“Range anxiety” may be keeping Phoenix-metro motorists from buying electric vehicles

“You’re thinking constantly about how much range you have left,” Karl Brauer said, which doesn't happen with gas-powered cars since gas stations are everywhere.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 4:56 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - When it comes to electric vehicles, it seems that Valley drivers are warming up to them. “They’re definitely growing in both market share as well as usability,” Karl Brauer told On Your Side. He’s with iseecars.com an auto research website.

Brauer says his company analyzed 860,000 EVs nationwide to determine which were driven the most and the least. They then categorized the data down to cities. So, what were the results?

When it comes to the Phoenix metro area, the most driven EV is the Hyundai Ioniq, with drivers racking up, on average, 11,638 miles a year. The second most popular EV in the Valley is the Tesla Model X, driven around 11,402 annually. That’s followed by the Tesla Model S, the Model Y and the Model 3. “So, you see models like the Teslas or the higher mileage models like the Ioniqs being driven more, and you have older cars like the Nissan Leaf being driven much less because people have “range anxiety.”

Range anxiety. That’s something many drivers feel the moment they get into their EV and take off somewhere. “You’re thinking constantly about how much range you have left,” Brauer said.

Karl says that doesn’t happen to gas-operated cars because gas stations are everywhere. But charging stations are not. Still, out of 83 major metropolitan areas, Phoenix ranks 47 as the most electric EV use. When averaging all EVs together, motorists drive only 8,900 miles a year. “In Phoenix, we’re only driving around 8,901 miles an average a year. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot,” On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked. Brauer replied, “Well, Phoenix you know you think of it being a warm place. It’s not cold and doesn’t have snow. And ranges cut down. But you also have to think about it being hot there so you need air conditioning which also reduces the range of an electric vehicle.”

Most EVs can travel about 280 miles on a single charge. But Karl says until manufacturers can start making cars that travel around 440 miles, consumers will most likely continue to have range anxiety. “I’ve been saying this for a while. Range anxiety isn’t about being stranded somewhere. It’s about when it comes to charging that vehicle, it’s kind of a belabored process. It’s not a quick and easy fix like looking around and seeing a gas station. It’s a much bigger deal.”

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