Range anxiety is what an electric vehicle (EV) driver feels when the battery charge is low, and the usual sources of electricity are unavailable. It sparks a fear of getting stranded somewhere, which adds time, inconvenience, and stress to a journey. Studies show that driving range and a lack of charging infrastructure are the primary reasons people do not consider EVs when buying a new vehicle.
Typically, range anxiety results when life throws an EV owner an unexpected curveball and alters the daily routine. Here is an example. Someone asks you to go somewhere or do something at the last minute, but you didn’t fully charge your EV the night before. Now, depending on where you need to go and what you need to do, you might also need to find an open charging station, take the time to recharge your battery, and then tackle your task. If the task can’t wait, you’re left hoping that you’ll have enough charge to accomplish it and then find a charging station before you’re left stranded on the side of the road.
You can feel range anxiety while driving a gasoline-engine vehicle, too. It happens when you let your fuel level drop too low, and you can’t find a gas station. If you’ve ever run a car out of gas, you know the feeling of dread as the engine sputters to a stop and you coast to the shoulder of the road. Of course, the difference is that finding a gas station remains easier than finding a charging station.
A tsunami of electric vehicles (EVs) is coming soon, whether consumers want them or not. Most are priced high and aimed at luxury car buyers who are technologically savvy and own a home where they can install a convenient charging station. When they’re away from home, these EV owners are comfortable using smartphone apps to find open charging stations and payment apps to pay for electricity. And Tesla owners can use the automaker’s exclusive national Supercharger network, which provides fast, convenient charging from Westchester County to West Yellowstone, Montana.
Still, even for the earliest of adopters and wealthiest of EV drivers, range anxiety can be a problem. If you’re interested in getting an electric car, but you’re worried about range anxiety or finding open public charging stations, consider these ways of reducing the perceived stress of owning an EV.