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Range Anxiety Is Stopping Me From
Buying An Electric Car!

We compare life with petrol/diesel to life with electric

If you're thinking about switching from an internal combustion engine ('ICE') car to a fully electric car, then running out of charge is probably your biggest fear. It all seems a bit bewildering and new, as it's mostly an unknown scenario for the majority of UK drivers.

We hope this electric driving blog will help you work through some of the questions you may have about electric vehicle driving.
Our Sales Teams are fully versed in electric vehicle driving and ownership. They are always on hand to help with any queries you may have.

But let's talk about 'range anxiety' - it's a real thing!  Those unsure of switching to electric car driving frequently report fear of running out of charge and being stranded at the road side as their biggest barrier to switching to electric motoring.

OK. Let's think about range anxiety by comparing petrol or diesel cars ('ICE') with electric cars in various scenarios ...

Filling Up versus Charging

  • 'ICE' Cars - We normally fill up at a petrol station, using pumps on the forecourt. It takes about 2 or 3 minutes and we go by the number of litres or the number of £ we want to spend. We can pay in the kiosk or at the pump with a credit card.
  • Electric Cars - You can charge up at home, at work or at designated public charging points. Charging speeds range from slow to fast, rapid and ultra-rapid. The appropriate connector type is needed, which is supplied with the car. Ultra-rapid chargers can charge a car to 80% capacity in about 10-15 minutes (approx). You'll need to be familiar with your car's battery size, charging capability and the symbol coding on the public charge points. It's all measured in kW and in AC or DC. DC charging is faster. Slower charging would be more suitable for parking at home or work when several hours are available to slowly charge up. As a rough guide, if you have a 50kW car and a power source of 7kW (per hour), it's going to take about 7 hours to fully charge the car. But don't despair, read on. There are quicker or more efficient ways. At public charge points you can pay by app account or credit card. Be aware of the tariff per kW as this varies for the wattage, so an ultra-rapid charge will be more expensive than a lower capacity slow charge.

Dashboard Fuel/Power Gauges

  • 'ICE' Cars - We know how much fuel we have by the fuel gauge on the dashboard and a warning light comes on when we are low. We kind of know how much fuel we use in an average week and we know when we usually fill up - that's out of experience and habit.
    We tend to run down the fuel until the tank is nearly empty and then fill up.

  • Electric Cars - Electric cars also have dashboard information to tell you how much charge is left. Often there is interaction with your smartphone, so you can check from the office or indoors at home too.
    After a while you will build up a pattern of knowing how frequently to re-charge and by how much. It would be more normal to top up a small amount more frequently than to let the charge run down to nothing. Think 'mobile phone' - we tend to top it up each night by plugging in by the bedside and rarely let it run down below 40%. It's the same logic.

Journey Planning

  • 'ICE' Cars - We usually know the distance of our journeys and if we travel further afield we sometimes calculate where we will re-fuel, but mostly are confident that there will be a petrol station somewhere along the way - especially on motorways. Not much forward planning required really.

  • Electric Cars - Electric driving may mean you need to get into a habit of forward planning your journey if it's a long one, and allowing for contingency plans if a charge point is busy or out of order. This requires a different mindset and new habits are hard! Electric vehicles come into their own on short, urban journeys but longer, motorway journeys are possible too, with forethought. Try an EV journey planner such as Volkswagen's.

Availability of re-fuelling/charging stations

  • ​'ICE' Cars - There are many petrol stations around the country; we know where our nearest ones are, close to home or work. We're familiar with the companies that own them and how much they charge is written up on a totem - Shell, BP, Tesco, etc - priced per litre.

  • Electric Cars - There are now more electric charging devices in the UK than there are fuel pumps! Electric charge points are available in public car parks, supermarkets, motorway services, work places and petrol stations. 'ZapMap' is one of the apps that shows the locations of charge points, which company runs them, whether they are in service and how many kW they are, whether fast charge or not and the tariff.
    At home you will need to think about installing a home wall-box or checking out the options if you don't have a drive or garage. Your workplace may have charge points also, but check how many other colleagues will be using them too. Pricing varies and is not written up on totems, so apps such as 'ZapMap' are a key tool to managing price checks.

Roadside Assistance​

  • 'ICE' Cars - ​If we do break down because we've run out of fuel, we know that the AA or RAC or Green Flag can rescue us and tow us home or sometimes top up with enough fuel to get us home or to a fuel station.

  • Electric Cars - The AA and RAC and Green Flag will also tow you to the nearest charging point, and/or give you a charge boost to get you to the nearest charging point. Cover is very similar to ICE vehicles, eg. home start and national recovery. See their websites for full details.

Our Verdict

  • 'ICE' Cars - We don't really have to think about it - we are so used to the habits and reassurances around us after decades of ICE driving, that we are comfortable and happy with what we know.​

  • Electric Cars - You may need to be more researched and prepared when embarking on electric vehicle ownership. New habits may have to form and you'll need to arm yourself with the necessary apps and information to help you plan your longer journeys and feel confident on the road. Remember electric vehicles carry a high voltage and need trained technicians/mobile mechanics to deal safely with your electric car maintenance.

Next Steps

Let Us Help...

So, there's a definite change of mindset needed and you may be nervous of changing from ICE to electric. Don't despair! Our showroom staff are all fully trained in electric vehicle ownership. Our Sales Executives have electric vehicles as their take-home demonstrators, so they've had to adapt to a new lifestyle too. They will be able to share their experiences as 'rooky' EV drivers - and they have families and pets that they've had to accommodate, just like you!

If you'd like to learn more, then get in touch to take one of our electric vehicle demonstrators on a test drive with our EV experts. Remember there are lots of options on hybrid cars and vans too if you're not quite ready to take the 'fully electric' plunge!

Let us help you with your research and consideration of a new electric vehicle.