There's no doubt that the range display in the new Chevy Bolt EV is pretty slick. In fact, GM has said that it was designed specifically to give electric vehicle drivers confidence in their new EV – and, remember, GM wants there to be a lot of new EV drivers given the Bolt's low-price-high-range package. So, the range numbers in the dashboard get displayed in a friendly way, with your expected range plus a more theoretical maximum and minimum range depending on how you drive.

It's sort of like the display set-up described in this new GM patent, filed June 4, 2015 but published yesterday for the, "Display of Total Vehicles Trip Range That Is Intuitive And Minimizes Range Anxiety":

Because electric vehicles employ a relatively new technology advancement, the time required for recharging the vehicle batteries and the lack of available publicly accessible charging stations can cause electric vehicle drivers to have anxiety regarding the remaining driving range that the vehicle may have for completing their current trip. Existing vehicles are equipped with on-board computer and display systems that calculate an estimated remaining driving range of the vehicle that is displayed for the driver. However, a driver may have a concept of a total distance that is required for their trip, but in the midst of their trip they may have no idea of how much of the trip has been completed and therefore they may not have any idea of how much further distance is remaining in their planned trip. As the remaining driving range distance decreases, the driver can experience anxiety and concern with running out of power to complete a trip or to get to a charging station. Therefore, it is beneficial to a driver of an electric vehicle to have additional information that helps them reduce their range anxiety.

What's interesting here is that GM has been talking about range anxiety for years, going so far as to trademark the term in 2010 (it later let it go). That didn't go over so well with other electric vehicle companies at the time (see these responses from Tesla and the now-defunct Think), and MIT said this year that, 87 percent of "vehicle-days" in the US, "could be met by an existing, affordable electric vehicle."

In other words, range anxiety was always more hype than reality, and now that GM's getting into the BEV game for real, it needs to tone down the whole range anxiety thing to get people to want to buy a Bolt. If only someone had warned them not to go down this road [/smugness]. It's funny how even now, with the long-range Bolt EV finally coming to market, GM can't get away from the range anxiety terminology.

In any case, when you get behind the wheel of a Bolt in a test drive, remember that knowing how many miles you have until empty is beneficial. Because of course it is.

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