What is Range Anxiety?

Lexi SackettMay 21, 2021

If you own an electric vehicle or you’re considering buying one, you’ve likely heard stories of people whose battery charge ran out in the middle of the day. An EV isn’t like a gas-powered car, where you can just stop at a fueling station and fill your tank in under five minutes. Batteries can take hours to charge. If you run out whilst you’re on your trip, that could potentially create a sticky situation. It means you may need to spend unplanned, extra time at a charging station for a few hours if you’re lucky enough to find one nearby.

A 2019 study by Volvo found that more than half of the drivers surveyed were unwilling to buy EVs because they were afraid they’d run out of power before being able to charge their vehicle, while 49 percent voiced concern about the limited number of charging stations.

What is range anxiety?

Range anxiety is often referred to as the feeling of fear that a vehicle has insufficient range to reach its destination or perform a certain task, and that it could potentially hinder performance, strand the vehicle’s occupants or be a major cost sink. The term is primarily used in reference to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and is thought to be one of the largest barriers to large scale adoption of all-electric vehicles and sometimes even hybrid models.

Is range anxiety still a valid concern?

Our perception of EVs might take some time to adjust. Many still view them the same as they did back in 2010, but a lot has changed in over a decade. The new generation lithium-ion batteries are advanced enough that most vehicles can run anywhere from 200-300 miles on a single charge. According to Tesla, because 99 percent of all people in the United States live at least 150 miles from a charging station, it should be possible to plan your routes accordingly. The same goes for fleets – but the access to infrastructure is key. Utilizing your telematics data from your current vehicle assets can also aid in your route and infrastructure planning strategy.

That being said, EVs are showing to be good for consumers and individuals who have them for personal use, but they can also help fleets looking to achieve certain sustainability targets in the coming years. Range anxiety likely plays more into the fears of fleet managers who are trying to balance fleet sustainability and the duties and responsibilities that may require vehicles to travel long distances. 

How to increase the range of your EV

A big drain on your EV’s battery isn’t just the powering of the car, but actually its heating and air-conditioning – which can potentially diminish the vehicle’s range by up to 30 percent. One way to keep range higher, is to emphasize to your drivers the importance of minimizing the use of A/C and considering storing EVs inside whilst they charge to prevent the battery from becoming too hot or too frigid.

Another great feature of many EVs is the regenerative braking system. Make sure the settings maximize regenerative braking and educate your drivers that this feature will generate electricity while breaking, which will help you make the most out of the battery’s range. Ensuring your drivers are following policies that maximize range is important. There are many things that can increase a vehicle’s range, from keeping up proper maintenance to utilizing space efficiently in the cab. Keeping an EV fleet up and running can mean a lot of trial and error, or requesting the help of peers that have already electrified. However, even with the need for deliberate and diligent planning, it’s not an impossible feat.

What if I still worry about range?

A lot of anxiety stems from being uncertain of what the future holds. Part of this stems from lack of public infrastructure currently available or access to limited resources – however, it’s a direction that we’re headed in as the US strives to achieve its climate and sustainability climates in the coming years. 

If you are in need of planning an electric initiative, or need more from your EV data – Utilimarc can help. By bringing the most out of your data, we can aid your organization in creating a data-backed fleet management strategy that will allow for future electric expansion and infrastructure planning.

To learn more, schedule a demo with a member of our analytics team.


Lexi Sackett

Senior Analyst

Lexi Sackett is a senior analyst at Utilimarc. She has grown with Utilimarc for the last five years – working closely with clients and specializing in telematics data analysis. See more from Lexi


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