Range anxiety. Noun. An electric car driver’s worry that the battery will die before the destination or a suitable charging point is reached.
Put simply, range anxiety is the fear of running out of juice while on the road. Drivers of petrol cars can typically run for a fair few kilometres on an almost-empty tank, knowing they’ll stumble upon a gas station sooner or later. But for those behind the wheel of an electric car, charging stations aren’t quite as frequent (yet). This can lead to a serious case of the palm sweats when running low on battery. To help you hit the road in your EV without fear, we’ve put together a few tips on how to battle range anxiety.
Having a dedicated wall mounted charger (or just a standard wall socket charger) for your EV means you can plug in overnight, so you’ll be fully charged before hitting the road. And while they’re a bit of an investment up front, wall-mounted chargers can charge up to eight times faster than a regular outlet.
With the help of apps like Plugshare, you can find your nearest EV charging station in seconds. So if you ever find yourself getting low, it’s quick and easy to find somewhere to charge up. ChargeNet’s nationwide rapid DC charging network is growing every month, so if there’s not one near you yet, chances are it won’t be long.
Before you even make tracks, plan ahead and figure out where you can tie in your charge with a lunch, coffee or supermarket stop. There’s a handy app to help you do that: The Power Trip. It predicts how much charge you’ll use during your trip, and helps you plan your journey around your charging needs. There are some great deals and discounts to be had, too!
In the same way driving fast in a petrol car burns through gas, speeding in an electric car drains your battery quick smart. So aside from being a whole lot safer, easing up on the accelerator will extend your electric car’s range, giving you more time to make it to the next charging stop or your destination. Cruise control can help with that, too. A constant speed with less brake action will buy you more time.
Small things like switching off your air con, killing the radio, and unplugging your phone can help save on power if you’re running low. And while they aren’t likely to save you stacks, turning them off could buy you that extra 500m that makes all the difference.
What’s the best electric car range?
It all depends on what model you’re buying! We’ve put together a list of the most popular electric and plug-in hybrid cars in New Zealand, what they cost, and how far they go. Spoiler: the Tesla Model S takes the cake - but you’re also looking at a price tag that reflects its impressive range.
How many kilometres will my electric car go before it needs a charge?
Again, this completely depends on the model you’ve got. A plug-in hybrid car in New Zealand can run on the electric battery alone for anywhere between about 50km to 200km. For an electric car, you’re looking at between 150km and 600km.