With global electric vehicle (EV) sales having grown from 120,000 in 2012 to about 10 million in 2022 much of the early speculation regarding consumer expectations and anxieties is being answered. And with 60 percent of the more than 17 million EVs on the road fully electric, owners that have had the opportunity to live the battery EV life, realize all-electric transportation offers a new value proposition free of many of the traditional pain points.
As far back as 2020 there were already signs that the experience of owning an electric vehicle eases many of the "assumed" anxieties associated with these cars – including range anxiety. And as the number of BEVs in circulation grows so too does the consumer's appreciation of the many advances that accompany the EV. As showcases for cutting edge technologies these vehicles are often bundled with the latest in infotainment, advanced driver assist systems and connectivity.
A recent study that measured EV owner satisfaction in both premium and mass-market segments found that first-time buyers gave their purchase a score of 754 out of 1,000 across an array of 10 typical driver expectations. These ranged from the availability of public charging stations, ease of charging at home and driving range, to the service experience.
So, even with the known challenges facing nascent EVs it would appear that the technology is already winning over ICE owners – this in part by addressing many of the pain points associated with, not only all-electric vehicle ownership but also those accompanying traditional motor vehicle ownership.
Probably one of the most discussed pain points of owning a vehicle is the cost of ownership. This is particularly pertinent when one considers that the average private vehicle utilization is less than two hours a day.
From the early days of the Tesla Model S, EVs have always had the upper hand when it comes to running costs. And even with volatile energy costs that vary significantly from region to region - with some regions clearly favoring electrification, while others favor fossil fuels – servicing costs of the less mechanically complex EV significantly undercut those of ICEs.
To further address the burden of ownership, including initial purchase price, several companies are introducing "subscription services". A hybrid between a short-term rental and a long-term lease, the service allows customers to subscribe to a temporary car "ownership" covered by a convenient all-inclusive monthly fee, without any long-term commitment.
This not only fixes the bulk of ownership costs but, in an environment where EV technologies are developing rapidly, also gives the consumer confidence that they can upgrade without being tied into a long-term ownership agreement.
A similar subscription service model is being applied to EV batteries. Commonly known as "battery as a service" (BaaS) the price of the battery is not included in the upfront cost of the vehicle, instead, the owner leases the battery separately. This model is often adopted by manufacturers that focus on battery swapping as a means to speed up charging.
Interestingly, while range anxiety is often cited as one of the EV's shortcomings, research by a leading research company shows that range satisfaction is the top purchasing reason among veteran BEV owners in both the premium and mass-market segments.
At first glance, this may appear to fly in the face of logic. With ICE vehicles capable of covering up to 600 miles on a full tank and many modern EVs only returning between 250 and 350 miles on a full charge, why would veteran EV owners quote range as a reason for buying an EV?
The answer is probably twofold:
- Firstly, the industry has come a long way in addressing consumers’ range anxiety with the average range in the US having quadrupled since 2011. Today, enabled by higher battery energy density, the range of the average electric car sold in the US is fast approaching 300 miles.
- Secondly, EV owners’ expectations have undergone a paradigm shift from demanding the maximum range to a more moderate approach based on actual user needs, driven by cost and practicality.
Whilst traditional cars with a driving range in excess of 500 miles, that can be topped up in a matter of minutes, give owners peace of mind that they can easily tackle long trips, very few cars ever travel more than 40 miles a day. What is more, these conventionally powered cars can only be refueled at dedicated fuelling stations that require owners to interrupt their journey.
On the other hand, EVs with less range and longer charge times can be conveniently "fuelled" at home, a shopping center, or a parking garage, and even with 200 miles of range will return up to a week’s driving without a charge.
Is one better than the other – or do EVs merely offer consumers a new value proposition that addresses drivers’ pain points in the 21st Century? A value proposition driven by emissions regulations and a transition to zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs).
Is the comfort of being able to cover ‘600 miles on a tank’ really relevant? Especially when one considers that the difference in up-front costs to double the size of a fuel tank only amounts to cents, whereas the cost of additional range in an EV can cost thousands of dollars – paid for up-front, even if it is never used.
With surveys showing that EV owners have very little range anxiety, recent reports of long queues outside charging stations should maybe prompt a shift in focus to charging times and infrastructure.
StoreDot brings a new value proposition and addresses consumers pain points
Even though home- and office-charging offer adequate charging for daily commutes, EV owners without access to these chargers – or drivers embarking on cross-country road trips - are compelled to charge at public DC fast charging facilities. As more EVs with fast charging capability take to the roads, the immature charging infrastructure is coming under pressure.
Not only do the lack of sufficient charge points and the time it takes to charge a battery create bottlenecks, but the increasing number of ‘out of service’ chargers are creating a new pain point for BEV owners.
This was well demonstrated in the cold winter experienced in the northern hemisphere in December 2022 when images of queues of EVs lined up waiting to charge at fast-charging outlets went viral.
One way of overcoming the congestion is to enable fast charging. By reducing the time to charge, the congestion at chargers is also eased.
Thus StoreDot’s Extreme Fast Charging (XFC) battery can reduce the time spent connected to a fast-charger – often in excess of 30 minutes to charge from 20 to 80 percent of battery capacity – to less than 10 minutes to charge to 80 percent. What is equally important is that the XFC battery can add 100 miles, or 160 km, of range in 5 minutes irrespective of the State of Charge (SoC) of the battery being charged. This linear charge-rate gives drivers confidence when planning their trips, that irrespective of the SoC of the battery, 160 km can always be added in 5 minutes with the appropriate charger.
Storedot’s XFC – the winning solution: >50% reduction in charging times
We utilize the highest power at anystate of charge
Another pain point that the XFC also addresses is the loss of cyclability most Li-ion EV batteries suffer when fast-charged regularly. The XFC is capable of completing over 1,000 consecutive cycles of extreme fast charging – easily exceeding the industry norm of about 700 cycles without degradation as a result of fast charging.
What is more, because of the cost of the battery, BEV owners are always concerned about battery cells or modules failing, which could result in expensive repair costs and downtime. To minimize the effect of a single cell, or even a series of cells, losing power, researchers at StoreDot have patented an innovative self-healing system that allows battery cells to regenerate via a seamless background repair mechanism without having to remove them from service.
Conclusion: BEVs offer a new value proposition and overcome many of the traditional pain points
Even though the BEV is not too dissimilar from its ICE sibling, the all-electric powertrain is very different in the way it functions. This means that many of the expectations, built up over more than a century, are no longer relevant to all-electric transport.
At the same time, the rapidly evolving technology offers a new value proposition that solves many of the long-standing pain points drivers have had to contend with.
StoreDot, the leader in extreme fast charging is at the forefront of developing solutions aimed at overcoming existing and future pain points through the use of innovative, scalable, and cost-effective technology.