Is it worth it? To whom? The main reason EV's account for so little new vehicle sales on the market and why they depreciate so rapidly is their range. People want range. To car manufacturers it's worth it to make the car have more even if people don't really need it. This is like asking if cars need more power. Cars have way more power than they did +50 years ago. Yet my all original 46hp at-the-wheels 1972 VW Beetle can do 81mph, plenty fast to go down any highway in the USA. Yet today, even if you double that power it still won't be enough according to your average driver. So for car manufacturers it's worth it to make bigger more powerful engines in ICEV's and bigger longer range batteries in BEV's. The customer is always right even if he's wrong!
Technically an EV with 50 miles range is more than enough for 100% of a person's transportation needs. Even zero vehicular miles would meet most peoples' "needs." Doing some math, it costs at least $5,000 per year average to own a very economical vehicle. That's close to $500 per month. At $20 per hour that's 25 hours of work per month. The guy down at McDonald's has to work 50 hours per month just to own a car. It takes me about 5 minutes in bicycle to get to work. That's 10 minutes per day or about an hour per week. Say I make $20 per hour. I could work 25 hours less and ride my bicycle 4 hours more. I'd have 21 more hours per month to do whatever I want! But no, I had to chose the car and work more so that I could "save time" getting places. Of course many people live farther away from their jobs than I do, but obviously people could try to live closer to their jobs.
But while we're buying cars, is it worth it to buy an EV? What about an EV with +200 more range? If you took a 24kWh Leaf even with a degradated range of close to 50 miles and drove it from San Francisco, CA to New York City by pulling over and using 120V outlets that you ask to borrow from any home or building along the way or your backup suitcase generator for when someone refuses... it would still only take you less than 2 months to get there! I live in Colorado, about halfway in between California and New York. I work for a school so I could get 3 months summer vacation if I so desired. If I wanted to spend a month in either place I could take a month to get there in my Leaf, spend a month there, and then take a month to get back. Every summer I could technically do up to a 4,500 mile road trip in my Leaf using solely 120V for charging, and still get back in time for work.
But of course I, like everyone else, have grown accustomed to driving an ICEV. I've driven from here to New York in less than 3 days, and from here to California in less than 2. I've even driven clear through Mexico to Puerto Vallarta and have even been contemplating on driving to Belize or Alaska. If I want to do all that in a BEV I need either more charging infrastructure or more range or some of each. Or more vacation time, which isn't going to happen.
But in the end, each person is going to have his or her own viewpoint. And the majority are going to want more EV range for them to accept an EV. For some, even the idea of having to pull over and charge for half an hour at a DCQC station just to make a 120 mile drive seems ridiculous and too inconvenient. But to be sincere, when I did my 380 mile trip which involved having to charge from 120V twice and L2 at the other stops it did seem to take a bit longer than I really wanted it to. And creeping up the last mountain passes with the heater off in a bold attempt to make it home before work on Monday didn't really set well with my wife.
But to put things in retrospect there are other options. In a two car family with one long range car, be that ICE or electricity propelled or both, it makes sense to have one of them as a cheaper low range EV. Or you could even own just one of such a car and then rent for your out-of-town trips. (Although I have my doubts Hertz will let me drive a rental clear to Belize and back.) Doing some quick math here, in 15 years I'll have spent an average of around $200 or less per month total (payments, interest, insurance, electricity, tires, brake fluid, etc.) for owning my Leaf. The last vehicle I had before the Leaf used that much per month in just fuel costs. With the $300-$400 per month that I save by owning a Leaf, living in a cool climate, and planning on owning this car for the next 15 years I could easily rent a car for several days out of the month and still come out ahead than if I bought a much more expensive long range EV.
2013 SL 50,000 miles.
12 bars until 44,300 miles on June 2, 2017.
11 bars current.
The Nissan Leaf is the fourth best long distance car for highway driving. >>Best Long Distance Cars<<