EV Range Anxiety You Can Feel

By July 30, 2013Blog

A couple of weeks ago, I had to go out of town on a business trip. My drive to LAX is about 30 miles, which isn’t a big deal, but EV drivers have to pay to charge and it’s all uphill on the way back (uphill driving uses more juice).  Consequently, I opted to take my wife’s hybrid while she drove my Ford Focus Electric for the first time.

Her EV range anxiety story follows (a big thanks to my wife, Tanya, for being a good sport and letting me post this):

[quote ]My husband, a Ford Focus Electric vehicle driver, recently took a trip where he needed to take my Ford Escape Hybrid. I was excited to drive a brand new car! Super excited about the Sirius XM channels (Alt 80’s, here I come!) and I was completely exuberant about being able to drive in the carpool lane.

My first day driving the EV was awesome! I was jamming to my 80s tunes, driving in the carpool lane and happy that I got to work 15 minutes earlier than normal. Being that we live in LA and it was summer – it was a baker so thank goodness the Ford Focus EV has really powerful AC!

All was going great until I realized that I was eating power like a hungry Pac-Man (Yes, I am dating myself but the 80s channel should have told you that already).

On my way home, I started to look down at the electric charge status and was startled to see that my 75-mile range was now down to 35 miles. How could that be when I only live 18 miles from work?! As my husband was traveling, I had to drop off my son at school (uphill from my house), drive to work (18 miles), drive to my in-laws to pick up my son (uphill) and then drive us home (uphill and coast downhill to home). By the time we got home, I only had 10 miles left on the battery charge. I was freaked out to say the least.

Well, in the next few days, I learned that the AC takes power, the radio takes power, and that your braking could actually give you back some power.

(Aside: I need to apologize to all of those So Cal drivers who were giving me a certain hand gesture because I was driving 45 miles per hour in the car pool lane in order to save on my battery.)

By the third day of driving the EV, I was sweating profusely (no AC), listening to traffic (no XM), and so panicked that I wouldn’t get home that I made my in-laws take their phone with them wherever they went as I was sure that the car would die on my way home. Sure enough, as I was cresting the hill to our exit ramp, the 10-mile warning light turned on. I was just praying that I could make it to the top of the hill and coast down to our house, which fortunately did happen.

The minute Brad got home I almost threw the keys at him and said – ‘I want my hybrid back!’ I loved his car, the XM, and the carpool lane, but the fear of ‘running out of gas’ turned the awesome experience into a nightmare for me. I really want my next car to be an electric vehicle, but I think I need EV therapy and a longer charge range.

At the very least, my very large building needs to put in a few dozen charge stations which I believe would resolve my ‘running out of gas’ fears.[/quote]

So there you go, EV range anxiety in its purest, rawest form.  And this story is from someone who has graciously allowed me to immerse myself, and our entire family, in the EV industry.

Despite all of that, in order for my wife to want an EV, she’s still waiting for the following:

  1. Her company to provide EV charging stations in the parking lot
  2. An EV with a bigger or longer-lasting battery so she can run her AC at full tilt all the time
  3. Alternative charging options that make charging up as convenient gassing up

We’re doing what we can for numbers 1 and 3, but the industry and infrastructure have a long way to go.  At EV Connect, we’re proud to be here at this stage in EV history and we’re glad you are too.

Hey Tanya – Send me the name of your building’s parking manager, so we can EVangelize their parking lot!

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