Here are three important facts about gasoline:
  • It is available almost anywhere around the world
  • it has tremendous energy content
  • Using it the way we do creates a whole slew of negative environmental and political side effects
It's hard to beat the first two items with a non-petroleum alternative, but those negative impacts (oh, and questions about its availability in the coming decades) are forcing us to try and find one. As regular readers know, the two most promising longer-term solutions are plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell cars. The debate between the two supporting camps is never-ending and often recycled. One of the constant refrains from the hydrogen camp is that EVs create range anxiety, and therefore, are a non-starter.

We're not saying that range anxiety isn't real (it most certainly is), but why is it so important to mention this all the time? Considering that both long-range EVs with a robust recharging network and affordable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with a reasonable refueling infrastructure will require a lot of work, why single out EVs as having the range issue? You can't drive a H2 car very far either in most places.

So, instead of constantly talking about the limited range of EVs, doesn't it make more sense to realize that – for now – if you're not driving a petroleum-powered vehicle, you won't be able to drive very far without making some serious adjustments to your normal driving style (lots of recharging stops a la Tesla or Brammo, or bringing hydrogen tanker trucks along for the trip). Debating which path (or paths) will lead to the cleanest and most reasonably priced gasoline alternative seems so much better than this constant talk of "range anxiety." There's no doubt that honest EV range numbers from automakers are key to a reasonable discussion, but electric drive vehicles won't make up a huge part of the market for a long, long time, and the first wave of next-gen EV drivers is going to be totally engaged with their cars and the tech inside and will accept whatever limits their cars have. Right?

Photo by Paul.Carroll. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

Share This Photo X