EVElectric vehicles have become more visible in the automobile market over the past few years, but many potential buyers still cite one thing as a major deterrent in going electric: range anxiety.

Range anxiety is a term many use to describe the fear of an EV’s battery running out of juice while driving, leaving them stranded away from a charging station.

However, a new study published by a team from MIT and the Santa Fe Institute looked at data in order to come to a conclusion that range anxiety is not something that most drivers really need to worry about.

Overcoming range anxiety

“What we found was that 87 percent of vehicles on the road could be replaced by a low cost electric vehicle available today, even if there’s no possibility to recharge during the day,” senior author of the study, Jessika Trancik, told The Washington Post.

As technology progresses, EVs continue to have a leg up on traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. In 2015, battery prices for EVs fell by 35 percent. By 2040, experts predict that long-range EV prices will be less than $22,000. Additionally, an expected 35 percent of all new cars world-wide are expected to come with a plug.

Even as the technology progresses, sociological barriers such as range anxiety remain as a factor that stands in the way of a full market boom of EVs.

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The transportation industry is evolving, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a driving force behind that evolution.

Ten years ago, Musk first outlined his master plan, which included the development of affordable electric cars (including the recently released Tesla Model 3). Now, Musk has released his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” which shifts emphasis from the development of electric cars to the implementation of new (sometimes controversial) autonomous driving technology. Not only does Musk hope to apply this technology to Tesla vehicles, but also expand to self-driving buses and trucks. This could mean trucks on autopilot that could lead to “a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transportation” in long trips.

According to Musk, the purpose of these plans is to “[accelerate] the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That’s what ‘sustainable’ means. It’s not some silly, hippy thing – it matters for everyone.”

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When lithium-ion pioneers M. Stanley Whittingham, Adam Heller, Michael Thackeray, and of course, John Goodenough were in the initial stages of the technology’s development in the 1970s through the late 1980s, there was no clear idea of just how monumental the lithium-based battery would come to be. Even up to a few years ago, the idea of an electric vehicle or renewable grid dependent on lithium-ion technology seemed like a pipe dream. But now, electric vehicles are making their way to the mainstream and with them comes the commercially-driven race to acquire lithium.

Just look at the rise of Tesla and success of the Nissan LEAF. Not only are these cars speaking to a real concern for environmental protection, they’re also becoming the more affordable option in transportation. For example, the LEAF goes for less than $25,000 and gets more than 80 miles per charge. Plus, electric vehicles can currently run on electricity that’s costing around $0.11 per kWh, which is roughly equivalent to $0.99 per gallon. The last year alone saw a 60 percent spike in the sale of electric vehicles.

“Electric cars are just plain better,” says James Fenton, director of the Florida Solar Energy Center and newly appointed ECS Secretary. “They’re cheaper to buy up front and they’re cheaper to operate, which years ago, was not the case.”

All things considered, lithium may just be the number one commodity of our time.

But this movement is not specific to the U.S. alone. In Germany – a country dedicated to a renewable future – there is a mandate that all new cars in the country will have to be emission-free by 2030. Similarly in Norway, the government is looking to ban gasoline-powered cars by 2025.

So with the transportation sector heading away from gasoline-powered cars and toward lithium battery-based vehicles globally, what will that do to lithium supplies?

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