GM has made concern about "range anxiety" central to its marketing of the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt. The term may work to instill some doubt in the minds of those cross-shopping the Nissan Leaf, and in fact a study (PDF) by the Technology Strategy Board in the UK found that 100 percent of new electric vehicle owners did have some level of concern about running out of juice before reaching a destination when they first got their cars. However, it turns out range anxiety is not a chronic disorder.

Just three months after taking ownership of the EV, 35 percent said they had no more concerns about the range of their electric-only vehicles. As time went on and owners became more familiar with the real-world performance of their cars, they were more willing to push deeper into the available battery power, and less worried about being stranded. Here's a key finding:

The drop in range anxiety is in part due to the increased understanding of vehicle capabilities, driving techniques and journey planning. Charging data also shows users gained more confidence in their journey distance over the three months, with an eight per cent increase in users allowing their batteries to drop below 50% before plugging in.

Sure, EV drivers still want more range from their cars, TSB found, but the anxiousness clearly dies down when your car performs as expected day in and day out. Since the study found that "users made little or no change to their daily driving habits after switching from conventional to low carbon vehicles," the EVs were a solid substitute for most people.


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  • 43 Comments
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yes. : )
      Smurf
      • 3 Years Ago
      Range anxiety is a two-word description for the lack of a charging infrastructure. Gasoline drivers don't have range anxirty simply because there is a gasoline station every couple miles. Take away those gas stations, and gasoline drivers will have range anxiety too.... If you drive through West Texas, there are stretches of road that have no gas stations for as much as 150 miles. You can bet that folks that drive across that stetch of road have a little range anxiety if they didn't have a full tank.. Range anxiety is also a phrase to decsribe someone who only has one vehicle. If you have two vehicles, and one is gasoline powered, you don't have as much range anxiety as someone whose only vehicle is an EV. Of course if your EV is a Volt, you then have two vehicles in one. (Did you notice I didn't say "two for the price of one"?)
      EV Now
      • 3 Years Ago
      Range anxiety is for wimps.
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Range anxiety is a term the oil companies probably love! http://www.petrostrategies.org/Links/Worlds_Largest_Oil_and_Gas_Companies_Sites.htm Look at the largest oil companies: you think they care about the economies of net oil importing nations? No, they have the whole world by the gas tank! They love to peddle words like Range Anxiety on Fox news to brainwash misinformed people into keeping up with the Kardashians....
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        Marco, So, that means Shell and Exxon will stop advertising because they don't need the business anymore? :-) I get your point, but I think it's a bit to far the other way to think they wouldn't do all these naughty things. It's just like the scorpion told the frog....it's my nature. EVERY business that thinks they can get away with it, tries to use it's weight and money to get an advantage. Look at Apple, the same Apple who made the famous "1984" Superbowl commercials. Now they're trying to lobby EU govt's to block Samsung tablets because they look like their 2004 patents (kinda sorta....and Apple got busted doctoring their "evidence"!). Yet Apple's tablets and patents look just like every Sci-Fi tablet that's been in the movies since the 70's. Talk about your prior art!!! Anyway, I digress. The oil companies are doing everything they can including buying politicians to get favorable laws passed and rulings from appointed judges. It's their nature.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          Dave D. Oil companies advertise to take business from each other. They also spend on 'Image' advertising to influence the investment community. Oil companies are very large, fairly ruthless organisations who believe that maximising shareholder return is what it's all about! Occasionally the shareholders elect a more visionary CEO , like BP's former CEO, Lord Browne, (BP solar) or John S. Watson, Chairman and CEO of Chevron, ( Chevron Geo-thermal). In essence, I agree that these corporations are motivated by self-interest. If it's not in their self-interest, why bother? since EV's don't threaten oil companies self-interest, EV's are too insignificant for the majors to bother about! Now jockeying for possession of the last remaining reserves, that's a different matter! So far the only victories scored by the US in it's increasing trade war with the PRC, have been by Western oil companies. I am not saying that oil companies are highly ethical, paragons of virtue! Hell, Total Oil of France just overthrew Qaddafi! In doing so, they pushed PRC out of the Mediterranean! But, it just doesn't make sense for oil companies to bother about EV's. Especially since Chevron sells Electricity, and BP sells solar. The holy grail for oil companies is Biofuel, but the oil companies need to solve the feedstock logistics first.