Range Anxiety: 5 Tips For Electric Vehicle Drivers

Range anxiety is the one thing standing between you and the joy of driving an electric vehicle. Scratch that — used to be the one thing.

For those who love to hit the road, there are plenty of reasons to add an electric vehicle or electric motorcycle to your garage lineup — or even ditch gas-powered rides altogether. EVs can save you a fortune at the pump, cut down on time at the repair shop (since things like oil and filter changes and emissions testing are all unnecessary), and, oh yeah, give you a leg up on that whole helping the planet thing.

So what could possibly stop you from making the move from oil to electric? Well, maybe one thing: range anxiety.

What is range anxiety?

Range anxiety is the fear of running out of power when driving an electric vehicle and getting stranded far from a charging station — and it’s no small concern. In a survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association, a shocking (forgive the expression) 71 percent of participants admitted to range anxiety regarding electric vehicles.

Though the average American only drives about 40 miles per day, which is well within the range of most EV’s mileage capabilities, the threat of running out of juice on a longer ride is legit. But that doesn’t have to put the kibosh on your green-riding dreams altogether. Here are a few ways to alleviate your fried nerves and reduce electric vehicle range anxiety once and for all.

5 tips to lower electric vehicle range anxiety

1. Slow down

Just as being a speed demon reduces your mpg in gas-powered rides, going too fast with electric vehicles tends to drain their battery faster than you’d like. Knocking off as few as 10 mph from your velocity can make a significant impact. To improve your electric vehicle range, we suggest allowing a little extra time and carving out some space in the right lane.

2. Scout charging stations with apps

Additional planning can (literally) go a long way. Before you hop in your EVs for a recreational day trip, take a moment to scroll through a few apps to scout out potential charging stations.

Apps like PlugShare and CarStations help you plot your charging stations on a map so you won’t be left frantically searching as your battery power drops toward zero. These apps also feature photos and reviews of charging stations to help you pick the stops that work for you.

3. Keep your EVs in shape

When you don’t have to slog through normal vehicle maintenance, it’s tempting to let the freedom go to your head and leave your electric car or electric motorcycle untended for long stretches.

Remember: just because your electric vehicle is easier to maintain than a traditional one doesn’t mean it’s exempt from upkeep altogether. The better it’s cared for, the better (and farther) it can run on a given trip. Make sure to replace the battery pack when needed, rotate and inflate the tires accordingly, and follow the manual’s maintenance tips.

4. Don’t get lost

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it bears mentioning. If you’re taking an unfamiliar route, don’t forget a map, smartphone, or GPS. Not only does getting lost add miles to your trip, but it may also cause you to become agitated and drive erratically. All those sudden stops and starts can prematurely drain the battery on your electric vehicle

Likewise, reevaluating your driving routines may help you cut down on miles. Is there a faster route to the grocery store? Could you run your errands in a different order to maximize your mileage?

5. Try a plug-in hybrid car or motorcycle

An all-electric vehicle may be the green ideal, but however many earth-conscious kudos a plug-in hybrid robs you of, it’ll repay you tenfold in peace of mind and reduced range anxiety. The beauty of a plug-in hybrid is simple and sweet: you can “fuel” the vehicle on pure electricity, but in case your electric vehicle range isn’t what you thought it’d be when you started your ride, you have a gas engine waiting to kick in.

Bonus tip! Be patient

Since car companies are putting a higher priority on reducing range anxiety, future electric cars will likely start reflecting that. A case in point is the BMW i3, the first-ever electric vehicle from BMW, which is available with an optional backup gas motor as well as the “Add-on Mobility” feature we recently talked about. And it won’t be long before we see even more innovations to help ease drivers into EVs. Check back as we continue to explore the latest offerings.

Related links

Check out our 5 predictions for motorcycles.
Savvy vehicle options don’t stop at the plug. Here are our top reasons to drive hybrid cars.

3 Responses to “Range Anxiety: 5 Tips For Electric Vehicle Drivers”

  1. Josh Edson
    November 4, 2013 #

    Replace Your Battery Pack when Necessary? What? One does not Simply 'Replace" a Battery Pack.

  2. Joshua Hernandez
    November 11, 2013 #

    Let's put some CHAdeMO stations up and down IH-10!! WOOOOOO!!

  3. Margaret hansen
    November 12, 2013 #

    Please add stations to the state of Connecticut. Hard to max trip between New York and CT.

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