Range Anxiety: Tips and Tricks

If you have recently invested in an EV, you will undoubtedly have experienced “range anxiety”. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence. New EV owners are always facing anxiety and worries around the distance their car will let them travel. We have compiled a list of tips and tricks to keep you feeling confident in your range no matter what the situation.

Cold weather affects battery capacity

If you have received your car in the wintertime, you will likely be thinking to yourself

“This range much lower than advertised”

And 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 in the summer, be prepared – the winter will be a shock to the system when it comes to the expected range. We recommend working out what to expect and if you have a large daily commute, ensure that it will be achievable with this lower range. If not, speak to your workplace about having an office charger installed for you and other colleagues who may need the extra charger 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 and with sharp braking, and you do so regularly, the computer in the car remembers this and adjusts your range to match it. This also applies to 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.

If, however, you drive with a focus on conserving the miles, you will see your range go up. If you have noticed your range decrease, we would recommend that you take your car on a long drive from 100% battery for around an hour, driving conservatively, thinking about preserving battery life, you should notice your range will gain a few miles. Just 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 from the remote control car, it’s never been a good thing. That’s because overcharging can damage the batteries health and cause the battery to hold less power than originally advertised. EVs contain built-in battery management software which means, when the battery reaches 80%, the charge will slow down significantly, and when it reaches 100%, it will trickle charge at the same rate as the battery’s ‘self-discharge rate. This maintains a full battery while not damaging the battery by overcharging it.

With this knowledge, you know it is 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 would recommend having a 7kW charger installed on your property and charging overnight every day. Using the OLEV grant, you can save up to £350 on the cost of installation. 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 out of these connections, over 8,000 of them are rapid chargers, these are chargers that will charge a 60kWh car from flat in just over an hour on a 50kW charger to 25 minutes on a 150kW charger. If this doesn’t sound fast enough, there are also 1,500 ultra-rapid chargers, offering up to 350kW charging. This would charge a 60kWh car from 0% in 11 minutes.

For context, there are about 8,385 petrol stations in the UK, with this number decreasing year on year. Whereas the number of charging points is increasing daily, and at a rapid rate.

Using an app like ZapMap, you can find chargers around you, find community updates regarding the condition of a charger (this will prevent you from turning up to an out of service charger), and see the network that charger is operating on.

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 car, van, scooter, or any other vehicle for that matter, it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game between electric and fossil fuel. The most important thing to remember about all of this is that we are nowhere near the peak of EV technology, there are so many benefits to driving an EV from the ease of use, increased safety, and reduced impact on the planet.

Your range anxiety is mostly nothing at all, if you wouldn’t stress about a quarter of a tank of fuel, then there’s no reason to worry about the same on an EV. ICE Vehicles have conditioned us to think about refuelling every week or two and we need to rewire our minds to think about charging from our driveway every 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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