Last updated on June 7, 2022
Many potential electric vehicle (EV) drivers suffer from range anxiety—the fear that their car’s battery will die on them mid-trip. The truth is that scenario is not very likely to happen.
Sure, if you drive far enough without charging, your car will eventually die. However, that same principle applies to any car that runs on gas.
So, why is this any different? What is range anxiety? Is it warranted? And, are today's electric cars as reliable as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles?
This article is written to answer those questions and to ease your mind by presenting five clear reasons why having range anxiety is probably unnecessary.
What is range anxiety?
Range anxiety is the fear of driving an electric vehicle and running out of power, without being able to find a charging station on time to replenish the battery.
According to our research, approximately 30 percent of potential EV drivers today feel uncertain about being able to charge their vehicle when they need to.
Is EV range anxiety warranted?
The fear of running out of juice is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to greater EV adoption but has as much to do with psychology as it does with the actual range of EVs (or the availability of charging stations).
While this still depends on where you live, around 4 out of 10 EV drivers of current EV drivers don’t encounter any problems at all when it comes to charging their vehicle, and 79 percent of current EV drivers stated that they would buy an electric car again in the future.
So, what do they know that you may not?
5 facts about electric cars and electric vehicle range
Owning or even driving an electric car is—for many—a completely new experience, and like any new experience, it can be a bit scary at first. If you are worried about range anxiety, these five must-know facts will help put your mind at ease.
1. EV charging is nothing like getting gas
Switching to electric mobility is not just about driving a car that has a battery, the entire experience is different. Take charging, for example, you can’t compare it to putting gas in your car. Besides the fact that they both fuel your vehicle, it is different in a lot of ways.
Charging an EV is a lot more convenient (and cheaper) than having to take mandatory detours to a gas station. Sure, the act of filling up a tank with gas might still be faster than charging a battery (although technology is catching up). But the act of filling up at a gas station is still a chore that can be avoided altogether if you drive an EV.
Does that mean gas stations will disappear? On the contrary, many fuel retailers are investing in fast-charging stations to facilitate on-the-go charging and accommodate business fleets such as transportation, delivery, and heavy-duty distribution companies.But, as a driver of an electric passenger vehicle, you will become far less dependent on gas stations.
In addition, more fast charging stations appearing at gas stations worldwide means less reason to worry about range.
2. You can charge while you park
In a time filled with technical innovation designed to offer convenience, it’s probably no surprise that we all prefer our lives to be as easy as possible.
Now, imagine hitting the road every morning, knowing you have enough range for your daily commute.
For EV drivers this dream is already a reality.
With an EV, you can charge your car when you’re not using it. And not just at home. Today, there are charging stations to be found everywhere; at the workplace, retail locations, hotels, restaurants, public parking spots, gas stations, or even golf courses or cinemas.
With electricity available everywhere, the locations that offer EV charging are diverse, plentiful, and expanding rapidly over the next decade.
3. Charging stations are everywhere
The world is switching to electric mobility to reduce harmful emissions. As such, governments around the globe are creating legislation and launching incentives to support this much-needed switch.
One of the most important points on the agenda is increasing and improving the global charging infrastructure. Today, there are over 10 million electric cars on our roads. As the number of electric vehicles is expected to increase and represent 30 percent of the whole fleet in 2030, the number of available charging stations will increase in tandem.
According to PwC, the bulk of charging electric vehicles will still take place at home, but readily accessible public charging will be instrumental in supporting EV growth.
Are there enough charging stations for electric cars?
Yes, but the charging infrastructure needs to grow to meet tomorrow's demand, and it will. To give you a ballpark idea, In 2020, there were about 1.3 million public charging stations installed globally, by 2030 this number is estimated to be over 16 million.
4. Electric vehicle range is more than sufficient
The reason most people experience "range anxiety" is because they believe that the range of an EV is insufficient for them to reach their destination. Even in the early days of EV development, when the maximum range was a lot less impressive and batteries were more expensive than they are today, this fear was already unwarranted for most drivers.
Back in 2010, when the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle—the Nissan LEAF—hit the road, it had a maximum range of about 175 km (109 miles). Over the last few years the range has increased significantly.
Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration, the average American citizen drives 62 km (39 miles) a day. In Europe, the daily distance traveled by car depends on which country you ask but is generally less than half compared to the US. Germans, who travel the furthest in Europe by car, average a daily distance of 19 km (11 miles).
So, the real question is, how much range do you need? Because based on these recent statistics, even the 2010 Nissan LEAF would surpass the daily commuting needs of most.
Still, EVs on the market today offer a lot more leeway.
How far can an electric car go?
According to the Electric Vehicle DataBase, the average range of EVs currently sits at a comfortable 315 km (195 miles). This, of course, differs per model. In comparison, the current Nissan LEAF offers a range between 270 - 385 km, while Tesla offers a range between 491 km and 614 km (depending on the model).
5. Electric car battery life is longer than you think
When it comes to batteries and their lifecycle expectancies, it probably doesn’t help that we all experienced an electrical device dying on us when we needed it most. When we get a new phone or laptop, bad experiences have taught us to expect their batteries to start deteriorating right after the warranty expires. So putting full confidence in our main means of battery-powered transportation doesn’t sound like the most comforting idea to some.
EV batteries are something different though. For example, did you know they tend to last somewhere between 10-20 years before they need replacement? EV batteries are designed to last and won’t stop working after a few years.
Sure, over time, batteries lose some of their charging capacity. However, this happens quite slowly, on average 2.3 percent yearly to be exact.
So, this means that if you buy an EV today that has a range of 240 km (150 miles), you will only lose around 27 km of total battery range (17 miles) after five years of driving. As an extra reassurance, there’s no need to worry about costs of replacing the battery, as most manufacturers give a standard warranty between five to ten years or up to 100,000 km (62,000 miles).
The fear of change
It’s normal to feel hesitant when it comes to change, even if it is as inevitable as the electrification of the automotive industry. For generations, our traditional vehicles have made us reach our destinations without any hick-ups. It is what we know, rely on, and what has been the norm for a very long time.
While the world is busy switching to electric mobility more rapidly than ever before, we will adapt and get used to the concept of electric mobility. And over time, I'm pretty sure, we will realize that—like with many new things— reality is often far less scary than we expected it to be.
Learn more about EV charging
Next to range anxiety, there are other worries potential EV drivers have about driving electric. What will it cost to charge a car at home? How long does it take to charge? And what about different charging levels, cables and plugs? Read all about it in our complete EV charging guide.