, for the simple reason that we rarely drive that long. In a series of my earlier posts (here and here), I plotted the histogram of daily driving distance, and pointed out that only 3% of trips are over 50 miles.

But recently I read a Wall Street Journal article that changed my mind. Now I think there is a compelling reason for EVs with over 500 miles. And the reason is not exactly the so-called “range anxiety”.

Instead, I call it the “human limit” factor.

You see, how long can you really drive a car in a day without losing your mind? Well, your mileage varies (pun intended), but most people would agree that 7-8 hours is probably the maximum you can do in a day. . I am not saying you cannot drive more than that. I am just saying most people would prefer to call it a day and not driving any further, after spending 8 or 9 hours on the road. That is probably 7 hours of driving with 1-2 hours of break. Given the average speed of 65 miles per hour, that translate roughly 500 miles (about 800 kilometers).

If an EV has a range of 500 miles, then that means the driver does not need to worry about charging during the day.

But there is just one problem – There is almost no EV on the market that can drive over 500 miles on a single charge.

When I say almost, I mean there is actually one – the 2023 Lucid Air has a claimed range of 516 miles, for about $140K. So it is clearly not a realistic option for most people. The next longest range EV is 2023 Tesla model S with 405 miles, for about $91K. Not for everyone, either.

And that, leads to my current conclusion – We need a decent Plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) with a good EV-range of 200 miles and a small gas-engine that can drive another 200 miles or so.

With this combination, that should eliminate virtually all range anxiety, and also minimize gas usage.

So why there is no auto manufacturers who can offer such a product? Across the board, PHEVs on the market today have less than 50 miles of range. For example, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime has just 42 miles. It is tremendously useful, I am sure. But what I am arguing here is a bigger battery but with a smaller engine (1-liter)?

Time will tell if my “rambling” will come true.