What is Range Anxiety & How Can I Prevent It?

As electric vehicles (EVs) have grown in popularity, you may have heard about the phenomenon known as range anxiety. Whether you use the term, worrying about running out of juice when you can’t recharge may be holding you back from buying your first EV. In this blog post, we’ll explain what range anxiety is and share a few tips on how to prevent it.

What Is Range Anxiety?

Range anxiety is the fear of your vehicle running out of power before you reach your final destination. While drivers of gas-powered vehicles can experience range anxiety, too (ever played “the gas game”?), the experience is most commonly associated with EVs.

Range anxiety can deter an EV driver from travelling long distances or completing last-minute favours for friends and family, because they worry they won’t find a charging station before their battery runs out.

If you currently own an EV or are considering buying one, you can try any of a variety of techniques to ease your worries. We’ll share a few ideas next.

How to Prevent Range Anxiety

Here are some tips that can help you conserve your EV’s battery and ease your worries that you’ll run out of power.

Don’t Over-Charge Your Battery

Charging at Home

One convenience of EVs is that you can have a charging station installed in your home, eliminating the need to power-up on the go. However, this doesn’t mean you should charge your car around the clock. Charging your EV’s battery too often, especially if it’s already full, can actually decrease its lifespan.

A rule of thumb is to keep your battery between 30% to 80% capacity and to avoid 100% or 0% as much as possible. You may need to fully charge your battery before a long trip, but in general, don’t you’re your vehicle plugged in on a daily basis. Always follow the recommendations of your car’s user manual for best charging practices.

Know Where Charging Stations Are

Although electric vehicle charging stations are popping up in cities and highways faster than whack-a-moles, Canada’s a massive landmass (and Ontario is Canada’s second largest province). So, plan ahead by noting charging stations along your route. This website can help you locate your nearest charging station anywhere in Ontario.

Drive to Save Energy

Similar to gas-powered vehicles, certain driving techniques can help you operate your EV to conserve energy.

Firstly, it’s good practice to always accelerate smoothly. Hitting the accelerator or brakes too abruptly can significantly drain your battery. EVs also come equipped with regenerative braking, in which your car recovers kinetic energy while you’re driving and extends its’ battery’s range.

Also, avoid driving too fast. When possible, drive 60 kph or less to maximize your battery’s range.

Of course, always ensure your vehicle is in proper condition before taking it out on the road. While EVs have far fewer parts that require maintenance compared to gas vehicles, doing routine checks of your tire pressure and heating/cooling system can ensure your car is operating efficiently without using up unnecessary power.

The Solution to Range Anxiety: Go for a PHEV

To nix out range anxiety and still help the environment, consider opting for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). PHEVs can be a great compromise if you’re on the fence about trading in your gas-powered vehicle for an electric one. PHEVs are also equipped with a gas tank that will continue to power your car if the battery runs out before you can recharge it.

If this sounds like an ideal solution to your range anxiety concerns, check out this list of some of the most popular PHEVs currently available in Canada.