Will 400-mile Tesla finally end range anxiety?
06.18.2020 - by Noah Barnes
Will 400-mile Tesla finally end range anxiety?

Range anxiety. It’s become such a common phrase that it has its own dictionary entry and Wikipedia page. Tesla’s recent announcement that the new Model S Long Range Plus vehicles have an EPA-rated range of 402 miles may finally end that once and for all.

To be clear: most electric vehicle (EV) drivers know that we rarely, if ever, experience actual range anxiety. The vast majority of driving can easily be accomplished by EVs with even modest ranges. Additionally, EVs can easily be charged at home or at work on a regular basis, so many drivers can wake up to a full “tank” every morning if desired. For those who cannot charge at home or work, the public charging infrastructure is continually improving.

Nevertheless, the perception of range anxiety has persisted. The new 402-mile Tesla Model S is a new milestone in EV range, putting its range on par with many gasoline-powered vehicles. With that many miles, some drivers could go for nearly two weeks between charges!

This is just the latest in the continual improvement in EV batteries and range. Just three years ago, the average range on an all-electric vehicle was 137 miles. Today, the average range on an all-electric vehicle has increased to 235 miles. While Tesla has led the pack in range, the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Bolt, and BMW i3 have also increased their ranges, while new entries like the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro have ranges in the mid-200s at reasonable prices. (Visit Plug In America’s PlugStar.com to compare them all!)

In a recent Plug In America survey of consumers considering an all-electric vehicle, nearly 80% indicated that they want their vehicle to have a range of more than 200 miles and nearly 30% indicated they want a range of more than 300 miles. Americans want long-range electric vehicles and automakers are promising many more options, so they can’t come soon enough.

9 comments on “Will 400-mile Tesla finally end range anxiety?”
  1. Randy Grein says:

    Well Bill, new tech always comes at a cost. 10 years ago I lusted after a roadster but at over $1ook it just was not an option. We now have usable Model 3’s for a price more people can afford, and there are inexpensive in-city cars for the low $20’s.
    I can go pretty much anywhere in the US with our 240 mile range because Tesla has superchargers on all the major routes, and level 2 chargers are pretty common elsewhere. You’re right that we need more, but those come with more EVs. The wave has just started, and in another 10 years we will all wonder what the big deal was.

  2. John Baker says:

    The Tesla V3 SuperCharger will take 15 minutes to give you 225 miles, 20 for 300 miles. I would say that is a good bet to buy a Model 3. True it will take some time to populate Tesla’s charging stations with these. But considering that we are on the edge of no return with the climate crisis, it seems like a good investment to make now.

  3. Bill B says:

    I’ve actually been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder – so leasing a Chevy Bolt EV (238 miles per charge for an average driver in favorable weather) was a bit of a stretch……

    My military background, however, led me to challenge range anxiety directly. I decided to drive the car from my home in north-central Massachusetts to the California coast, then back via Tulsa: 8,000 miles. I developed spreadsheets based on plugshare.com information, also hatched Two Ideas on how to rebound from a possible situation where my remaining mileage would be very low.

    In general, the trip went well, never ran out of juice and had to be towed. But there was a crisis at the end of the first day, in PA; one of my charted charging stations turned out to be of the club variety – and I was not a member of the local club.

    So I turned to my bailout ideas. Idea One was to ask my lodgings and local convenience stores for permission to plug in on their premises (level 1). Refusal was point-blank; presumably their concerns was that I’d put their lights out, and the manager would get blamed.

    Idea Two involved local electrical contractors or electrical supply stores – which you can find almost everywhere. These are businesses who know their stuff about electricity (unlike the general populace)! So, after phoning just one, I used one of my eight remaining miles to get there, then was allowed to charge overnight there. Back on the road, end of range anxiety!

    Moral of story: you cannot really learn to swim until you at least get your feet wet….

  4. Bruce J. Stringer says:

    Range anxiety for Tesla owners has become less of an issue as the number of Supercharger sites has increased. When I got my 2014 Model S85 in April 2014 there were no Supercharger sites in the range of my car. There were only 72 sites in North America so long range travel was not really possible. Fast forward to now and there are 838 sites in the US., 101 in Canada, and 16 in Mexico. Long range travel is now fairly easy almost everywhere in the lower 48. Still no sites in Alaska or Hawaii That being said, the prospect of a Model S with an additional 137 miles of rated range over my 265 miles of my S85 is very attractive.

  5. Craig W. says:

    Tesla can sell all the Model 3s that they currently produce and the Model Y (SUV Model 3) is expected to outsell the Model 3 by 2 or 3 to 1. I don’t think Tesla is worried too much about their price structure. As too the general public…I have found people fear Tesla problems until they 1) talk to a current owner and 2) drive the car. Then – when they find out the ongoing maintenance savings they get with an EV – they start planing how they will pay for the new Tesla they now really want.

    I know there are those who really don’t like the minimalist interior of Teslas, but those people are free to wait for Mercedes or BMW to bring out their cars and then drive and compare them.

    Tesla may not be the only ‘game in town’, but they sure changed the game on the other auto manufacturers. For this they deserve all our thanks.

  6. Jan Wagner says:

    I will be getting a brand new PHEV this year, to replace my 2012 Toyota Plug-in Prius Hybrid. I will no doubt keep my new vehicle for many years too. Even though it will have far less all-electric range (42 miles) than any all-electric vehicle on the market, it will have enough range for most, if not all, of my daily driving. On the rare occasion when I want to drive out of town, I’ll happily and quickly fill up with gas. I especially value the peace of mind of knowing that I can drive as far as I want, and be able to refuel quickly and anywhere that there is a gas station.

  7. Jim Stack says:

    Some of my gear head friends still want more range. They want 3 minutes fill ups. They just don’t understand.

  8. John Donaldson says:

    For me, who owns a PHEV, the switch to full EV will come when 80% charge times come in under 15 minutes in cars that are closer to the national average car price. It’s not about range, it’s about recharge times.

  9. Bill B says:

    There is a reason why cars priced @ $75K and above only sell a few each month, and that’s because most folks can’t afford them. The 400 mile model “S” will not be an exception. Even a 400 mile Model 3 will still be priced above many customers budget. The real problem today is the public charging infrastructure. Imagine if there were as many DCF chargers as gas pumps, problem solved.
    Hopefully oil companies, power companies and others will jump into the public charging business and make EV adoption a no brain’r.

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