Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety: Tips and Tricks

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Ev charger socket in a car

Most people experience what we call range anxiety especially if they are new to electric vehicle ownership!

Here’s a quick list of tips and tricks that should help:

  • Drive slower (we know you don’t want to but it will help, trust us!)
  • Use apps like Zap Map to find EV charging stations on your route
  • Invest in a home charger (we can help with that)
  • Use the vehicles regenerative braking system
  • Pack less (less weight means more range)

Do you have Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety?

We are going to look at the tips and tricks you can use to combat range anxiety in electric vehicles in more detail.

If you have recently bought yourself a new electric car you might be experiencing what we call “range anxiety”. Well, don’t worry you aren’t alone, more and more EV owners are facing anxiety and worry about the distance their car will let them travel.

Cold weather affects battery capacity

If you received your car during winter, you will likely be thinking to yourself:

“The range is much lower than advertised”

Well, that’s because it is! An EV will claim it has up to 40% fewer miles than you would expect. As the battery heater starts to work, this range will increase because the battery is warming up to a more workable temperature.

If you received your car during summer, be prepared – winter will be a shock to the system when it comes to the expected range. We recommend working out what to expect. If you have a large daily commute, ensure that it will be achievable with a lower range. If not, you could speak to your workplace about getting an office charger installed for the workplace. This would help those who may need the extra charge throughout the day.

Your driving style will impact the suggested range

EV’s are clever, if you drive your car quickly, with big boosts of acceleration combined with sharp braking regularly, the computer will remember and adjust your range to match. This also applies if you only do short 5-10 minute journeys, the range will decrease as the computer isn’t given a chance to work out what a warm battery would operate like for over 30 minutes.

However, if you drive with a focus on conserving miles, you will see your range go up. If you notice your range decreasing, we would recommend you take your car on a long drive with 100% battery for around an hour, driving conservatively, thinking about preserving battery life, you should then notice your range will go up. Always remember if you return to driving uneconomically, your range will decrease faster than the car is telling you.

You can’t overcharge your EV battery

We have always been taught not to overcharge our batteries, whether that’s on your camera, or your rechargeable double A’s, it’s never been a good thing. That’s because overcharging can damage a battery’s health and cause it to hold less power than originally advertised. EVs contain built-in battery management software, meaning that when the battery reaches 80%, the charge will slow down significantly, and when it reaches 100%, it will trickle a charge at the same rate as the battery’s own self-discharge rate. This maintains a full battery without damaging it by overcharging.

With this knowledge, you know it’s safe to charge your car overnight. Using a ‘7kW home charger’ your car will be fully charged within 8 or so hours (based on a 60kWh battery), this means you will wake up with 100% power no matter where you are. A great benefit to using a home charger is that you can take advantage of some amazing tariffs offered by energy providers, for example, octopus energy offers great off-peak rates, which allow you to charge your vehicle overnight for extremely low prices.
We recommend having a 7kW charger installed on your property and charging overnight daily. Contact us now to find out more about home EV charging.

You drive less than you think

A lot of people will look at ‘150 miles’ and think that’s not enough and the anxiety will set in. Well, the average person drives 37 miles per day, so even if you had to drive 4 times the amount you’d normally drive in a day, you’d still have a bit of juice left.

The main thing to remember is that if you’re plugged in overnight, every night, unlike standard ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles that require a trip to a petrol station, you’re on 100% every single day. Every morning you have a range of 150 miles without even thinking.

“But I want to travel further, I’m going on a road trip”

If you’re planning to be travel beyond your range, that’s a good enough reason to have range anxiety, right?

Well, no, across the UK (as of Jan 2021) there are 36,578 charging connections. That’s a lot of connections. And of these connections, over 8,000 of them are rapid chargers. These can charge a 60kWh car from flat in just over an hour on a 50kW charger. A 150kw charger could charge the same battery in 25 minutes! If this isn’t fast enough, there are 1,500 ultra-rapid chargers currently in the UK, offering up to 350kW charging. This can charge a 60kWh battery from 0% in only 11 minutes.

We’re going to put this in to context and tell you there are about 8,385 petrol stations in the UK, but this number is decreasing year on year. Whereas the number of electric vehicle charging points is increasing daily, and at a rapid rate.

If you want to find any of these charging stations you can use apps like ZapMap and Project EV.

Ranges are getting better year on year

In 2014, the Nissan Leaf had a range of 84 miles on a single charge. By 2018 it could go 151 miles and in 2021 it can reach up to 226 miles in range. The more technology manufacturers put into EV’s, the bigger the advancements. Range anxiety is a problem we face now, but this won’t always be the case, improvements are being made to battery technology which will change the way EV’s work, their reduced size will allow for more power to be put into any given vehicle, allowing for increased rage.

Manufacturers have been known to release software updates to vehicles that are already on the road, these updates can add a couple of miles to the range here and there, their most recent update adding 15+ miles to some users cars – this all adds up!

Our final thoughts

When it comes to your electric vehicle, it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game between electric and fossil fuel. The most important thing to remember is we are nowhere near the peak of EV technology with new advances being made daily! There are also so many benefits to driving an EV from the ease of use, increased safety, and reduced impact on the planet.

Range anxiety is nothing, you wouldn’t stress about having a quarter tank of fuel, so why worry about the same with an EV? Fossil fuel vehicles conditioned us to think about refuelling every week or two, we just need to think about plugging our car in each night instead. In an EV, you can wake up every single day with a full charge, which is not only really satisfying but also extremely convenient.

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