How to Deal with Range Anxiety and Drive More Sustainably

Electric cars have taken off in recent years, and with state and federal grants available for purchase, tax credits and more, there is plenty gunning for purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) right now.

However, a barrier to uptake, especially those not living in city centers, is range anxiety. While there are over 46,000 publicly available charging points across the USA, according to the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, many EV drivers are worried about running out of charge mid journey, and not being able to get home, hence the term ‘range anxiety.’

electric vehicle driving across country and possibly causing range anxiety

By Kitty Bates

Why is range anxiety a thing?

In smaller countries, where the distance between charging points is often no more than 30 kilometers or so, electric car range anxiety is less of a worry, as there’s a charging point that you can easily be towed to.

However, in larger countries like the US, if you’re off a main highway or out of a city center, there can often be miles between public chargers. With approximately one EV charger per 213km2, and the average range of an electric vehicle being 291km, there is some cause for anxiety.

As electric cars require a change in our approach to road trips and journeying, it’s important that any EV driver sees an EV as a new way to drive, and doesn’t look at it as a combustion engine that needs charging.

Saying all of this, with careful trip planning and a bit of forethought, you can eliminate range anxiety at its core.

How to eliminate range anxiety

There’s many easy ways to eliminate range anxiety, from planning convenient stops, to staying at hotels with charging points.

Plan your journey

When driving an EV, planning a journey is essential. Aside from your destination and start point, you should aim to plan a stop every 200km or so to allow for a recharge.

The US government provides a map with every stop, that also comes with a route planner. This way, you can plan your rote with stops in place, allowing for a stress-free journey.

Loading alternative fueling station locator…

Things to consider when planning a journey

  1. The charge you’ll have when leaving home. Most people should charge to 90% overnight anyway.
  2. Whether the charger is a fast charger (Level 3) or a slower charger (Level 2). This will drastically affect the time of charging.
  3. The chargers available at the station, and whether they’re compatible with your vehicle. A Tesla Supercharger station is often only able to be used by Tesla cars, and won’t be compatible with standard EVs/ have a charger available for them.
  4. The road type you go on, as a route with slow and fast speed limits will reduce the efficiency you get from the car.

Choose hotels with EV chargers

Most modern and chain hotels now offer EV overnight charging, either complementary or for a heavily subsidized fee. This means that you can drive through the day, rest well at night while your car charges.

There’s a fantastic app called EVHotels, which highlights hotels across the world with charging points, and shows you all the details about the requirement to charge them.

How to increase the range of your EV

While driving an EV, there is often many ways to increase the range. While some tactics are similar to hypermiling, others are EV specific.

Regularly service your EV

By booking in services, you can ensure the car is working mechanically as it should and prepare your car for any journey it needs.

Never charge to full every time

By charging to 80%, you reduce the battery degradation rate and ensure that when the car is charged to full, you can maximize the amount of charge the car holds. It also reduces the heat the batteries get to, meaning that the car battery degrades slower.

Fit regenerative braking

Whether as an aftermarket EV modification, or as part of the cars original specification, regenerative braking takes some of the power lost through braking and converts it into battery power. It can be a simple way to extend the range of your EV.

electric vehicle plugged in

Will range anxiety be a thing of the past soon?

As countries develop, and infrastructure continues to grow and change, as well as car batteries becoming more readily advanced throughout the years, range anxiety as a concept, may soon be a thing of the past.

With more and more money being plumbed into infrastructure upgrades, both in the US and across the world, and grants available to implement car charging points, we could soon live in a world where range anxiety becomes a fear that is no longer needed.

About the Author

Kitty Bates is a Consumer Spokesperson for Keith Michaels, a leading specialist in insurance for modified cars, EVs and convicted drivers, that works with consumers to lower their car insurance prices.