Range anxiety is the term used to describe that feeling of worry you might have about switching to an electric car.
Many motorists are concerned that their car will run flat while out and about, and this prevents them from choosing an electric car.
If you’re switching to an electric vehicle (EV), you might feel stressed knowing you have an expected mileage before you go flat, but it just requires some forward planning to ensure this doesn’t happen.
If you’re used to popping to a petrol station and knowing you’ve got a full tank, running on a battery and having a mile range to stick to can seem daunting – but it’s really no different than worrying about how long a tank of fuel will last.
Should I be worried about range in my electric vehicle?
There’s really no need to be stressed about mile range in your electric vehicle. It’s the same as getting a full tank of fuel – you'll work out how long it will last and will factor in a time for charging when you know you’ll be running low.
If you know you’re going to be taking a longer trip than usual, you’ll get in the habit of giving yourself a full charge overnight and planning a route with a charging station close by if you know you might need a boost.
You’d do the same with fuel, right? You’d fill up ahead of time, and know where the closest petrol station is, should you need it.
Why you don’t need to worry about range in your electric vehicle
Life with an electric car is easy to navigate in the modern world, as charging stations are popping up all over and making it a breeze to get a boost, and there are even ways to get an emergency charge if you do get stuck. Roadside assistance vans are able to give you a boost of electricity to get you to a proper charging point, should you need it.
1. You can charge while you’re parked up
Anytime you’re parked up in your EV, there will likely be options to charge up if you need to. Of course, you’ll have the ability to charge at home, but there are also charging spots at supermarkets and shopping centres. These chargers are often free to use, and you might even be lucky enough to have one at your workplace.
2. Charging stations are all over the place
Even if you’re heading out on the longest of road trips, there will almost certainly be a charging station you can access on your way. Many service stations have rapid chargers on offer, so you can get a great boost in just 30 minutes.
In fact, the cinch team proved it’s possible by successfully driving a Tesla Model S 1,300 miles in the Great British EV Rally using the UK’s brilliant charging network.
3. You can charge overnight
Charging your EV overnight means that early morning trips to the petrol station are a thing of the past. You’ll wake up to a fully charged vehicle that will often see you through a week of casual driving.
Many EVs give you the option to monitor charging from a smartphone app, so you can make sure you’re on track for a full charge.
Top tip – find out what the off-peak times are for your electricity tariff, and aim to charge your EV then. You’ll usually find that these times are overnight, which is ideal for making sure you’re ready for the day ahead.
4. You probably won't use your full range often (with normal use)
Most modern EVs have a mile range of around 200 miles on a full charge, so you might find that you only need to charge once a week. This will likely get many people to the office and back across the working week, or will make light work of the school run.
You can usually expect it to cost around £15 for a full charge at home, but this might vary depending on where you’re choosing to plug in, the time of the day, and how much electric is at that time.
5. Electric car batteries last way longer than you’d expect
You might be worried that your electric vehicle will lose battery health over time, but while this does happen, it will be on a minimal scale.
You might see your battery health decline on a yearly basis, but this will usually barely be enough to make a noticeable difference.
The average EV battery can last between 10-20 years before they need to be replaced, and most come with an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty.
6. In case of emergencies – there are options
You’ve got that nightmare scenario in your head – running out of charge and going flat while you’re on the go.
It’s easy to monitor your battery charge while you’re driving, and some forward planning with locating charge points on your route will mean you shouldn’t ever end up at 0%.
If you do ever get caught out, many roadside recovery services will be able to come out and give you a boost.
It’s also worth noting that your EV will switch into ‘failsafe’ mode if you do lose charge, and will give you enough time to safely pull over.
Will cold weather impact my EV's range?
Cold weather and electric vehicles
You might have heard that the weather can have an impact on your electric vehicle's mile range, and this is somewhat true.
In extremely cold weather, your EV’s battery will operate less efficiently, so you’ll see a reduction in your mile range.
You could see up to 20% reduction in the number of miles you can cover on one full charge, depending on the model and how severe the weather is.
The batteries in our EVs rely on chemical reactions to work, and colder temperatures cause these reactions to slow down.
It’s worth noting that petrol and diesel cars will usually also see lower fuel efficiency in the winter months, so your EV isn’t alone on this one.
There are things you can do to minimise the effect that cold weather has on your car, like preheating your vehicle while it’s still charging and using eco-driving mode where possible.
Hot weather and electric vehicles
Extremely hot weather can also have an impact on the mile range of your electric car.
Heavy use of the air conditioning can mean burning through your battery charge quicker, and the heat can impact the chemical reactions in the battery and decrease the overall charge.
Making small changes – like finding shady spots to park, using a less-powerful charger, waiting for the car to cool down before plugging in, and going easy on the air-con – will help maintain battery health in extreme heat.