The Reality of EV ‘Charging Anxiety’: A Positive Outlook

Note: The Automobile Association Ltd. (AA) provides roadside assistance and vehicles servicing in the U.K. The Company offers breakdown coverage, home emergency response, automobile hire, driving lessons, vehicle inspections, insurance and financial products, travel, repairs, and other services.

Electric vehicles have been around for years, but it’s only in recent years that they’ve become truly viable for everyday consumers. However, there remains a common perception that charging difficulties frequently lead to breakdowns, and ‘range anxiety’ forbids EV adoption. It’s been suggested these unfounded concerns have limited the uptake of EVs, on the other hand, common sense would suggest that such worries would be gradually overcome as charging infrastructure improves. Despite the sensationalist headlines, new research published by the AA reveals that the reality is a lot more reassuring than the myth: the proportion of electric vehicles running out of charge fell by over 70% in the past few years.

Four years ago, EV breakdowns due to out-of-charge vehicles were at 8% of all EV breakdowns. But the proportion of these kind of breakdowns reduced to 4% of all EV breakdowns last year and is now at a remarkable 2.1%. What’s more, so far this year, only 2.86% of the total breakdown calls the AA has responded to are for electric vehicles, so the proportion of these has been falling rapidly. In May 2021, 2.83% of the calls were from electric vehicles, equating to 7,428 individual callouts. However, for the first time this year, the proportion of EVs calling out of charge was less than 2%, making up just 1.8% of all EV breakdowns in May.

According to Edmund King, the president of the AA, the decrease in the proportion of EVs running out of charge shows that people’s worries about charging and range are not in line with the facts on the ground. King adds that the 70% decrease in out-of-charge breakdowns clearly shows an improvement in education, range, and infrastructure, leading to a better driving experience for EV drivers.

King concludes that the decrease in out-of-charge breakdowns is from the longer ranges in new EVs, with reliability and availability expanding for public charging stations. Moreover, people have increasingly installed home and work charging points, and drivers have become better informed about when and where they can charge their EV.

With such positive research from the AA, it’s clear that conventional perceptions of “range anxiety” are beginning to disappear. Improvements to EV range and charging facilities seem to be paying off significantly, giving more and more EV owners an increased level of confidence. With EV ownership taking off and more manufacturers releasing models with longer ranges, it is likely that these improvements will continue to boost the uptake of EVs in the future. Finally, it’s vital to remember that some of the concerns surrounding EV ownership are exaggerated or unfounded, so it’s important to look at the facts and make an educated decision.