Worries over EV range persist, but the number of models with internal combustion-rivaling ranges is growing. The U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s first “Fact of the Week” for 2024 covered EV ranges during the 2023 model year, finding that the median range climbed and the longest-range model crested 500 miles.
The Lucid Air was the long-range king last year, reaching 516 miles on a charge, a far cry from the 2011 model year, in which EVs had ranges between 63 and 94 miles. The median range grew to a record high of 270 miles, up from 257 miles in 2022 and 234 miles in 2021.
Those range numbers should all but put to bed the worries around range anxiety, though recent EV road trip experiences had by journalists and media members won’t do much to help that cause. Charger availability, reliability, and vehicle charging speeds are more pressing issues for many EV owners, as the recent cold snap in Chicago showed how weather can wreak havoc on public charging speeds.
The Lucid Air is one of the fastest-charging EVs, along with recent Kia/Hyundai/Genesis models. Even so, owners are still looking at a stop that takes four to five times longer than filling with gasoline, and that doesn’t mean the battery is “full” after that charging time.
Despite those challenges and some of the uncertainty about EVs among consumers, plug-in vehicle sales, which includes PHEVs, crested 1 million units in 2023 for the first time. The Fact of the Week for January 29 states that cumulative light-duty plug-in vehicle sales reached 4.7 million units last year.
Surprisingly, PHEVs accounted for 20 percent of the plug-in market in 2023. Some automakers have skipped over plug-in hybrids in favor of dedicated EVs, but wavering demand has led at least one to reconsider that decision. GM recently announced that it would bring new hybrid models to market in the U.S. after getting pushback from dealers who are seeing slow EV sales.
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