As electric SUVs, or electric vehicles in general, started becoming more mainstream in recent years, the term ’range anxiety’ has been popularized. Range anxiety refers to the fear experienced by an EV driver that the battery of the vehicle will drain out before they can reach a charging station or their desired destination. It’s a common phenomenon drivers may feel while taking an EV for long-distance travel.
This psychological barrier is one of the major reasons why many buyers shy away from electric SUVs even today. Drivers may experience a similar anxiety while driving a traditional combustion engine vehicle as well, but the easy availability of gas stations mitigates the fear. Research says 58% of drivers fear running out of power while driving an EV, while 49% are anxious about the limited availability of charging stations.
But the good news is, with the latest innovations in the EV market and improvements in charging infrastructure, it’s possible to create awareness among people and make them understand that the chances of getting stranded while driving an electric vehicle are quite low. The onus is on the government and automakers to improve the EV landscape, because by making EVs widely accepted, it’s possible to reduce environmental pollution and move towards a greener future.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can overcome range anxiety and provide some practical tips for traveling long-distance in an electric car.
Table of Contents
Range Anxiety: Causes and Concerns
Psychological factors contributing to range anxiety
- Lack of familiarity: Drivers accustomed to traditional gasoline vehicles are often apprehensive and uncertain about shifting to a fully electric-run SUV, simply because it’s something they are not familiar with.
- Fear of being stranded: The fear of running out of charge and getting stranded in the middle of an isolated area is a significant one, more so for people living in areas with undeveloped charging infrastructure.
- Range estimation uncertainty: Automakers market their vehicles showcasing a high range, but in case the numbers are not accurate or keep on fluctuating, it can lead to anxiety about how far the SUV can take you with a single charge.
Charging infrastructure and accessibility challenges
- Insufficient charging stations: If there are not enough charging facilities available in a particular region, it leads to range anxiety and discourages drivers from traveling in an EV for long distances.
- Inconsistent charging speeds: Charging speeds can vary at different stations, depending on the power output of the stations. This can impact the travel plans of EV owners and increase their concerns related to long-distance EV trips.
- Urban charging congestion: Urban areas where EV adoption has become mainstream may face charging station congestions. This is another factor that makes drivers anxious when they are trying to charge their vehicle during their journey.
Impact of weather and driving conditions on range
- Cold weather effects: The battery efficiency and overall range of EV SUVs can decrease in lower temperatures, leading to increased range anxiety in people living in colder climates.
- Hilly terrain and heavy loads: Driving uphill or carrying a heavy load requires more energy consumption than usual and impacts the vehicle’s range. This is a big issue for those living in high altitude areas and those who use their vehicles for hauling cargo.
- Driving speed and habits: Driving at high speeds or aggressively can leave a negative impact on the electric SUV’s range. It makes drivers more conscious of how they drive, especially in long drives.
Addressing these psychological factors and infrastructure challenges is crucial to alleviating range anxiety and promoting the adoption of electric SUVs for long-distance travel. As battery technology improves and charging infrastructure expands, drivers will become more confident in the capabilities of electric SUVs and embrace them as a sustainable and eco-friendly travel option.
Overcoming Range Anxiety
Improvements in EV battery technology and range
Research is going on to improve the EV battery technology even more and promote quick adoption of electric SUVs. Here are some latest developments in the world of electric batteries that can significantly bump up the EV range and also propel the industry towards sustainable growth:
- Automakers like BMW and Toyota are heavily investing in solid-state batteries, which are known to have higher energy density than traditional batteries.
- University of Texas researchers have developed lithium-sulfur batteries which are less expensive, more sustainable, and have the capacity to store up to four times more energy as compared to lithium-ion batteries.
- Researchers are looking for ways to switch traditional graphite anodes for silicon anodes, as the latter has higher energy density.
- Companies like Tesla and Redwood Materials are trying to develop ways to recycle EV batteries and give them a second life.
Expansion of charging infrastructure
The United States House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill back in 2021, where $7.5 billion was allocated to build 50,000 new public electric vehicle chargers by the year 2030. As of today, there are more than 53,000 public EV charging stations all across the US. Among all states, California has the most number of power outlets, followed by New York. More initiatives are underway to increase these numbers further and make charging stations as frequent and widespread as possible.
Preparing for Long-Distance EV Travel
Preparation is the key to enjoying a comfortable and anxiety-free long distance tour on an EV. Here are some tips you might want to implement to make your journey convenient:
- Understand your vehicle range: Be familiar with the range of your electric SUV’s capabilities under different circumstances. Consider factors like weather, driving conditions, and types of roads to estimate how much the vehicle can travel with a single full charge.
- Plan charging stops strategically: While planning your route, make sure you’re passing by areas that have charging stations. Consider using high-power charging stations to cut down unnecessary charging time at the stations.
- Use EV charging apps: Use mobile apps that give you detailed information about the charging stations near your location, including their availability and charting speeds. With these apps, you can effectively plan your route and keep your vehicle fully charged during long-distance travel.
- Community forums and social media groups: Engage with EV owners on different social media groups and community forums. You’ll be able to get some actionable tips and valuable insights from people who have completed long-distance tours in their electric SUVs.
- Pack charging essentials: Don’t forget to carry necessary items like charging cables and adapters to make sure you can charge your vehicle at different stations without any compatibility issues.
- Adapting driving habits for optimal range efficiency: Practice smooth and steady driving to make the most of your electric SUV’s range and efficiency by avoiding hard braking and sudden acceleration as much as possible. Also, optimize the use of climate control systems, as extreme temperature settings can bring down your vehicle’s range.
Electric SUVs with a high range
When you’re driving a car with a high range, you are less likely to feel anxious during long trips. Listed below are 10 latest SUVs whose batteries last long with a single charge.
|2023 Tesla Model X||348 Miles|
|2023 Tesla Model Y||330 Miles|
|2023 Rivian R1S||321 Miles|
|2024 Cadillac LYRIQ||314 Miles|
|2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV||314 Miles|
|2023 Ford Mustang MACH-E||312 Miles|
|2023 Kia EV6||310 Miles|
|2024 BMW IX||307 Miles|
|2023 Mercedes Benz EQS SUV||305 Miles|
|2023 Nissan Ariya||304 Miles|
When you embrace sustainable travel options, it will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also contribute to the wider adoption of electric vehicles. If range anxiety is stopping you from buying an EV or taking long tours in an EV, we hope you’ll find this article helpful. By following the tips we mentioned and utilizing the latest EV resources and technologies, it’s very much possible to enhance your long-distance SUV travel experience and overcome range anxiety with confidence. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that EV is the future—it’s the driving force that will take us towards a greener and more eco-friendly future.