EV myths busted: how far can I travel in an electric vehicle?

30 / 03 / 2023  |  Driver Guides

The world of electric vehicles (EVs) can seem a bit daunting if you have no previous experience of them. Learning more about EVs and how they work is an opportunity to put your mind at rest before deciding if now is the right time for you to make the transition.

One of the biggest concerns about EVs is how far they can travel before they run out of power. This is commonly known as ‘range anxiety’ and is understandable, given how long society has relied on vehicles powered solely by an internal combustion engine (ICE). However, 2021 research by the RAC Foundation and the most recent results of the Government’s National Travel Survey paints what may be a surprising picture to those who have not yet made the switch.

They found that:

  • The average car in England is driven just 4% of the time. The rest of the time it is either parked at home (for 73% of the time) or at work (23% of the time)
  • When there is a need to travel, 61% of journeys are made by car. The average length of a journey is 8.4 miles, a figure which has not changed since 2002
  • 26.5m people in the UK are employed. Of these people, 15.3m drive to work, with the average commute being just short of 10 miles. The longest average commute is 11.2 miles in the south east, the shortest average commute is 8.6 miles in Greater London
  • The average real driving range of EVs available in the UK is 198 miles.

If a car driver drove 30 miles in a day, the EV could handle this just as well as a car with an ICE. An EV also has the capability to be charged more frequently than a car is filled with fuel, simply by being parked in the same location every night. The EV can be treated in almost the same way as any other daily essential with a rechargeable battery, such as a mobile phone.

Longer journeys must be planned, just as they would in any other car. And just as a petrol car could run out of fuel on the way to its destination and need to be filled up at a filling station, so an EV can get a charging boost at one of the thousands of points up and down the country.

Charging your EV

If you decide you’d like to start driving an EV, you’re going to need to charge it in the same way that you’d need to fill an ICE car with fuel. The RAC Foundation’s research also found that:

  • Of the UK’s 27.6m households, 18m of them have private space which could accommodate a car and a home chargepoint.

However, although millions of people in the UK would be able to park and charge their EV at home, there are almost as many people whose home doesn’t allow them to do this. They would need to use public chargepoints – and there’s more of those around the country than you might realise. In fact, at the end of February 2023, there were 38,982 electric vehicle charging points across the UK.

  • In 2019, the number of charging locations in the UK overtook the number of petrol stations for the first time
  • The growth in the number of slow chargers is a result of local authorities installing on-street charging for those who do not have the option of private parking and charging
  • Since February 2022, there has been an 82% increase in the number of ultra-rapid devices across the country
  • There are 7,426 open-access rapid charge points as of 28th February 2023.

What’s more, the range of the latest EVs keeps on increasing and increasing. The sky is the limit – or rather, the horizon is!




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