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        Aaron, do you ever think that a little reality, and analytical thinking might help you exorcise your demons? I know it great to have a bad guy to hiss, but do you really think that the major oil companies care about EV's anymore? Look at the facts, not paranoia! Oil companies are facing a situation of demand exceeding supply! This will only go worse as oil depletion grows, and extraction technology declines in economic effectiveness. Look at the Oil Industry's major customers, Fuel and non fuel. Non fuel demand is increasing heavily, mainly through increasing demand for fertiliser. The world demand for oil in 2025, will be approximately, 140 million barrels per day. The most optimistic estimate for supply is 80-97 million barrels per day. Even that figure relies on 30 million EV's being on the road by 2025. Today the Oil industry fuels 1,000,000,000 road vehicles, 1,000,000 ships and aircraft. Over 600,000 locomotives, 2,2 million heavy vehicles. 800,000,000 energy generating machinery. 3.400,000 military vehicles, 700,000,000 oil powered specialist machinery. As of 2011, there are maybe 30,000 EV's ! By 2025The oil companies will need something to bridge the gap of more than 70,000,000 barrels per day . Natural gas will help, as will oil from coal. But neither are really economic, and both are finite, only putting of the inevitable. Even if every car in the world was an EV, the oil companies would be struggling to meet demand by 2030. The Oil companies are investing heavily in alternate energy, for survival. One lifeline maybe Virents new biogasoline process. The PLA has successfully persuaded the PRC to divert funds away from Solar, EV and Wind, and into Nuclear, biofuel feedstock and Geo-thermal. Oil has become a very precious resource. The oil companies already understand that the days of selling oil for road transport are over. Let's be realistic, a handful of EV's simply don't figure on the radar. However, if the Oil companies figure out how to provide an economical bio-fuel product, then the EV would come under pressure form a competitive technology. But, as it stands, gasoline is a dodo! Those who rail against the oil companies, are fighting an enemy who has already left the ring. Oil companies just no longer care. Think about it, in a world of dwindling oil reserves, killing EV's would only hasten the end! you can't sell gasoline you haven't got! Do the maths for yourself!
          russellbgeister
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Your spot on marco also if we don't start putting in the infrastructure world wide for B100 bio deisel in the next 10 to 15 years get ready for mass starvaton and war
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Spec "But the oil companies are certainly doing nothing to encourage EVs or more efficient cars." You are correct, the oil companies don't really care either way! The oil companies can still survive in the non-fuel oil industry. But to maintain their dominant position in the transport energy industry, depletion means they must either become energy providers of electricity, or Biogasoline, or both! Either way, the EV doesn't bother the oil companies. IMHO, the oil companies will invest in business models which are compatible with their existing infrastructure, (bio gasoline) and hedge bets with Geo-thermal etc..
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Thats right, oil is a precious limited resource. That is why burning it low efficiency ice vehicles is a terrible idea. The oil is far more valuable for making plastics, polymers, paints, adhesives, drugs, fertilizers and other chemicals products like carbon fiber. If you look at vehicle use patterns, the vast majority of the worlds affluent people who drive cars to work, school and errands every day drive significantly less than 50 miles per day. Actually, it is for this reason and cost reasons I believe that GM sized the Volt's battery for 35-40 miles of EV only operation: since that would cover the vast majority of trips a person will drive in their Volt on day to day routes. I think that GM's range extended ev design is a fantastic improvement to the traditional hybrid drive-train designs employed by Toyota and Honda. That said, the price price point of a base model volt is more than $10,000 higher than a Prius III even if you factor in the tax credit for the Volt. Pushing the base price of a vehicle from $24 to over $35K alienates millions of potential buyers. GM's have a very thorough understand of how price sensitive consumers are. Lets just say that gas was $5/gal, $10,000 in a 49MPG Prius will drive it 98,000 miles. If people are driving 12,000 mile per, that is over 8 years of operation, at which point both vehicle will have depreciated to similar price points, giving rise to a large net Total cost of operation for the Volt owner both in the increased upfront cost and the increased depreciation losses. You also said something about not being able to sell gas your dont have to sell. The fact is clear here too, we are not just going to spontaneously run out of oil. The market dynamics of an increasing demand against a falling supply will cause the price to increase, and consumers, business and governments will respond with structural, operational and behavioral changes to adapt to conserving the increasingly expensive fuels. Metro bus utilization rates where I live have already doubled in the last 5 years because more people penciled out the fuel savings of not commuting in the city with their cars, also netting a savings from not paying for parking, and a huge percentage of people are now using the bus that previously used their gas only private vehicles. This is with a fairly stable price index change for gasoline. In the future, the operating cost economic of conventional vehicles will shift sharply as oil price soar. Even if Americans cut back, this will not reduce the price of oil significantly as india, china, africa and the rest of the world will continue increasing their demand for oil as they continue developing. You can do the math for yourself!
