Is Range Anxiety Still a Concern in 2024?

These days, you can’t talk about electric vehicles (EVs) without considering range anxiety. But as EV battery efficiency continues to improve, is range anxiety still a concern in 2024?  

The short answer: it depends.

In this blog, we cover the current state of range anxiety, exploring how driving habits, location, and access to EV infrastructure affect EV drivers across the US. We also give a few simple tips to help overcome range anxiety.

What Is Range Anxiety?

Range anxiety refers to the fear that your electric vehicle’s battery doesn’t have enough charge to reach your destination. This may be due to the EV’s battery capacity, the EV’s battery efficiency, or sufficient access to EV charging stations to complete a trip (sometimes referred to as “charge anxiety”).

A recent 2023 survey by S&P Global reveals that range anxiety and a lack of accessible charging options are two of the top concerns when transitioning from an internal combustion engine (ICE) car to an EV or hybrid—the top concern being pricing.

In response, car manufacturers have worked to improve EV battery capacity, focusing on increased EV range as one of the main selling points. EV charging solutions like ChargeSmart EV are also working to improve access to EV chargers by encouraging commercial businesses to install widespread public EV charging stations.

Range Anxiety Affects New EV Drivers the Most

Recurrent, a used EV platform, recently surveyed over 250 EV drivers and EV-curious shoppers to understand how range anxiety changes based on personal experience. Recurrent found that:

  • Nearly 4 out of 5 future EV owners (78%) reported high levels of range anxiety. Range anxiety peaked between 1–2 years before purchase.

  • After purchasing an EV, range anxiety lowered substantially. Seasoned EV drivers (3–5 years) reported the least amount of range anxiety.

  • Almost 59% of existing EV owners reported little to no range anxiety.

From a practical perspective, this makes sense. Drivers who don’t have experience with electric cars will likely have more range anxiety than EV owners who’ve had time to adjust to an EV lifestyle and are familiar with EV requirements.

Range anxiety decreasing for drivers purchasing an EV within a year also makes sense—as the driver conducts more research, they’ll likely feel more comfortable with the perceived risks of owning an electric car.

However, location and EV infrastructure can play a large role in a driver’s confidence.

Range Anxiety Is Decreasing in Cities as EVs and EV Charging Infrastructure Improves

The current average EV range in the US is about 300 miles per charge and is continuing to trend upward. Now, let’s consider that a US driver travels about 37 miles per day. An EV owner driving the average distance per day with a 300-mile range car would have to recharge about once per week, which is comparable to conventional gas cars. 

In other words, modern electric car models are more than capable of handling daily driving needs.

Improvements in EV infrastructure have also helped reduce range anxiety. While not as pervasive as gas stations, public EV charging stations are gaining traction as more commercial businesses, hospitality groups, and property managers turn to EV chargers to cater to EV drivers. 

Quick access to Level 2 and Level 3 public EV charging stations in urban and metropolitan areas has been key to combatting range anxiety. But…

Range Anxiety Remains Higher in Small Cities and Rural Areas Lacking Reliable EV Charging Infrastructure

For drivers living in smaller cities, there might not be a strong network of public charging stations. Rural areas in particular are impacted uniquely by common EV infrastructure concerns, especially since they’re more likely to drive farther on average than their urban counterparts.

This has given rise to the plug-in hybrid market. Plug-in hybrid vehicles allow eco-conscious drivers on the outskirts of larger EV charging networks to take advantage of public EV chargers while still having the flexibility of refueling at gas stations if needed.

Driving Long Distances Can Cause Range Anxiety

While modern electric cars are well-equipped to face everyday driving tasks, traveling long distances can still cause anxiety. EV owners need to plan their routes with stops near Level 2 or Level 3 DC fast charging stations. Range anxiety also comes from the fear that a charging station might be out of service without an available alternative.

Fortunately, statistics show that EV drivers rarely become stranded because they’ve let their car’s battery deplete. In addition, Recurrent’s survey suggests that range anxiety for long-distance trips decreases as EV owners familiarize themselves with EV-driving best practices. 

4 Tips to Overcome Range Anxiety

Range anxiety is a perception, not a fact. That means you can overcome range anxiety by preparing adequately. Follow our tips to build your confidence when driving in an electric car.

1. Maintain Your EV Battery’s Efficiency

Like conventional gas-powered cars, EVs are affected by a multitude of factors. Check out our previous blog on how to prolong your EV battery’s life. Our top advice: 

  • Keep your battery charged between 20%–80%

  • Be mindful of extreme temperatures that can reduce your range

  • Avoid accelerating or braking suddenly

  • Make sure your EV battery software is up to date

2. Charge Your Vehicle Ahead of Time

Hate going to the gas station in the morning? EV owners can avoid that by charging their cars overnight. Keeping your vehicle charged before a trip and staying alert about your remaining range will help you avoid battery depletion.

3. Plan Your Route Along Charging Points

Even the most confident EV owners plan long-distance routes with charging stations in mind. If possible, look for routes with a mix of Level 2 and Level 3 chargers on hand. Level 3 chargers allow you to fully charge your battery within an hour, which is ideal for rest stops and meals. Level 2 chargers are great for an overnight stay or a quick top-off.

Avoid planning a route with only 1–2 charging stations for miles. You may be stranded if that charging station is out of service. You can find available EV charging stations using locator apps.

4. Rent a Long-Range Electric Vehicle for Trips

If you need extra confidence or are traveling through areas without reliable EV charging options, consider renting a long-range EV or plug-in hybrid to complete your trip.

Don’t Let Range Anxiety Get In the Way!

For the average EV owner in an urban or metropolitan area, range anxiety will not affect their day-to-day activities. Modern EV cars boast remarkable ranges and are continuing to improve with each model. However, EV drivers in rural areas and small towns without adequate EV charging options face unique challenges. 

Want more EV charging stations near you? Encourage local businesses to reach out to ChargeSmart EV for a free consultation! We’re expanding the nation’s EV infrastructure by helping businesses install public EV charging stations at little to no cost!