Range anxiety is one of the most prominent reasons car buyers give for avoiding buying a battery electric vehicle (BEV).  Drivers wary of making the switch from petrol or diesel to electric frequently cite concerns that batteries will not last the journey, but is this true?

Annual mileage

  • In 2022, the UK’s average annual mileage was 6,370. That’s 720 miles less than in pre-COVID 2019, the last year without lockdowns to skew the comparison.
  • The most common mileage bracket for Britain’s drivers was just 3,000 – 4,000 miles a year. 
  • Annual mileage of 6,600, of this, just 2,100 was for commuting
  • Average car trip distance 8.7 miles
  • Even company car drivers only travelled an average of 12,700 miles

The data above is the most recent information available at the time of writing. It reveals the reality of today’s motoring: people are driving less than in 2002, when the survey first started, and the average mileage was 8,400.

Looking at the average car trip distance, it is very evident that, as the market moves towards BEVs, range anxiety should seldom be an issue for many drivers.

While it is reasonable to recognise that when the Nissan Leaf first went on sale in the UK in 2011, with an official range of 109 miles, the range and limited recharging infrastructure may have been a concern for many, not least of all because it was seen as new technology, today, the recharging network is good and getting ever better and faster. However, where people can fit a home charger, the need for the public charging network is likely to be limited to high days and holidays.

Today’s BEVs can usually travel between 150 and 300 miles on a charge, which should be more than enough for casual drivers and people who commute each day for work. Range anxiety and, arguably, charging anxiety (concern that a charger may not work) should only ever be an occasional issue for most drivers.

Nevertheless, for some people, it may remain an issue. In this position, much like switching to a smartphone, as more family and friends make the change, their influence may be the most compelling factor in helping people appreciate that going electric is a viable choice.

Alice Sweet, Product & Propositions Director

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