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          "Oil companies are facing a situation of demand exceeding supply! This will only go worse as oil depletion grows," Go worse? Worse for who? That is great for the oil companies since they'll be able to crank up the price and collect massive profits. They have no reason to dissuade people from gas cars. The more gas cars there are, the more demand and thus the more profit. Now I don't subscribe to any conspiracy theories about oil companies holding the EV back . . . the EV struggles purely on its own economic issues. But the oil companies are certainly doing nothing to encourage EVs or more efficient cars.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Aaron Swartz, thank you for your reply. Long on passion, very short on facts or logic. While I admire your passion, you do make a lot of wild, unsubstantiated assumptions! , Like most people who write from a ethical or philosophic viewpoint, you ignore everything that doesn't fit in with your logic. (I also get it that you loathe large corporations, oil companies in particular.) Consider, EV's are not "just niche vehicles for the urban wealthy". The biggest selling EV's are specialist vehicles, (or I wouldn't be in business). The Renault Kangoo ZE, Smiths Trucks, Allied taxi's are all successful EV's. I agree that hybrid vehicles are more practical for many uses. Although I try to drive my EV's as much as possible, my Lexus GS 450h, is a more practical long distance vehicle. Oil companies don't hate healthy people, any more than does the pharmaceutical and medical professions. But, that's a different debate. With 7 billion people and rising, agriculture on a 'sustainable, organic, home compost,' basis is a fantasy! once super-phosphate supplies are extinct (10-20 years), the real pressure of oil as a fertiliser will be realised. This isn't a plot by an evil oil company, but reality! I'm not going to rehash 'WKTEC" arguments here, but anyway, who cares? It's irrelevant today! The problem you have, is you assume that the US is the entire world! You rant about things that are local and specific to your little patch of the planet, not even all the USA. Then you extrapolate that to the planet! You invite me to do the math, but apart from a lot of emotive opinion, you provide no facts on which to base any 'math'. Your arguments become confused and contradictory. The board of Directors of Exxon could hold black mass every Friday night and watch films of baby seals being violated, it wouldn't make them very nice men, (and women) but it wouldn't also make them irrationally fear EV's!
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Listen Marco, I concerned about the Future of the US economy, not some oil company the bribes congress and the senate into a special intrest oil oligarchy. The fact is clear, there is $100 trillion reasons for the oil companies to publish misinformation, disinformation, or anything else they can to keep people using their products. They dont like organic sustainable agriculture since it does not use their petrochemical fertilizers. They dont like healthy people, because these people dont get sick and require drugs made from the petrochemicals most profitable subsidiary chemicals industry (big pharma). The oil companes have committed and continue to commit atrocious human rights violations all over the world. If the oil companies dont care about EV's, then why did ChevronTexaco purchase ECD and put the legal kabosh on NiMH for years when hybrids were starting to become popular? Yes, some oil companies are concerned about looking "indifferent to the prices that people are going to have to pay for fuel", but you speaks as if all of those 1billion something ICE oil burning vehicles on the road are just going to disappear instantly. The technology improvements and investments are clear. Hundreds of companies are pouring billions of dollars into improving automotive class EV batteries. Actually, you sound like a GM engineer, and I know that the new GM is one of those companies who is heavily invested in researching and developing better EV battery technology. I have argued relentlessly on these threads, on engadget and on my facebook page that EV's are a niche market vehicle only designed to combat fuel consumption/ smog/ health issues for affluent urban commuters who can afford to early adopt limited range high cost small pure EV's like the Nissan Leaf. Nissan is not stagnating and the batteries in future iterations of the Leaf will come down in price, improve in energy and power storage, and improve cycle life and charging times; paving the way for a feasible EV without government tax breaks for those who can make use of a $7500 tax right off. Hybrids is where the most promis exists. GM's E-REV platform is actually a fantastic improvement over Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive in driving cycles that can make use of shorter daily EV only trips. It safe to say that the technical limitations of the Leaf require that the Leaf owner must also own a conventional gas powered car if they live outside of a dense urban environment and require hundred of miles daily range out of vehicle. To that end, car sharing programs can allow someone to commute in an electric and use a gas vehicle on occasion where that long range is actually required. I voted with $26,500 of my money for Prius for a reason. I could have camped on my 95 celica 1.8L and waited for a nice practical EV, but I dont believe in Pure Ev's because they are too half baked as of yet. I want what most buyers want from an EV. Sub $30K new price, at least 200miles range, fast charge.......
