Eliminating Range Anxiety

November 7, 2022

Be Pre­pared.

The Scouts mot­to can be applied in so many areas of life, maybe most impor­tant­ly with trav­el­ing or the unex­pect­ed in emer­gency. Fac­ing emer­gen­cies with an elec­tric car is often an adjust­ment com­pared to a gas car. True, there are not real­ly any alter­na­tives for an EV such as a jer­ry can of gas, but there are strate­gies that can come to your aid in a low charge expe­ri­ence with an EV.

First of all, a dri­ver can make changes to max­i­mize a low state of charge in an EV. Speed is the num­ber one thing to mon­i­tor. Hav­ing a lead foot is the fastest way to drain a bat­tery! Strain­ing the elec­trons to move that heavy vehi­cle faster than high­way lim­its eats more pow­er than any­thing else you could do. Sim­ply going 5 miles under the high­way lim­it can extend your range by 10% or more in most cas­es. And the real­i­ty is, speed­ing only shaves 5 to 10 min­utes of dri­ve time at best. If you know your trip has a long dis­tance between charg­ers, start­ing your trip going 10 mph under the lim­it for the first 20 min­utes will pro­vide you with a very com­fort­able buffer.

A prac­ti­cal way to tack­le range anx­i­ety is to exper­i­ment. Find an after­noon that you can go for a short road trip. Dri­ve in an area that you know has access to charg­ing and dri­ve until your car reach­es zero. Know­ing how your car han­dles 0%, what the alerts will be, and what the pow­er dynam­ics feel like can give you the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence for when you do come close to an emp­ty bat­tery on a trip. Most automak­ers pro­vide 3–5kwh of buffer past 0%. Get­ting to know that lim­it will help you tack­le anx­i­ety on a real trip. I’m always com­fort­able now arriv­ing at a charg­ing sta­tion with 5% or less because I know from expe­ri­ence how far it real­ly takes to get to 0%.

That said, even the best strate­gies only go so far. If you do run out of bat­tery, pull over. Use apps such as Plugshare or Charge­point to locate charg­ers suit­able for your car near­by and call for a tow. Often, if with­in war­ran­ty, you can call the man­u­fac­tur­er of your EV and they will assist in find­ing you a tow to the near­est charg­er. AAA also now offers plans for EV dri­vers for low charge emergencies.

Ulti­mate­ly, EV’s have more options than gas alter­na­tives. A sim­ple out­let can give the aver­age EV 4–6 miles of range in an hour of charg­ing. Camp­sites, KOA’s, hotel park­ing lots, and shop­ping cen­ters often have out­door out­lets for hol­i­day lights and dec­o­ra­tions. Ask the store own­er per­mis­sion and use your mobile charg­er to plug in. An hour and half of charg­ing on a reg­u­lar out­let could get you enough charge to make the near­est charg­ing sta­tion in a real pinch.

No one pur­chas­ing an EV intends to also car­ry around a gas gen­er­a­tor to make sure you nev­er run out of charge. You won’t be walk­ing the side of the high­way with an emp­ty gas can to get a 0% EV up and going, but with pre­pared­ness and plan­ning, most own­ers may nev­er even see a 5% state of charge in their car. How­ev­er, if you do, know that there are many strate­gies to use those last elec­trons to get you to safety.

Writ­ten by Vol­un­teer EV Coach Ben Westby

Recent Posts

Electric Bike Grant Opportunities

The State of Colorado is offering two e-bike grants: one for local and Tribal governments to offer e-bike rebates, and one for local government, nonprofits, and tribal governments to fund e-bike deployment projects. Learn more here: Local Government Community E-Bike...

Quarterly EVs on the Road in Colorado

Quarterly EVs on the Road in Colorado

Drive Electric Colorado presents a Quarterly EVs in Colorado report. Using data from the Colorado Energy Office’s EV Dashboard and the Alternative Fueling Station Locator from the Department of Energy, below is the most current and accurate sales data for EVs and...

[/et_pb_column]

Take the pledge to make your next car electric!