Electric car popularity has continued to grow. So much so that electric cars are now almost just as common as their combustion-powered siblings. With so many advancements taking place since their launch, electric cars are now viewed as being just as reliable, if not more so than the vehicles they’re looking to replace.

This advancement hasn’t been without its concerns, though. Early electric cars were much less capable than those available at the moment. These shaky beginnings resulted in a tarnished image for these objectively more advanced vehicles, with concerns only now beginning to alleviate.

So, what is range anxiety, where did it come from, and is it still a valid concern? Find out as we take a deep dive into the world of range anxiety, here.

what is range anxiety?

In the beginning, manufacturers were lucky to squeeze as much as 60 miles per charge out of their new-fangled electric cars. Despite advances in aerodynamics, tyre technology and even a modernised road network, early electric cars certainly struggled to travel as far as drivers would have liked, and charging points were not widely available.

Considering that petrol and diesel cars could (and still can) cover as much as 400 miles on a full tank, the difference was enough to cause consumers to brand electric cars as a suboptimal alternative.

Of those few early adopters that did choose an electric car, many then began to suffer from this constant worry about the remaining range per each journey. Commonly referred to as ‘range anxiety’, these drivers were placed in a near constant state of worry when it came to battery charge, fearing that they’d become stranded with a flat battery.

is range anxiety still a concern?

Thankfully, electric cars have improved a lot since these early models, and charging points are much more readily available. Not only do new electric cars now share common, practical physical characteristics, battery technology has come on leaps and bounds.

Advanced diagnostic tools and more refined manufacturing processes has meant that individual cells can now hold even greater charging capacities. This greater capacity has not only improved the overall range of electric cars, but has also served to make them much more long lasting.

For example, a first-generation Renault ZOE was capable of achieving approximately 63 miles on a full charge, whereas recent models promise anywhere from 183-220 miles of range. While this does heavily depend on driving styles and road conditions, this is roughly a 3x increase in overall range in just 8 short years.

All of this means that, objectively, range anxiety is a needless concern for EV owners. However, that doesn’t stop some drivers from continuing to deliberate over how far they can drive.

how to deal with range anxiety

If you’re a die-hard electric vehicle (EV) fan, you’ll have experienced all the peaks and troughs of daily driving, including range anxiety. It’s a tricky belief to shake, but we’re here to help:

1. use charge map apps

In addition to the premature nature of electric vehicles themselves, back in the day, finding a place to charge your new electric car was quite difficult. Not only would you need to find a charging spot (of which were very few and far between), you would then need to ensure that they are outfitted with charging equipment suitable for your car, and even figure out a way of paying.

These days, thanks to an effort from both the electric vehicle community, as well as charging station providers, there are many apps that electric car owners can use to find where they can get their next charging fix; a must have for any EV owner.

2. charge consistently

This goes without saying, but the number one way to ensure your car is prepared for a long journey is to make sure that it is reliably charged. The best way of doing this is to arrange a reliable charging schedule. Thankfully, many modern EVs have enhanced connectivity options, allowing them to be synchronised with your smartphone, and accompanying apps.

These apps will often allow users to set predefined charging schedules, often coinciding with cheaper electricity tariffs. Not only can this result in a cheaper overall charge, but it ensures that your car is always ready to go no matter the time of day.

3. plan your routes

If you’re going on a particularly long journey, especially to somewhere you’ve never travelled before, planning your route is an essential part of EV ownership. Simply heading out with no plan in place can make it difficult to account for natural stops in your journey, giving little room for time to charge (or even locate a charger to begin with).

Whether you plan it using your car’s built-in GPS, or by using your phone, having a greater idea of the facilities available to you can make for better decision-making on the open road, leaving less room for those range anxieties to creep in.

4. brake cautiously

To restore and repurpose as much lost energy as possible, every EV produced throughout the world comes equipped with regenerative breaking. Regenerative breaks serve to capture the otherwise lost kinetic energy that’s generated by braking procedures, reusing that energy to restore a small amount of charge to the motor.

Not all regenerative braking systems are the same, with some providing the ability to tweak their strength, therefore restoring more energy, or providing a more balanced braking system.

Regenerative braking will never generate enough power to completely recharge the batteries, but reusing otherwise lost energy is a nice option to have, especially for those still driving earlier models of electric cars with less range. If your car gives you options on its regenerative braking, turn it up to the max to restore as much power as possible.

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