Electric Range Anxiety
At one time, the electric car was nothing more than a fantasy, but not anymore. Today, the number of sales for this type of vehicle is increasing with projections for the future looking bright. Although electric cars date back to the early 1800s… Yes you read that correctly.
Tesla introduced the Roadster in 2008 at the San Francisco International Auto Show. Since then, automakers in several countries have unveiled their version of the electric car.
Initially, when automakers introduced modern-day cars that ran on electricity only, a lot of people felt skeptical, especially about the driving range. In fact, many buyers struggled with “range anxiety,” feeling nervous that their car could die on the road, leaving them stranded.
People now have a much better understanding of how the electric car works and know that they can travel a long distance on a battery alone without any concern. The range varies depending on the type of car, however. For example, the Nissan Leaf travels up to 151 miles, while the new Tesla Model S 100D can go as far as 335 miles, the longest range of any electric car to date.
What Is Range Anxiety?
In simple terms, range anxiety is a bona fide fear of having an insufficient range to reach a specific destination, thereby leaving people stranded. Of all the challenges relating to electric cars, this ranks at the top of the list. Many drivers now understand that they can mitigate this risk by using range extenders, selecting a car with a long range, using a battery-swapping technology, and investing in a top-of-the-line battery.
While some people think that range anxiety is silly, for many individuals, it is a genuine concern. For that reason, automakers of electric cars have done many things to quell the fear that some people experience. Primarily, they have increased awareness about the above solutions. The result of their campaign has helped increase electric car sales. As more boat makers introduce watercraft that rely on electric power, they too need to educate the public.
A New Challenge
Interestingly, from the 1880s through the 1920s, electric boats were quite popular. However, manufacturers then began using the internal combustion engine, pushing the electric option to the side. Today, advanced technology has led to the introduction of a new line of electric boats.
As with electric-powered cars, experts anticipate that people will again struggle with “range anxiety” when it comes to electric-powered watercraft. If you want to purchase an electric boat, you can put your mind ease by considering a few important factors.
For one thing, some electric boats share technology with the Nissan Leaf. Because this car has proven its reliability, most people who are interested in a watercraft that runs on electricity will not experience the same degree of range anxiety as seen with the introduction of electric-powered cars.
The main issue regarding the development of electric boats is a lack of understanding. As mentioned, sales for electric cars are rising. Based on who you talk to, sales in the U.S. saw an increase of anywhere between 45 and 60 percent in recent years. Even so, these vehicles still only account for 1.5 percent of the market share. That means as electric boats become accessible, manufacturers will need to take unique measures to educate people about range, reliability, safety, and more.
As a growing number of people and industries look for environmentally safe options – and considering that the technology for electric power and propulsion has made so many advancements – boat makers are developing incredible new watercraft. A prime example is the Dasher released by Hinkley Yachts, the first fully electric luxury yacht in the world. While you may not be in the market for a high-end electric boat, the two Torqeedo 80-horsepower electric motors that propel this yacht show just how advanced technology has become.
The questions are, will people be receptive to electric boats, and can they stop worrying about range? Keep in mind that traveling via an electric car and electric boat are two different experiences. In a vehicle, a driver can pull over to the side of the road and call for a tow. On a vessel designed for deeper water, range anxiety becomes a viable issue. The last thing a boat operator wants is to become stuck somewhere in the middle of the ocean.
The irony is that most small to medium outboard motors never came with fuel gauges, so the owner had to guesstimate the fuel required and even carry a backup engine in some cases. Electric boats have a built in “fuel gauge” that is not only extremely accurate in letting you know your power usage, but also helps you learn how the way you use your boat effects the power usage.
This is one of many ways an electric boat is more predicable and therefore more reliable than the old “give it heaps and give the gas tank a shake to see what’s left in the tank” scenario. See the next paragraph to learn more about power calculation.
Overcoming Range Anxiety
Perhaps one of the most important things that potential electric boat buyers need to realize is that many designs include an integrated tracking and monitoring system. Whether using a web or mobile app, an individual can track not only the amount of range remaining but also the number of passengers onboard, the distance from the homeport or dock, and more.
Something else that can put buyers’ range anxiety to rest is the fact that some of the electric boats currently manufactured use hydrogeneration and solar panels to harvest renewable energy. If an operator misjudges the range or runs into some other issue, they can rely on this advanced system as a backup for returning safely to land.
Like electric cars, as electric boats become more technically advanced, they will provide a longer range. Combined with monitoring, tracking, and backup systems, this should help buyers overcome range anxiety.
And if you are still worried about range anxiety you can choose a hybrid model that charges itself!
If you have an interest in buying an all-electric boat, take a page out of the history book on how well electric cars perform. You can avoid range anxiety by conducting as much research as you can on different boat makers, asking tons of questions, and then making an educated decision as to which electric boat works best for your specific needs. Let the fun begin.