Perhaps the biggest worry you hear about electric vehicles is "range anxiety." And yet, on the "vast majority" of days, people in the United States drive fewer than 50 miles, averaging around 30. Which is to say: For almost all commuters, it doesn't make much sense to buy a huge car with a range of 400 miles. And yet, we do. And that has major climate and energy impacts.
This consumer peccadillo has driven alternative transportation advocates bonkers for years. So, why do people buy 7-passenger SUVs with four-wheel drive in California when they usually carry a single passenger in 70 degree weather on a highway?
People buy cars for their peak (imagined) need. If you can imagine that one day you'll drive more than a handful of people to Lake Tahoe to go skiing, then (if you can afford it) you might choose a massive sport-utility vehicle.
Which is why, I think one piece of BMW's electric vehicle announcement today is so significant. When you buy the new BMW i3, you can bundle it with access to "a conventional auto like the full-sized X5 SUV for several weeks a year."
In other words, you can right-size your commuting vehicle without losing peak capacity.