Range anxiety – why it’s nothing to worry about

02 Apr 2024

Swap range anxiety for range confidence

Range anxiety. You’ve probably heard people talking about it. Often, it’s people who don’t own EVs or who are new to the EV world who are most concerned about the possibility of running out of charge.

Of course, EV drivers may have a moment on a long journey when they feel their charge level is running low and have to focus on where they will go for the charge-up they need. But for the great majority of EV driving time, it’s not a problem. All it takes is a little forward-thinking and some sensible driving habits.

Most journeys are short journeys

We might associate range anxiety with long journeys – but do you how few journeys are actually long? Research by the UK Government indicates that 99% of car journeys in England are under 100 miles . Typically, modern EVs have a range of more than that on a full charge (some, including the UK’s top sellers, have ranges of 200 or even 300 miles), so for most people, it’s only rarely that they will need to recharge midway to their destination.

Why might running out of charge happen?

Clearly, running out of charge is unlikely. But it’s helpful to be aware of how it could happen.

Misjudgement of range

Sometimes, a driver might misjudge how far their car can go. So, it pays to be familiar with the real world range of your vehicle. Most EVs will show estimated range on the dashboard, which will give you an indication of how far you have left on your charge. Remember that this is an approximation. Lots of factors can affect real range – the driving conditions, how hard you accelerate, hilly terrain, bad weather, and if you’re carrying extra weight or towing a caravan.

If you underestimate the distance you can travel on a single charge or don’t take into account factors that reduce range, you could run out of battery unexpectedly - just as you might in a car that runs on fuel.

Not planning charging breaks

When you set off on a longer EV journey it's a good idea to plan where you might charge and how often you might need to stop.

The bp pulse app can be helpful and reassuring here, because you can use it to look for charging points before setting off on your journey.

Not expecting the unexpected

Unexpected delays along a journey, like traffic or diversions, can increase the time it takes to reach your destination and that can drain your battery. The answer? Try to think ahead and make sure your battery has enough in reserve if you need to go further than you thought.

A heavy right foot

Using the full acceleration of your EV frequently can make your EV much less efficient and drain the battery a good deal faster than smooth driving will. A calm driving style that flows with the traffic can take you a lot further. If you’d like to know more about efficient driving, click here.

Missing scheduled servicing

Just like a car that runs on fuel, EVs only perform at their best if they’ve had the servicing and maintenance the manufacturer recommends. Some servicing elements are unique to EVs, like checking all cables and connection are sound. Some are common to all cars – like making sure your tyres are healthy and correctly inflated. To find out more, read on here.

Find out more about public EV charging

We'll keep your electric vehicle moving as you travel around the UK with our network of charging points—so you can plug in, power up, and go.

Your car’s on your side

Let’s remember that running out of charge is an unlikely event. And your car will do its best to make sure you get to where you’re going.

Normally, the EV display will warn you when your battery is getting low. If there’s an onboard sat nav, the car may direct you to a nearby charger (depending on make and model, check your vehicle manual).

Some EVs will even let you drive for a limited distance on 0% charge. The Tesla Model Y, for example, enters a special low-power consumption mode when the displayed battery level drops to 0%.

If you do run out of charge, here’s what to do

If the worst happens, you can telephone for roadside assistance. Their support will depend on which provider you use. Typically, they'll help to recharge your car at the side of the road or escort you to a nearby public charging station where you can top up and get on the move again.

bp pulse is here to keep you moving

Here at bp pulse, we’re always working on building our network, because we want to make sure you’re never far away from a bp pulse charging station. We’re installing rapid and ultrafast chargers to speed you on your way. And at charging time, the bp pulse app can help you find your nearest charging station with the minimum of fuss.

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