Range Anxiety: What It is and Why Batteries Cause It

If you are one of the comparatively few who own electric car, it is also possible that you could suffer from a somewhat rare condition known as range anxiety. It is a condition that directly correlates to your constant worries over whether or not you have enough juice left in your batteries to get where you are going.

Before electric cars actually became a thing, a similar form of anxiety caused people to do things the otherwise wouldn’t do. For example, photographers would carry around pounds of extra alkaline batteries so they would never miss a shot. Campers and hikers would add extra weight to their backpacks by carrying several sets of spare batteries for their flashlights and radios. Extra batteries were always necessary because you never knew when you’d be out of power.

Batteries in the EV World

Running out of juice when you are trying to take pictures or listen to the radio is no big deal. It is a minor inconvenience at best. But what if you’re driving? Driving an electric vehicle (EV) means relying on batteries in ways you have never had to before. It’s more than a minor inconvenience to be caught on the road without power.

Carmakers know this. They also know that poor battery range is one of the chief reasons EVs still have not taken off. Simply put, the masses are not going to buy an EV that only gives them 100-200 miles between charges. A typical gasoline car can go 300-400 miles. In addition, you can find a gas station every couple of blocks.

Range vs. Life

There is another thing to consider here, explains Utah-based Pale Blue Earth, makers of USB rechargeable lithium ion batteries. They say consumers are also concerned about battery life. Where range describes how long a battery can be used between charges, life relates to the number of times a battery can be recharged.

Alkaline batteries are single-use products. They cannot be recharged after discharge. Conversely, a good lithium ion battery can be charged thousands of times. Unfortunately, lithium-ion batteries still do not offer a long enough life to satisfy car buyers.

Your typical EV warranty protects batteries for about eight years or 150,000 miles. That is not much when you consider the average internal combustion car engine can easily run for 20 years or longer if you take care of it. So even if battery makers can extend range, it will not do much unless they can also extend life.

A Potential Solution

Fortunately, sufferers of range anxiety may be looking at a solution in the near future. According to several reports, a Chinese company that supplies the majority of the world’s EV batteries has come up with one they say has a life of more than 1 million miles, or 16 years. The company says they are ready to start producing the batteries for any carmaker who wants them.

The company, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., hasn’t said exactly how they have accomplished such a feat. Some speculate they capitalized on research published in 2019 out of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

That research was released to the scientific community in hopes that others would take it and expand on it. Thus no one is accusing China of stealing the technology. Nonetheless, the Chinese appear ready to start selling their remarkable batteries to a number of interested buyers, Tesla being among them.

Now you know all about range anxiety and why batteries cause it. Canadian researchers may have found a cure, a cure that a Chinese battery manufacturer is now selling.