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Marco, you have more demons than everyone else put together.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      even that I get voted down for. that was a good joke : )
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have family members that live 35 to 50 miles away from me. I imagined if I owned something like the Leaf I could ask to plug in my car at my family members house. Then I found out that Nissan says the Leaf can't be charged through an extension cord at 110 Volts because of the high current.
        Aaron Schwarz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Not entirely true, but you need a nice extension cord with 10guage wires to support the load. The Leaf pulls about 12amps or 1500-1800 watts off the 120plug, most of which run on a 15amp breaker. A shitty high resistance cheap 14guage extension cord has too much resistance. Nissan does not recommend using an extension cord because most people dont know the difference between 10 and 14 guage wire and could cause a fire trying to juice up using a 100' 14guage extension cord. Fortunately, most people at least 1 electric outlet on the outside of their homes, so you dont have to have a long cord. You can probably park close enough if you are careful with planning to use the default slow mobil charger. The real turd is that at 120volts and 12amps, you only gain about 5 miles of range for every hour you are plugged in. Since the total range of the Leaf is about 73miles, you can swing it if you can stay parked and charging for 5 or 6 hours when visiting the relatives. A short range EV like this is not designed to replace gas powered cars for long distance routes, it is designed to combat urban driving cycles where the vast majority of commuters cover much less than 50 miles per day!
      super390
      • 3 Years Ago
      The best short-term solution to improving the range of electric cars is to reduce their energy consumption via less weight and better aerodynamics. The Leaf is pretty conservative in that regard. GM simply has forgotten everything it learned about aerodynamics from the EV1. It seems these cars use about 300 watt hours per mile. The EV1 used half that much cruising down the highway, even lugging around lead-acid batteries. The Solectria Sunrise was pushing maybe 120 thanks to its expensive composite construction. At 150 watt hours per mile, and 30 cents per watt hour for the battery, you spend $45 per mile of range not counting the necessary reserve to avoid over-draining the battery. This yields options for range versus price that most buyers could probably live with. The problem is the majors want to build electrics on the same assembly lines as ICE cars to give them flexibility with a fickle public. You can't build a composite car, or even an aluminum car, on the same assembly line as a Chevy Cruze. Unit-bodied steel cars don't allow a lot of flexibility for aerodynamics either. If the electric car has a cD of 0.19, the gas car built on that line will probably look pretty funny too.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @super390
        Development of light weight vehicles is expensive, and Nissan has put its pennies into developing an electric drivetrain. The lighter weight alternatives are also expensive on an individual car basis, which is why it is BMW who is perhaps the leader in this field as they can charge a premium in this field. The much maligned VW is also making extensive efforts into lightweighting, and sees that a necessity before getting heavily into electric cars. There are numerous possibilities for reducing weight in the future, including simplifying and weight reduction in the electric loom, but they all take time and money. As for aerodynamics, advances in that field tend to impact the ability to have good accomodation in a compact package. It may look good in the test figures, but for most manufacturers for some time the primary use of electric vehicles is going to be as city run-abouts at relatively low speed. In other words in practise since aerodynamics do not much affect fuel consumption at low speed, the gains in actual use from streamlining would be limited. Interestingly, the also much-maligned fuel cell cars, since their points of advantage over battery cars are the ability to run bigger vehicles over longer distances at high speed, have much more incentive to emphasise aerodynamics. It is all coming, but it takes a lot of time and money.
        Ernie Dunbar
        • 3 Years Ago
        @super390
        Oh, absolutely. Automakers and engineers have known this since at least 1930. The problem is that automakers *also* know that the people who are going to *buy* the cars won't: 1. Buy cars that look "weird". A volkswagen beetle is about as far as they're willing to go, and only because it looks cute. 2. Compromise safety for range or efficiency. 3. Fit less than 4 people. Unless it's a tremendously cool sports car. There have been lots of forays into cars with high efficiency and low aerodynamic drag. Most of them have gone away due to low sales or low profitability.
      james
      • 3 Years Ago
      Range anxiety is ridiculously overblown. We've only had our Leaf for three weeks, but already I totally understand what I can and cannot do with the car. I can't drive it at 70mph on the freeway in 110 degree temps and expect it to give me 90 miles of range, but then I'm not driving 90 miles on the freeway in our Leaf. If I drive it on surface streets at a moderate pace, which I drive anyway, I can get pretty close to its advertised range. But the fact is, we bought our Leaf with a purpose in mind: to get my wife back and forth to work, and it's only 12 miles each way. It does that job for less than $1/day. Forget range anxiety...let's talk gas pump anxiety for those suckers getting 20mpg and paying $3.50/gallon.
