Rightly or wrongly, many potential electric car owners are a little put off by the fear of occasionally running out of electricity before their destination--a condition termed "range anxiety".
In reality, it's something that existing electric car owners grow out of, once they're used to their vehicles.
BMW thinks it can alleviate range anxiety another way with its future electric vehicles--by loaning out its reagular, gasoline-powered models when owners want to take a longer trip.
According to MIT Technology Review, it's a scheme based on knowledge gained from BMW's existing electric car programs, such as the ActiveE trial and the previous MINI E testing.
BMW found that the range limitation of an electric vehicle was only really an issue in about 10 percent of trips.
To mitigate this, BMW i-car drivers would be offered a gas-powered loaner vehicle for as long as they needed to do a longer trip.
“We offer you a fallback solution in case you purchase this car and then need to go on a 500-mile trip,” explained Rolf Stromberger, BMW’s vice president of business environment and public affairs strategy.
It echoes one existing solution for electric car owners, often suggested as a way of dealing with the occasional longer journey--hiring a car on the infrequent occasions a longer trip is required.
In BMW's case, your loaner vehicle would be part and parcel of the electric car ownership experience. Michael Omotoso, an analyst for LMC Automotive, says the extra cost to BMW of such a scheme could prove worth it for the positive publicity alone--the idea that a BMW electric car owner would never find themselves stranded, out of juice.
Of course, only some electric car owners would see a need for it anyway. BMW is already offering an alternative option for drivers expecting the occasional longer trip, since its i3 electric car will offer a range-extended option.
And the maker's upcoming plug-in sports car, the stunning i8, is already a plug-in hybrid vehicle--more than suitable for longer trips.
If other automakers offered this option, would it encourage you to purchase an electric car? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.