Chevy Manages to Eliminate Range Anxiety Ahead of Tesla
Range anxiety. This two-word combination may not have been recognized by the majority of Americans just ten or fifteen years ago, but today – it is a widely known phenomenon. As more hybrid and all-electric cars hit dealer showrooms in the United States, the concept of range anxiety has received more attention and clout than it has in the past. The term may not have made it into your printed dictionary just yet, but the online Oxford Dictionary offers a working definition for this particular two-word combination – proving beyond a shadow of a doubt, that range anxiety is a very real thing. According to the online excerpt from OxfordDictionaries.com, “range anxiety” is an informal noun defined as: “Worry on the part of a person driving an electric car that the battery will run out of power before the destination or a suitable charging point is reached: range anxiety is often cited as the most important reason why many are reluctant to buy electric cars.”
Now that we are familiar with the term, let’s take a look at how this growing concern in the automotive industry is being subdued – not by a brand like Mazda, Honda, or even Tesla – but by none other than Chevrolet.
Would You Drive an Electric Car?
If you were told you could buy a new car at an affordable price, without ever having to purchase gasoline again – would you go for it? The obvious answer to that question is “YES!” The more in-depth answer would likely begin with, “It depends…”
The truth is, there are a lot of factors to consider when thinking of ditching your traditional gasoline car for an all-electric or hybrid version. The technology is still somewhat new, and the thought of running out of charge mid-commute is enough to keep some drivers far away from the segment. Automakers have recognized this growing concern for car shoppers, and have been diligently working around the clock to find a cure for the dreaded range anxiety. Not only does range anxiety take over the minds of consumers, it also hurts the bottom lines of car manufacturers who are in the business of developing and selling hybrid and electric vehicles.
Prior to 2016, the major player in quenching this quick-spreading “disease,” was Tesla. As much as the California-based automaker and tech company tried to develop a vehicle with an extensive range at a modest price, Tesla wasn’t able to deliver. As 2016 carried on, and as Tesla kept trying to reverse the growing concern over range anxiety, Chevrolet surprised everyone with its latest lineup addition – the 2017 Chevy Bolt.
Chevrolet All But Eliminates Range Anxiety
The Chevy Bolt concept was first introduced at the 2015 North American International Auto Show – the same place where it would be crowned the North American Car of the Year just two years later. The head of General Motors North America, Alan Batey, confirmed that production of the Bolt would commence and that it would be available in all fifty states. While this was major news for Chevy loyalists, not much else was known about what the Bolt would be capable of, or how many miles it could travel on a single charge. GM and Chevrolet began producing the 2017 Bolt in early November of 2016 and made its first deliveries of the all-electric hatchback to California and Oregon before the end of the year.
The 2017 Chevy Bolt features a starting MSRP of just $37,495 and drops below the $30,000 mark after government tax incentives. Not only is the Bolt the most affordable all-electric car on the market, it is also the most capable. With an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles per charge, the 2017 Bolt outdoes every other major all-electric player in the game.
Chevy Patents an Anti-Range Anxiety System
Chevrolet isn’t stopping with the Bolt when it comes to helping drivers say goodbye to range anxiety. The brand has gone so far as to patent the range display in the new 2017 Bolt, as a means to calm range anxiety in drivers once and for all.
The range display featured in the Bolt EV was specifically designed by Chevrolet and General Motors to give drivers <em>range confidence </em>while behind the wheel. With the affordable price point of the Bolt, the only thing that is likely to stop drivers from crossing over into the world of EV ownership is the dreaded fear of running out of a charge before reaching a station. Range numbers on the Bolt’s range display are visibly pleasing and are easy to understand by a simple and quick glance. The screen lets drivers know what the actual range is, and provides a maximum and minimum range number that is dependent upon driving habits and conditions.
GM filed a patent with the United States Patent Office for this particular display back in June of 2015, and it seems that the request has successfully been accepted. Aptly titled the “Display of Total Vehicles Trip Range That Is Intuitive And Minimizes Range Anxiety,” this patent covers everything regarding the new Bolt’s display and describes range anxiety in further detail. The basic summary of the patent says:
<blockquote><em>Because electric vehicles employ a relatively new technology advancement, the time required for recharging the vehicle batteries and the lack of available publicly accessible charging stations can cause electric vehicle drivers to have anxiety regarding the remaining driving range that the vehicle may have for completing their current trip. Existing vehicles are equipped with onboard computer and display systems that calculate an estimated remaining driving range of the vehicle that is displayed for the driver. However, a driver may have a concept of a total distance that is required for their trip, but in the midst of their trip, they may have no idea of how much of the trip has been completed and therefore they may not have any idea of how much further distance is remaining in their planned trip. As the remaining driving range distance decreases, the driver can experience anxiety and concern with running out of power to complete a trip or to get to a charging station. Therefore, it is beneficial to a driver of an electric vehicle to have additional information that helps them reduce their range anxiety.</em></blockquote>
This isn’t the first time Chevrolet has concerned itself over the phenomenon of range anxiety. The automaker tried unsuccessfully to trademark the term back in 2010. Other electric vehicle manufacturers fought Chevy’s attempt, which ended up just fine for the bowtie brand in the end. As Tesla and other all-electric automakers continue to concern themselves with solving their own customer’s range anxiety, Chevrolet has crossed the finish line and is sipping on a cold refreshing beverage as it readies for the next race.