        Aaron Schwarz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @james
        I love "Pump Anxiety", I see people putting $60 to $100 worth in their SUV's at the pump and chuckle!
      Andrew Richard Rose
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just shows you " If you build it , they will come ", the customers that is ! I would buy one tomorrow if I could , However the powers that be here in Italy have sucessfully managed to derail the introduction of this car . It does look as if Italy will be the only european state where you can not buy a leaf !
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      The whole "Range Anxiety" meme was a disaster from day one and I said so loudly. They were basically creating a campaign that would be BASHING THEIR OWN FUTURE CARS! Of course GM would eventually offer a pure EV . . . and the slow adoption of the Volt makes this seem like it will happen sooner rather than later. And now GM is on record mocking that pure EV. Idiots. Complete Idiots.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        @Spec . Saying something loudly or softly, doesn't alter the veracity! There is no, 'Slow adoption of Volts', there is a waiting list of buyers! It may surprise you, but GM's ad agency were aiming at t EV converts, nor potential Leaf buyers! The Ad's are deigned to attract ICE buyers. Only a tiny group of EV fans, would think that GM was talking about "mocking pure EV's". Joe Public neither knows, nor cares! GM's product is primarily aimed at the executive fleet market. This market has little knowledge of the petty politics of EV enthusiasts, they just want reassurance that the car will not run out of electric range and leave them stranded. In you passion for EV's and your hatred of GM, you're taking this way out of context!
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          I don't hate GM . . . I want them to succeed and that is why I get mad when they do something so stupid as to criticize their own future products. Although it is difficult to tell what is real and what is hype from the Leaf/Volt sales numbers, I do think the Leaf has been more successful due to the lower price. If there were really a lot of demand for the Volt, I think GM could ratchet up production if they wanted. If they have far more buyers than they can build then why bother advertising it at all? I know they want the 'halo' effect but there is only so much advertising you'll spend for that.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Look at what this report really does say. It confirms that 35% of buyers who had decided to purchase a Leaf (or similar EV) were content with their purchase, and become comfortable with the range limitations of their purchase. That's great news, and only to be expected from well informed, EV adopters, who knew, and understood, the limitations of the vehicle they were buying, and went ahead and purchased it anyway. This is easily understandable, since the sort of person who would purchase a Leaf, would be loyal to his purchase! ,(and his commitment to EV ideology) Well done, great news, and testimony to the great quality of the Nissan Leaf as a product! But, how on earth this information can be used to further the 'beat-up' ABG, invented 'war' between Volt and Leaf is absurd! You could go to Volt owners and ask the same question: "Are you glad you bought the versatile Volt when you drive longer distances?" I'll bet 35% of happy Volt owners would reply in the affirmative. So what? Great! GM Volt lovers are happy with their purchase as well. This is really Good news! I wish ABG, would stop attacking GM's Volt on a misinterpretation of the advertisement. Leaf appeals to EV buyers. GM, is trying to appeal to a different market. GM advertising is aimed at converting traditional ICE buyers to the Volt, by reassuring them that there is no range anxiety. How does Mark Sumer and Eric Loveday imagine that EV adoption is aided, by creating a non-existing conflict between the only two volume PIEV makers?
        throwback
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Well said, even a cursory look at GMs advertising would show its aimed at people who want more range than the Leaf delivers.
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      No range anxiety here, 8 months and 8400 miles on. Still some infrastructure anxiety, being as I can't count on a public charger being available everywhere I go yet (with there still being so few), so I always plan longer distances with plans B and C (sometimes even a plan D) for charging. But otherwise I'm doing good. Still eventually want a pure EV with 300 miles range though! LOL!
        Schmart Guy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        Wow! You're really babying it, compared to some of these guys. http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=5712 I would imagine the TaylorSFGuy guy with a 130 mile round trip commute, is probably charging at work. With over 13k miles in 4 months, he is putting some serious miles on his LEAF.
          Michael Walsh
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Schmart Guy
          I'd be doing more, except that I'm furloughed 2 days a week from work right now. On another note.....EV enthusiast and environmentally aware IT professional available part-time in the South Los Angeles/Orange County area. Salary negotiable! ; )
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        are you related to Brandon and Brenda Walsh? : )
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