This may not be a familiar term for you, but if you or someone you know owns or is interested in an electric vehicle, you know what I’m talking about. It is the fear that you will run out of “juice” before you reach a point to charge your vehicle. And in my experience so far, it is one of the most significant barriers to entry for EV ownership that people talk about.
I certainly felt “range anxiety” when I first started driving the Nolin EV for my regular business travel needs. This played out mostly in my habit of keeping the car fully charged even when I had ample miles left for what I anticipated traveling that week. I also found myself watching the distance to “empty” closely.
This anxiety has lessened as I have become more accustomed to using the vehicle. It didn’t take long, honestly. One of the factors that has helped to reduce my anxiety was the realization of how many miles I actually drive in a given week or even when I’m going a longer distance vs the range the car is estimating at any given time. For example, this past week, the car was driven (by myself and other coworkers) around 115 miles. That’s actually a bit more than typical for a week for me. I never needed to charge the vehicle this week and still have plenty left for what I anticipate driving next week. That perspective helps reduce range anxiety for me.
Other Nolin employees who have driven the car have experienced this range anxiety as well. Two of my coworkers took the vehicle to East Kentucky Power Cooperative for a meeting recently. They started the 108 mile trip to EKPC (charged 100% and 272 mile estimated range) with this anxiety and it was heightened when they encountered a wreck and significant traffic issues on the way. They had to take a detour to reach their destination. They reached their destination with 63% charge and 173 mile estimated range.
While this would have allowed them enough charge for the return trip to the office, they took advantage of having a free, open charger to use during their meeting. They were able to make the return trip home with no difficulties and with plenty of charge to spare.
Range anxiety, and the questions it produces, has certainly been one of the more common themes of my discussions regarding my experience of the EV so far.
I don’t expect that will change any time soon.