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It's no secret that electric vehicles are on the rise, but with that comes huge challenges in implementing the charging infrastructure needed to maintain them. And with that lack of infrastructure comes the well-documented range anxiety. But is that becoming a thing of the past?
We worked with our data scientists to explore the data behind electric vehicle (EV) ownership - the results might surprise you.
We can reveal that electric vehicles are being driven further than ever before, with the average distance driven per journey rapidly approaching that of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Our data scientists predict the two will be neck and neck within the next 18 months.
So what's behind this surge in EV driving? Having analysed trillions of data points from billions of vehicle journeys taken by over 11 million vehicles across the United States, we found that EV drivers have extended the distance of their journeys by an impressive 5.5% on average between 2021 and 2022. Meanwhile, ICE drivers have been driving shorter distances than years prior, with a decreased journey average of -1.6% when compared to 2021.
This news is a game-changer for the EV industry.
"The data shows that range anxiety may finally be diminishing for EV owners, as they become more comfortable using their EVs for longer and longer trips, and more funds are going toward EV infrastructure support like charging stations throughout the nation," said Sarah Larner, executive vice president of strategy & innovation at Wejo. "It might also signal continued increases in adoption of EVs in the coming year, particularly as more makes and models are made available by manufacturers."
So, which cities are leading the way in EV journey distance increases? Wejo's findings reveal that nearly 100 cities experienced an increase in the average distance traveled per journey for EVs in 2022 versus 2021, with Toledo, OH; Bakersfield and Fresno, CA; and Dallas and Plano, TX experiencing the most significant increases, ranging from 11 to 17 percent further journeys than the previous year.
Comparatively, 89 cities have experienced a decrease in the average distance traveled per journey in ICE vehicles in the past year, with Fresno, Stockton and Bakersfield, CA; Reno, NV; and Anchorage, AK experiencing the most significant decreases, ranging from three to five percent.
As the popularity of EVs continues to surge, it's clear that there will be a need for smart infrastructure investments and updates to ensure we maintain safety and efficiency on the road.
"As a result, DOTs will need to rely more heavily on data-driven insights to continue to make smart infrastructure investments and updates now to get ahead of the rise of EVs soon to come."
With the growth of charging stations across the nation, EV drivers can take heart that they will be able to embark on even longer journeys in the near future. According to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, Michigan and Ohio’s charging station availability have increased by 56 and 43 percent, respectively. New Jersey (61%), Illinois (49%), and Arkansas (48%) also show large increases in their number of charging stations between 2021 and 2022.
So, the future of EVs is looking bright, with drivers feeling more confident than ever about taking longer journeys in their vehicles. Who knows - in a few years, we may look back at this moment as the tipping point for the mass adoption of EVs.
Want to play with the data yourself and uncover fascinating insights? We've made the dataset available to download freely. Simply fill out the form below.