Overcoming Range Anxiety with Electric Vehicles

Zero emissions. Lower maintenance. Cheaper running costs.

These are just some of the reasons why electric vehicles are gaining popularity for everyday use and breathing new life into collectable classics. 

Electric transportation is a relatively young technology. Historical teething problems such as an immature infrastructure have contributed to EV range anxiety – a fear of running out of power. 

Before this potential worry becomes a deciding factor in whether you buy a new EV or undertake a Land Rover to electric conversion, let’s take an in-depth look at range anxiety, what it is and how you can manage your fear.

Understanding Range Anxiety: What is it?

EV owners sometimes refer to having range anxiety, meaning they’re afraid their car will run out of power before reaching their planned destination. It’s not unique to electric cars. Drivers of traditional cars can also fear running out of fuel, particularly if they’re somewhere unfamiliar. 

The difference is that the refuelling infrastructure for traditional cars is well-embedded and you’re likely to come across a petrol station more frequently than a charging station. At least, that’s the perception. 

While the emotion is real, it’s often unnecessary. In just a few years, the EV infrastructure has grown from around 7,000 public charging points in 2017 to 31,000+ in 2022.   

Increasing Battery Range in EVs

The size of the battery determines how far you can go on a single charge on paper. Technology improvements mean more and more EVs with 200+ mile ranges are available, and cars with ranges of 300+ miles are also starting to emerge. 

Speed, terrain, and temperature can affect how far your car will actually go between charges. Buying a brand-new electric car or committing to a long-term project like a Land Rover electric conversion can be a huge investment, so you should analyse your planned vehicle usage before you take the plunge. 

Mapping Out Charging Stations

Know where the nearest charging stations are along your route before you set out. With a growing network of public charge points, including rapid chargers, you should never be too far from a usable machine. 

Apps such as ChargePoint and Zap-Map identify all of the charge stations between points A and B. Many apps will advise you if the charger is in use or faulty in advance. 

Navigating Long Trips with Confidence

Long trips can be particularly problematic, especially if your journey is going to take you close to your car’s range limit. That anxiety can be exasperated if you’re driving a vintage car since the last thing you want is for your pride and joy to be towed! 

Pre-planning your route can reduce the stress of long journeys. Many apps can tell you the exact distance between two points and allow you to add in extra stops.

Planning Efficient Routes

Planning out journeys is reassuring in more ways than one. In addition to feeling more confident about where you can stop and charge, you can even use apps to plan more energy-efficient routes. Minimising your time on motorways, incorporating more hills and stop-and-go city driving allows you to make more extensive use of regenerative braking, stretching your range. 

Optimising Driving Habits for Extended Range

Be gentle. 

Go easy on the accelerator or brake. Avoid excessive speeds, which can drain power more quickly. 

Take advantage of regenerative braking, which transforms kinetic energy into electrical energy to recharge your battery. You won’t get a full recharge, but you can usually get a few more miles before needing to charge up again. 

Many Land Rover Series owners are well-versed in the need to practise mindful driving. After all, you’ve invested time and money into a passion project like a Defender electric conversion, so you want it to hold its value.  

Managing Energy Consumption

A few quick wins can manage your car’s energy consumption. Environmental controls are heavy energy users, so turn off the AC or heating to save energy. 

Travelling light can help you to drive more efficiently. Weight may be less of an issue for a converted Land Rover since they tend to be more compact and lighter, plus after months of careful restoration, attaching a bike rack to the top is probably the furthest thing from your mind. 

Misconceptions about Electric Vehicles

Historical rumours have significantly contributed to range anxiety about electric vehicles, but the technology has vastly improved. 

“I won’t have enough battery range!”

EV battery sizes are increasing all the time, but the majority of car journeys are less than 100 miles – most modern EVs cope easily. 

“The battery will need replacing after 5 years!”

Thus far, the evidence implies that EV lifespan is not materially different from traditional vehicles. Plus, most EV batteries come with 8-year (or 100,000 miles) warranties for added peace of mind. 

Many of the misconceptions about EVs are unfounded, and the technology grows stronger with each passing day.

Ensuring Long-Term Performance and Range

Regular maintenance and servicing help keep your vehicle in good working condition, but like all rechargeable batteries, your EV’s battery performance will start to lose its ability to store a full charge. 

Keeping the battery topped up between 20-80% rather than a full charge all the time can prolong its lifespan. Slower charging can slow the deterioration as the battery gets less hot. 

To understand whether the performance is healthy, monitor your battery periodically. The key measurement is your available range after a full battery charge. If you get a sudden drop in range, there may be an issue with the battery. 

Exploring Options for Additional Electric Vehicle Range

There are a number of ways to add range to your EV:

  • Replace the battery with a newer, more powerful one: At Electric Car Converts, we know that converting a classic car to electric is a labour of love and can be expensive, so fitting a smaller battery pack to be replaced at a later date is viable.
  • Get CCS rapid charging installed: Instead of larger battery packs, at Electric Car Converts we prefer to install faster charging, so you can simply charge your conversion up in 20-30 minutes when on a longer journey. 

If you’re looking to invest in a new EV-converted Land Rover, don’t be put off by range anxiety. Follow our suggestions to maximise energy efficiency or increase the maximum range and keep EV range anxiety at bay. At Electric Car Converts, we’ve converted many heritage vehicles, including multiple classic Land Rovers. We combine our passion for classic cars (especially Land Rovers) with our technical know-how to offer a bespoke electric conversion service to get your vehicle out on Britain’s roads, achieving maximum ranges.

Reviewed by Barnaby BirkbeckFounder & Head Electrical Engineer, in 2023.