As much as we talk about range anxiety here, the reality is the vast majority of drivers in America probably aren't even really aware of the term in the automotive context. Yet. But that's because only a tiny fraction of them have ever been in any kind of electric vehicle other than a golf cart.
When the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt hit the market this winter, though, followed by the Ford Focus and others next year, more drivers will become aware of the phenomenon. And, when dealers start selling these machines, they are going to have to change the practices ingrained by more than a century of internal combustion.
Marketers and retailers will no longer be able to just hand off the keys and send people on their way. First they will need to evaluate customers and determine if a plug-in vehicle is the choice for their needs. If so, then they have to get them used to doing what most of us now do with our cell phones: plug them in at every available opportunity. When your battery runs dry on the side of the interstate, roadside assistance will have to bring a flat-bed instead of a gallon of fuel, something drivers will want to avoid as much as possible.