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How to overcome “range anxiety” when driving an Electric Vehicle

Thinking about an electric vehicle, but worried about “running out of gas?” That’s called “range anxiety,” and can easily be overcome when you learn just how easy, and convenient it is to charge an electric vehicle.

Driving an electric vehicle is a lot of fun, and great for the environment, but what if the battery runs low on electricity and leaves me stranded out in the middle of nowhere? Right?

Range anxiety sounds scary, but it shouldn’t be. Electric vehicles are just as reliable as any car – and very convenient to charge wherever you go. If you are concerned about charging — never fear. We're going to learn more about how you can overcome electric vehicle range anxiety.

The first step in overcoming EV Range Anxiety

First, think about how much you drive.

Most of us have a daily commute of around 8 miles one way. In fact, 95% of all one-way car trips are less than 30 miles.

An electric vehicle can go hundreds of miles on a single battery charge. That’s great for not only around town – but on road trips as well. And, just like a gas-powered car, there’s a gauge on your electric vehicle dashboard that displays exactly how far you can go before you need to “fill up the tank.”

overcome range anxiety

When it’s time to charge, there are charging stations popping up everywhere – at grocery stores, restaurants, hotels – even parking lots. In fact, Chattanooga has over 160 of them around town with new ones added all the time. You can even charge your EV at home, or anywhere there’s a power outlet. So, there’s no need to find a gas station. What’s not to like about that?

The mileage-per-charge you can expect from an electric vehicle can vary. Most electric vehicles have an average range of 200 to 300 miles on a single charge. Some EVs can even go 400 or 500 miles on a single charge.

How easy is it to charge my electric vehicle at home?

Charging your electric vehicle at home is the most convenient way to charge. In fact, we know that 80% of electric vehicle charging takes place at home. Most folks won’t need a full charge to get where they need to go the next day.

And a Level 1 charger works on a normal household power outlet. It will fully charge an electric vehicle battery overnight. Just plug it in before you go to bed – like you do your cell phone. It’s like having a gas station in your garage! With electric vehicle ranges of up to 300 miles, charging at home may be all you need most of the time.

What happens if I get stuck in traffic?

There’s a rumor that getting stuck in traffic will drain your EV battery. But that’s simply not true. An EV motor doesn’t consume energy at zero speed. Unlike a gas-powered car, when an EV sits idling, the motor actually stops, so there’s very little energy being used to keep the car “running,” so to speak.

Actually, it’s just enough power to keep the A/C or heater on, and other electronics like your radio. In fact, even if an ice storm shuts down the interstate and leaves you stranded in traffic overnight, you can leave the heater on and stay warm. Your EV has the battery power to idle for an entire day or more before needing a recharge.

ev range anxiety

How can I avoid EV Range Anxiety on road trips?

Getting stranded isn’t likely if you’re conscious about charging at home each night for in-town driving and doing a little prep work before road trips.

There are several apps available now that let you chart your course and provide charging locations along the way. We really like the app called “A Better Routeplanner”. It allows you to enter your vehicle make and model and provides a full trip plan and even how long it’ll take to charge your battery.

Plus, EV charging locations are becoming as common as gas stations. In fact, there’s a nationwide network of charging stations and apps that help you find a nearby charging station well before you actually need it.

Apps like ChargePoint, ChargeHub, EVGo, PlugShare and others show all of the charging stations around you at any given time. They can even help you plan long trips. They’ll tell you exactly where to stop for quick charges while you take a break from the road to eat lunch or stretch your legs.

And, there are more and more Level 3 charging stations popping up along the interstate to make quick charging even more convenient. In fact, depending on your EV, a quick-charging Level 3 station can fully charge an EV battery in the time it takes to eat lunch.

Does speed affect the “fuel efficiency” of an EV like it does miles-per-gallon in a gas-powered car?

The answer is yes, but at any speed you can still drive an EV for an extended amount of time before you’ll need a battery charge.

At 65 miles per hour for example, you can drive an EV continuously for up to four hours on a single charge. Around town, you can drive an EV continuously at 45 miles per hour for up to six hours. Either way, that’s about 250 miles on a single charge. And on road trips, EVs have an average range of around 290 miles at 70 miles an hour. Which is pretty far on a single charge.

overcome ev range anxiety

What’s the difference between the three levels of EV charging?

When it comes to “refueling,” there are several different ways to charge your EV – from overnight charging at home, to topping off your battery at a restaurant or grocery store, to quick charges along the freeway.

There are three different levels of EV chargers – Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.

A Level 1 charger uses a regular, 120-volt power outlet – just like the ones you have around your home. Just plug it into an outlet in your garage and fully charge your EV in 8-12 hours. So, basically overnight.

A Level 2 charger is the kind you see at hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, and parking spaces. Those will fully charge a battery in 4-6 hours. Or, you can just top your battery off while you’re inside. You can also enjoy Level 2 charging at home, although it requires a 240-volt power outlet — like the kind used for an electric clothes dryer or stove. Of course, you would want to have a certified electrician install that kind of outlet for you, so you don’t get hurt. You can have a Level 2 charger installed at your home for roughly $1,200 to $2,000.

Finally, there’s a “DC Level 3” charger, which is the kind you see along major travel corridors, like at a visitor’s center or rest stop. They will charge a battery up to 80% in just 30 minutes.

So how do I know if I have the right charging cables?

When you purchase your EV, you’ll be offered charging station subscriptions, plugs and adaptors as part of the package. Most all electric vehicles have the same standard plug for Level 1 and Level 2 charging. But Tesla is kind of like an iPhone. They have their own set of chargers, and their own charging network. But you can buy an adaptor so that your EV can use the nationwide network of Tesla charging stations.

For Level 3 charging, the super-fast chargers you find along the interstate, there are two types of chargers, but you’ll get that info when you purchase your EV.

electric vehicles and range anxiety

How much does it cost to charge up my EV?

Depending on the EV, the average cost to fully charge using a Level 1 charger at home is around $6 to $10 per charge. Recharging at a Level 2 retail charging station might cost between $15 and $20 per charge. And on road trips, a super-quick Level 3 charge could cost $30 or more to fully charge.

It’s still cheaper than filling most gas tanks, and just as convenient!

Charging networks often provide membership programs with discounts to help minimize your charging costs. That’s especially useful if you can’t regularly charge your vehicle at home. We estimate that when charging at home, most folks will save about $1,000 a year.

Where can I get more information about EVs?

For residents and businesses located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, your EPB Energy ProsSM will be glad to answer any other questions you have about EVs – or anything else energy related. Just visit to schedule your free EPB Energy Pros consultation.

If you’re interested in speeding up your home charging, the EPB Energy Pros would be happy to walk through the steps to get there. In fact, EPB provides commercial and residential incentives for installing Level 2 charging stations at homes and businesses.

EPB can also help charge your EV for free. That’s right, there are 13 Level 2 charging spots in the EPB parking garage at the corner of Market and 10th Streets. Charge for free as you park to work, shop and play downtown.

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