Is range anxiety a true barrier to EV adoption? If so, is range anxiety technical, mental, or both? Does range anxiety decrease with experience or not?
We answer all of that in this brief guide.
What is range anxiety?
Range anxiety is the fear that an electric vehicle will run out of power before reaching a charging station, leaving the driver stranded and unable to reach his destination.
Let’s dive in together and discover the symptoms, the causes, and explore a few tips on how can you overcome your range anxiety.
Is electric vehicle range anxiety real?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Range anxiety continues to be a major concern for both potential electric drivers and those who already own one. It still troubles many electric vehicle enthusiasts despite the improved range of electric vehicles and the continual increase in the number of physical charge points.
What are the symptoms of range anxiety?
For most people driving a regular petrol car is a day-to-day routine and sometimes a way to relax themselves driving maybe a few miles more.
But can we say the same about the drives with electric vehicles?
Can you drive a few miles more just because you want or you will have a sudden panic arising like do I have enough power? What will happen if my vehicle suddenly stops in the middle of nowhere?
Or your day was already tough enough and you forgot to charge your car.
The vehicle that Is primarily made to be a helpful tool throughout your day and enjoyment is becoming a regular daily stressor.
Range anxiety feels different for everyone. You might experience some of the physical and mental effects listed below:
- a churning feeling in your stomach
- feeling restless or unable to sit still while driving
- faster breathing
- a fast, thumping, or irregular heartbeat
- sweating or hot flushes
- grinding your teeth while driving
- feeling tense, nervous, or unable to relax
- thinking a lot about bad experiences, or thinking over a situation again and again
What causes range anxiety?
One of the main factors that can trigger range anxiety is technical (concern or fear that they might run out of power and not reach their destination during a trip) and the second triggering factor can be mental (your personality structure and your most dominant personality traits).
As a person, if you tend to be more worried about random things than your friends, logically, the intensity of the range anxiety will be bigger for you.
These are some of the other main factors that contribute to range anxiety.
Electric vehicle range
What mileage an electric vehicle will cover between charges mainly depends on the battery it runs on.
One thing is for sure – electric vehicles have a way greater range than they did several years ago. Their ranges are often so big that having range anxiety is oftentimes unreasonable.
This is so no matter if you’re going on a short or long trip.
Additionally, a lot of electric vehicles available on the market are currently in the phase of improving their range to beat the competition, which increases the general range of electric vehicles even further.
Access to charging points
Compared to ICE drivers, electric vehicle drivers are more likely to struggle with range anxiety since public charging points aren’t as prevalent as gas stations.
However, in many countries in the US and Europe, the charging infrastructure has started to improve very quickly in recent years. Many new charging points are being set up on roads to ensure electric vehicle drivers have unlimited access to electricity.
Additionally, electric vehicle drivers can charge their vehicles at home overnight and at work, too (provided that they have level 2 charging there, which will allow them to travel larger distances during the day or the next one).
Lack of electric vehicle roaming services
Electric vehicle roaming can greatly improve electric vehicle drivers’ experience as it allows them to charge their vehicles at charging stations from E-Mobility service providers across locations, regions, and borders when they need to do this while on the road.
These charging points are found in locations not covered by an electric vehicle driver’s home charging service provider’s network.
However, the problem is that not many providers offer electric vehicle drivers this flexibility. This means that when charging stations are closed or not prevalent, electric vehicle drivers will have trouble finding a charging point where they can charge their vehicles, which, in turn, can contribute to or even increase their range anxiety.
Range anxiety prevention
Here are a few helpful tips on how to reduce your range anxiety.
Buy an electric vehicle with a higher range than you believe you need
Let’s say you often visit your friends who live 200 miles away from you. In this case, getting yourself an electric vehicle that goes 250 miles between charges will do the trick. If you have some extra money to spend, get one that can go 300 miles.
Such a vehicle will help keep your mind at peace as it will give you flexibility in many different situations, such as:
- if there’s road construction or an accident and you need to take a detour
- when the weather is freezing
- if there’s extra weight put on your vehicle
Plan your drive
Planning things out and checking where there are available charging stations can make your trip stress-free when you’re far from home.
Although a lot of electric vehicles provide automatic route planning, I still recommend that you check where you need to stop and charge your electric vehicle before taking a trip as well as during it.
Using apps such as A Better Routeplanner, EV Connect Driver app, and Zap-Map is a great way to drive your electric vehicle without worrying and keep your mind at ease. These apps will help you find the charge points you need easily.
Additionally, you can also use apps such as Plug Share to check if a charging point is working or not.
Always be prepared
Before making a long trip, make sure your electric vehicle is fully charged. Additionally, see if there are available charging stations or home charging at your final destination to charge your electric vehicle before you hit the road to get back home.
