I was talking to some friends (and one cab-driver) about electric and hybrid cars the other day, and the concept of range anxiety came up. Consumers may very well wish to purchase electric cars, but they are apprehensive about getting stranded on long trips: auto makers call this range anxiety.
I wonder what the average consumer’s range anxiety is (measured in, say, miles), and I wonder how that compares to the capabilities of a typical electric car. Consumers are assumed to act with lots of information (provided by commercials and marketing, for example), but perception is often far from reality. There could be a large gap between someone’s range anxiety and the capability of the car–range dissonance, perhaps? In order to make sales, car manufacturers need to close that gap, through technology or marketing.
There’s a lot of interesting quantitative analysis to be done here, both of the car’s performance, and the consumer’s perception of performance. In addition, the government–which seems interested in promoting electric car use–must understand the needs of the cars and consumers as well, as it starts to develop the geometry of “filling” stations.