Many electric vehicles already have enough range (100 to 200 miles) for the vast majority of people and the vast majority of trips. Every night while you sleep, your car is plugged in and “topped up” to full charge. Think about it – over the course of a year, how many times do you drive more than 100-200 miles in a day? 68% of commutes in the US are less than 15 miles each way, and 89% are less than 35 miles.
For the few occasions when you need to travel a long distance in a day, fast charging stations already exist on some major corridors, and more are coming. Current fast EV chargers can charge to about 80% of the battery’s capacity in 20-30 minutes.
Remember that EV charging is still in its infancy, and fast charging technology is improving rapidly. For instance, Honda is working on an electric vehicle that will charge 150 miles in 15 minutes, and Toshiba recently announced plans to commercialize by 2019 a battery that will charge to 320 km (190 miles) in 6 minutes.
If you regularly travel long distances in a single day, you may want to get an electric vehicle with a longer range. You’ll pay more for all those batteries, but it will be worth it if you use them all the time. Currently, the longest range all-electric vehicles such as the Chevy Bolt EV get 238 to 300+ miles per charge, depending on driving conditions and technique. EVs are in the works that will get up to 400 miles per charge, and Tesla’s new Roadster boasts a 600-mile range. As battery technology improves and batteries become more efficient, electric vehicles may come out with even longer ranges – although you may not need them as fast-charging stations pop up around the country.