What is range anxiety?

‘Range anxiety’ is the worry caused to electric car drivers that the car battery will run out before they reach the next charge point leaving them stranded.

Current models of electric vehicle have a typical range between 70-90 miles before the next charge is required.

According to the Electric Vehicle Network that manages a database of electric charge points, the UK currently has more than 200 charge points.  Most of these are located in major cities, particularly London with a much smaller proportion located in less densely populated areas.

Recently the BBC journalist Brian Milligan drove an electric Mini from London to Scotland to test the current supply of charge points.  He made the 484 miles in 4 days although there were some nervous moments.  In particular the last stretch between Northumberland (where he charged at the Battlesteads Hotel) and Edinburgh was tricky as it required an 87.1 mile drive despite the fact the Mini was managing a range of 70-80 miles.  Luckily a new charging point had just been installed the previous week in North Berwick cutting down the journey to 70 miles.

It should be remembered though that it is still early days for the electric car in the UK.  To encourage the public take up of electric vehicles the government is offering a £5,000 Plug-In Car Grant from 2011 towards the cost of a new electric car.  This year motorists only have the Mitsubishi i-MiEV to buy but by 2012 motorists will have the choice of a range of around 10 fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

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