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How many miles a day are enough miles a day for an EV owner?

The conversation about big range versus charging infrastructure versus charging speeds is getting tiring. It’s been raging for the last few years, with many potential car buyers arguing EVs will never be able to go far enough, charge fast enough, or reach whatever backwater hollar they need to visit twice a year. Cars shouldn’t be built for edge cases like these, and it doesn’t really matter if these vocally anti-EV people ever get onboard. But mainstream electric cars are barely a decade old and they’re already capable of filling the maximum constraints of around 91 percent of drivers. 

When Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained recently asked his viewers how far they’re willing to drive in one day, the vast majority of them answered in the 1000 miles or fewer range. Around 60 percent of respondents said they weren’t willing to commit to more than 500 miles in a single day. I recently returned from a cross-country trip in which I did two consecutive 1000 mile days heading east and another two consecutive 1000 mile days coming back west. Those four-digit mile days really take it out of you, and it took me a few days to fully recover from that trip. It makes sense that nobody wants to drive more than that in a single go. 

Fenske is a well-known Tesla Model 3 owner, and rather than just sit behind statistics and theory, he put his money where his mouth was, and jumped in his TM3 to run a 1000 mile trip. Obviously he didn’t do this trip just for the video, but the real-world data is appreciated all the same. Knowing that an average joe can drive a Tesla halfway across the country in just over 16 hours is pretty great knowledge. Given that in my recent trips I was running around 3-4 hours between fill-ups and stopping for a good long stretch at each gas station, the overall time from the Tesla is pretty similar to my overall time driving an ICE car. 

It’s pretty telling that an electric car will fill the maximum range needs of almost the entirety of the driving population. It’s also probably not worth worrying about the 9 percent of people who say they are willing to drive more than 1000 miles in a day. They’re lunatics, and we don’t care about them. 

Written by Bradley Brownell
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