recently announced the cancellation of its proposed electric Phantom, it wasn't because of performance issues. The 102EX Phantom Experimental Electric had "seamless, silent acceleration and massive amounts of torque," according to Keith Barry of Wired
, who tested it. Motor Trend
's Jonny Lieberman preferred it to the regular Phantom
, calling it "totally magnificent." Rolls-Royce's reason for pulling the plug on the car was plucked from the minds of potential customers: They were afraid of running out of juice before reaching their destinations -- a much-publicized concern among potential EV customers known as range anxiety.
Indeed, range anxiety has a stronghold over the EV market. Most electric vehicles can hold a charge of about 100 miles, and it typically takes eight to 12 hours to fully recharge the battery. To lure reluctant drivers, Tesla is developing technology both to extend the range of its vehicles and to decrease the charging time. Tesla's Roadster gets 200 miles per charge, and some versions of its Model S reportedly get upward of 300 miles. The carmaker is working to create technology whereby the Model S will get an 80 percent charge in 45 minutes, according to reporting by Green Car Reports
But in reality, range anxiety dissipates fairly quickly once drivers get behind the wheel of their own EV. A new study by the Technology Strategy Board
showed that 100 percent of potential EV buyers suffered from range anxiety -- but after three months of driving an EV, 65 percent of them were cured, no longer fretting about whether they would run out of power.
“Getting more and more confident and impressed with it," one driver participating in the study noted. Of the transformation the EV drivers experienced, study authors wrote: "[D]rivers have to plan more carefully, are concerned about reaching their destination, but realize that they will make it."
Until automakers can extend the ranges of their EVs in a cost-effective way (the longest-range Teslas currently cost $77,000), their biggest hurdle will continue to be building driver confidence. But once they make converts, those drivers are extremely enthusiastic. For Motor Trend's Lieberman, the electric Phantom was perfection: "quieter, smoother and didn’t produce any odors." And it had extra space in the back seat, to boot.