25th May 2023
Overcoming range anxiety: Tips and tricks for worry-free driving
Electric vehicles are set to be instrumental in the shared ambition to reach the coveted target of net zero. However, the widespread adoption of EVs is being held back by one main blocker – range anxiety.
Range anxiety can be defined as the feeling of panic that sets in when your electric vehicle’s battery is running low and you’re not sure if you’ll make it to the nearest charging station. It’s a common fear for those considering purchasing an EV, and you’re not alone! But fear not – it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s look at the issue in further detail, alongside looking at what’s on the agenda to eradicate the fear and how EV drivers can tackle the problem and enjoy days of worry-free driving.
What is range anxiety?
Other than the initial cost of purchasing an EV, range anxiety is considered to be one of the main barriers preventing the EV revolution. It’s the fear of not having enough battery charge on your electric vehicle to reach your destination, leaving you stranded at the side of the road with not enough power to get home.
What is range anxiety?
The fear of running on empty mainly comes into play when drivers are considering long-distance travel. While there are more charging stations available now than ever before, with charging infrastructure increasing by 37% from April 2022 to April 2023, the density of devices varies tremendously depending on your location.
For instance, some areas will have a solid network of charging stations with fast chargers, like on the motorway where service stations are in abundance. However, some areas may have extremely limited options with slow chargers that will take (what feels like) an age to fill up. Imagine you’re driving down a long, winding country road and suddenly…you come to a screeching halt – not ideal.
What’s being done to solve range anxiety?
Fortunately for electric vehicle owners and those considering buying an EV, it looks like governments, automakers and EV charging companies are all working hard to achieve one shared ambition: eradicating EV range anxiety.
By addressing the country’s lack of electric charging infrastructure and enhancing charging technologies, alongside making it more attractive for drivers to shift over to electric, the low battery panic will soon be a distant memory.
Improving EV charging infrastructure
The UK government is investing heavily into the country’s electric charging infrastructure, with a £950 million rapid charging fund to future-proof our motorways and major A road service area operators. That way, we can get ahead and prepare for our vehicles to be purely powered by electricity.
Similarly, charging companies are working hard to tackle the fears surrounding driving an ev. For instance, Elli – a Volkswagen subsidiary group dedicated to meeting the charging needs of EV owners across Europe. As we speak, Elli has managed to add around 500,000 charging devices across the continent.
Incentives for EV ownership
Similarly, the UK government is offering incentives for those considering the switch, such as grants on at-home wallbox installation. Electric vehicles are expensive upfront (though the petrol savings will pay off in the long-run), so any discounts will be welcomed by new EV drivers with open arms. Incentives like the OZEV grant, which can provide funding up to 75% towards the cost of wallbox installation, are in place to help make sustainability more affordable and accessible.
And, not only does this save money, it also works to solve EV anxiety, too. With a wallbox installed at home, drivers can have peace of mind that they can pull up at home, plug in and drive off in the morning knowing the tank is full and topped up.
Improving battery technology
Battery technology is constantly evolving, and many governments and private companies are investing heavily in research and development to improve battery life and charging times. Volkswagen Group, alongside many other brands are set to be key drivers in the electric vehicle revolution.
Looking to expedite their manufacturing processes to ensure driving electric is as smooth and seamless as can be, VW Group has an estimated $193 billion spend for the EV part of their business.
Plans are in place for VW to allocate a large proportion of this budget towards enhancing their electric vehicle batteries and softwares. As a result, making electric vehicle more practical for longer trips and reducing EV anxiety as a whole.
How can EV drivers combat range anxiety?
Combatting the fears shouldn’t be too tricky with a little bit of organisation. Do your research, plan ahead and avoid any unexpected surprises. That way, you can zip past the petrol station with confidence – no fear or fuss necessary. Here’s our top tips:
Plan your trips like a pro
One of the best ways to combat the problem is to plan your trips ahead of time. Some areas have a robust network of charging stations, while others may have limited options with a long wait time.
Use trip planning tools, like our handy interactive map, to quickly pinpoint your nearest electric charging point.
Similarly, downloading an EV app – like the Elli charging app – can help you know your charging infrastructure and improve your confidence when driving an EV. That way, you can map out your route and identify charging stations along the way to ensure you can road trip with ease.
How do you overcome range anxiety?
Invest in a home charging station
Installing a home charging station is a game-changer for EV owners. Not only does it give you the convenience of charging your vehicle at home, but it also eliminates the need to seek out public charging stations – which can be a huge source of anxiety for many EV owners.
Going back to our earlier point, make sure to check out if you’re eligible for any government incentives, like the OZEV scheme, to save a few pennies on the installation of your charging point at home.
Get to know your EV’s range
Understanding your EV’s range is key to overcoming the problem. Take the time to get to know your vehicle’s range and plan your trips around that. Remember, your range can vary depending on driving conditions, so be sure to factor that into your trip planning.
Take advantage of regenerative braking
Regenerative braking is a fancy term for the process of capturing energy from the brakes and using it to recharge the battery. Many EVs have regenerative braking systems that can help extend your battery range and keep your vehicle on the move for longer.
So, not only are you being eco-friendly by driving an EV, but you’re also being eco-friendly by capturing energy that would otherwise be lost during braking. Win-win!
Drive, and charge, efficiently
Be prepared. Though it sounds obvious, it can often be overlooked. Ensure your EV is fully charged overnight before a long journey, and do your research to check out if your destination is capable of public or home charging. Essentially, it’s about charging when stopped, rather than stopping to charge. Be efficient with your time.
Should I charge my electric car overnight?
Is it okay to leave my EV plugged in overnight?
Monitor your battery level along the road and stop off at charging points as you need. The general advice is to not let your charge get below 20%. That way, you can keep your battery’s health in tip-top condition and sustain your EV’s battery life for years to come, helping to eliminate charge anxiety from your life.
Is range anxiety a problem of the past?
It’s safe to say that range anxiety is still a very prevalent fear, but misconceptions are decreasing as we speak. While public charging infrastructure may be lagging behind in some areas, things are definitely getting better.
It’s important to remember that almost 99% of all car journeys are well under 100 miles (the national average is around 8.4 miles!), and every single electric vehicle available today has more than enough range to tackle these trips on limited charge.
Range anxiety doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker for EV drivers. With the right planning, infrastructure and mindset, you can enjoy worry-free driving and explore new destinations with your EV.