Range Anxiety: Range anxiety is the fear that a vehicle has insufficient range to reach its destination thus stranding the vehicle's occupants.
|Range Anxiety, Gasoline Style!|
Drivers of electric cars are much more susceptible to experiencing range anxiety for a couple reasons:
First, electric cars have a shorter range they can drive before they need to refuel as compared to their gasoline burning counterparts.
Secondly, gasoline stations are everywhere as they have had a hundred years to proliferate whereas there aren't very many electric vehicle public charging stations since modern electric vehicles are just beginning to become available to the public in the past couple years.
Thirdly, gas cars take about ten minutes to refuel, while electric vehicles typically take 4 to 8 hours. However level 3 DC quick charge stations are beginning to be deployed and a complete network of them could really be a game changer. These quick charge stations typically recharge an electric car to 80% capacity in under a half hour.
These three reasons conspire to cause many people to worry if they could live with an EV. Fearing that they will be driving with white knuckles, gripping the steering wheel tightly as they constantly look down at their state of charge meter. I'll admit, when you first get an EV, you do spend some time looking down, running calculations through your head and double checking your remaining range with how far you'll be driving that day. However it doesn't take long to get comfortable with the car's range and soon you find yourself looking less and less at the state of charge and estimated range meters. When the MINI-E program first launched the other MINI-E pioneers and myself all went through it and we conferred and offered tips to each other on how to minimize the chance of running out of juice. After a few months, we rarely talked about it because we all learned how to deal with it, how to maximize our range and how to plan ahead so we wouldn't put ourselves in a position where we could run out before we made our destination.
Now as the ActiveE program begins and a whole batch of new Electronauts are introduced to electric drive for the first time, I'm beginning to see the same questions as I did three years ago when the MINI-E program began. It's kinda cool being the 'elder statesman' now, one person even called me "Sensei" when he asked me a question! Of all the topics about living with an EV, dealing with the 100 mile range is usually the most discussed, and the one that people that don't have much EV experience think they will have the most difficulty with. However once they have their car, and live with it for a few months, the overwhelming majority of people come to terms with the range, get used to it, and stop worrying about it. That's when they really begin to appreciate how great these electric cars really are.