Charge your electric vehicle whenever you have the chance during your trip
Be it a toilet or coffee break, use any opportunity to charge your electric vehicle during your trip.
Install a charging station at home
If you can afford to install a home charging station, don’t hesitate to do that as soon as possible. Charging your electric vehicle every night before going to bed will keep you from experiencing range anxiety. Moreover, it means you won’t need to hunt for charge points the next day.
Keep in mind that lower temperatures equal a lower range
Cold weather greatly affects batteries in electric vehicles. So, always keep in mind that you won’t be able to drive your electric vehicle as far as you’d want when it’s cold.
But there’s a solution to this problem and that is getting yourself an electric vehicle that comes with heat pumps. Driving this type of electric vehicle in cold temperatures is a good way to combat range anxiety, as it prevents the vehicle’s range from decreasing between charges.
Get an electric vehicle that provides scheduled departure times
Not only can getting such an electric vehicle help you avoid range anxiety, but it can also make your entire trip more enjoyable, especially during cold weather.
All you need to do is keep your electric vehicle in a garage and use the scheduled departure time feature. For example, if you typically leave for work at 7 a.m. every day, you can use this feature and have the battery warmed up and the climate system or seat heater set to your desire.
The good thing is that your electric vehicle won’t drain its battery since it will do all of the things mentioned above by using electricity from your house. This leads to an improved range efficiency.
Is electric vehicle range anxiety warranted?
It’s not surprising that some electric vehicle drivers experience range anxiety, especially when they’re newbies. Moreover, according to one survey carried out by the American Automobile Association (AAA) in 2022, range anxiety was considered one of the main reasons why people were unlikely to purchase an electric vehicle.
Additionally, one study has found that experienced electric vehicle drivers feel range anxiety less than inexperienced ones.
The more practical experience you have with electric vehicles, the less you’ll worry that you might run out of power and end up stranded somewhere.
Why should range anxiety not be a problem?
Maybe you’re a new electric vehicle driver and your vehicle’s range concerns you.
Or maybe you’re considering buying an electric vehicle, but range anxiety keeps preventing you from that.
Let’s go over a few reasons why range anxiety shouldn’t concern you.
Electric vehicles have a sufficient range
Most electric vehicle owners or those considering buying an electric vehicle struggle with range anxiety as they don’t believe the range of electric vehicles is enough for them to arrive at a certain destination. But is this really so?
Electric vehicles had a much shorter range 10 to 15 years ago compared to those produced today.
However, considering the stats presented in one study, which shows that the average American citizen travels 39 miles per day and that electric vehicles have an average range of 200 to 300 miles, we can clearly see that range anxiety shouldn’t really be an issue anymore.
Moreover, even the range of the Nissan LEAF introduced in 2010 would be enough for most to satisfy their everyday commuting needs, such as going to and back from work, seeing friends, or making a trip to the shops.
The number of charging stations is growing globally
Electric vehicle charging stations weren’t that common several years ago, but today they can be found in many locations. Public charging stations, workplaces, roadways, highways, and some parking lots are all places where these charging points exist.
Moreover, to keep up with the increased demand for electric vehicles, governments from all over the world continue to increase the charging network.
You can charge your electric vehicle while it’s parked
Charging an electric vehicle definitely can’t be compared to filling up an ICE vehicle. For example, to fill up a combustion car, you need to go to a gas station, but this isn’t something you need to do when you own an electric vehicle.
The only thing you’re required to do is to get an electric vehicle charger installed in your yard, e.g., your driveway or garage, and you can charge your electric vehicle at home. Charging a vehicle couldn’t get more convenient than this, could it?
An electric vehicle battery lasts longer than you may think
Not only are electric vehicle batteries bigger than they used to be, but they also last around 10 to 20 years. If you purchase an electric vehicle with a 150-mile range, after 5 years of driving, just 17 miles of the entire battery range will be lost.
Moreover, many electric vehicle battery manufacturers provide a 5-to-10-year warranty on their batteries.
Electric vehicles and their range
Let’s briefly talk about the range of electric vehicles. This will help people understand why range anxiety is often unfounded.
Check out Julia’s video and her thoughts about range anxiety while driving an Audi E-Tron 55.
What is the average range for electric vehicles?
The considerable improvement in lithium-ion batteries has led to a rise in the range of electric vehicles. For example, today there are a lot of electric vehicles available that can travel between 200 and 300 miles on a single charge. Some of these models include:
- Tesla Model Y
- Tesla Model 3
- Audi e-tron
- Ford F-150 Lightning
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Volkswagen ID.4
Of course, the range of the vehicles mentioned above will be affected by driving conditions. However, they’ll be able to complete a higher range than older electric vehicle models.