Range anxiety feels like having a safety net removed from under you as you’re walking on a tightrope. If you suffer from it, you’re much less likely to purchase an electric vehicle (EV). But this gut reaction at the prospect of EV ownership is unnecessary. The odds of being stranded on the side of the road are extremely slim. The chances of you falling in love with your new EV and forgetting all about your old gas-powered car, however, are much higher.
How cars are traditionally perceived
Car ownership is a privilege that is fundamentally tied to feelings of independence and freedom. With gas stations being so widespread, drivers of cars with internal combustion engines rarely need to worry about being interrupted for very long during their next epic road trip.
Those who have not deeply considered the implications of owning an EV would naturally feel anxious about making the switch to a car that uses an alternative power system. They may ask where the public charging stations are located, or wonder how reliable EV batteries are. Their biggest fear probably centers on theoretical lack of freedom: will they be able to make an emergency long-distance trip during the odd hour when their electric car is not fully charged?
We can see evidence of these niggling worries crop up in various surveys. One study out of the UK found that 99% of drivers incorrectly guessed how many EV breakdowns were caused by an empty battery. While they figured that two out of every three EVs were sidelined by this issue, the reality is that less than 4% of incidents involve a flat battery. If there is one threat to actually worry about, it’s getting a flat tire – a much more common occurrence that affects all manner of cars.
A 2020 study conducted by AAA also shed light on the prevalence of range anxiety. It showed that 91% of EV owners were worried about things like range, stress during long-distance travel and the availability of charging infrastructure before they got their car. But post purchase, something significant happened: those concerns largely vanished, and nearly all respondents said they would buy an EV again in the future. Why exactly could that be?
EVs are not just for early adopters and hardcore environmentalists anymore. Many EVs can travel around 200 miles on a single charge. In fact, the median range of EVs sold in 2020 is 259 miles – an incredible improvement from 2011, when the median range was just 68 miles.
But is range the most important consideration for day-to-day driving? Before COVID-19, Americans traveled an average of 28 minutes to get to work – well within the range of today’s EVs. But as more people work from home or adopt a hybrid office schedule, that commute becomes less of a factor. Essential trips are likely more prevalent today, and those tend to be quick, local drives that suit EVs perfectly.
The best reason to ignore range anxiety is revealed by another insight from the AAA survey: 75% of the time, EV owners recharge at home. The ability to refuel at home is one of the key ways that EVs offer more convenience over gas-powered cars. It’s important to remember that most vehicles in America are parked at home for more hours than they are being driven on the road. Those idle hours can be spent recharging or even discharging to power your home in the event of a blackout.
So let’s demystify the typical EV charging experience once and for all. Drivers simply plug their car into their EV charger when they return home for the evening. The battery replenishes overnight, and by morning, it’s ready to roll when they are.
If you do fancy a road trip, many apps can help you plan your route and plot the charging stops along the way. Level 3 fast chargers can give your battery a huge boost in just 30 minutes, the ideal amount of time to grab a bite to eat, stretch your legs and feed your wanderlust.
Letting go of range anxiety
It’s normal to have questions when faced with something new. We hope some of your concerns were addressed and that you’re equipped to properly evaluate whether an EV is right for you. The best way to go about this is to be honest about your driving habits, and explore what government subsidies are available to you, which kinds of EV chargers are present in your vicinity and how a home energy station can keep your EV topped up while saving hundreds of dollars on gasoline.
The irony is that while more powerful, faster-charging EV batteries are on the horizon, and perks like wireless charging may be around the corner, most people don’t need to wait for these advances to materialize to make EV ownership worthwhile.