A New Type of Anxiety

Anxiety is probably one of the defining feelings of modern life. We’re anxious about money, the future and how good-looking we are. We’re even anxious about our leisure time.

People who follow the evolution and popularization of the electric vehicles (EV) probably know about another type of anxiety, which has been diagnosed as range anxiety. It’s simple: because charging points are not as ubiquitous as gas stations, drivers fear they could run out of power before they can recharge their electric car battery again. But that is set to change, at least in some places to begin with.

The UK, for example, is on a drive to promote electric vehicles. The country will play host to a festival called EcoVelocity that will take place between September 8th and 11th at the iconic Battersea Power Station. During those days potential EV drivers will be able to see firsthand the latest in electric driving.

But here’s where range anxiety kicks in. According to the BBC, there are only 704 charging points in the UK and two-thirds of them are in towns with a population of more than 100,000 people. To improve the situation, the Department of Transport has promised to install 9,000 points by April 2013 and thus assuage British EV drivers’ range anxiety.

Currently there are 3,000 electric cars on British roads, out of a total of 30 million units. One of them is owned by radio DJ Mark Goodier, who drives a Nissan Leaf and powers it with solar energy, the ultimate green driving experience. Goodier told EcoVelocity that EVs actually helped him overcome his anxiety in relation to his fellow DJ Johnnie Walker, a technophile who was always outgeeking him with the latest gadgets. Now Walker will be hard-pressed to find a gadget that gets anywhere near such a feat of geekery. Perhaps that’s what range anxiety may come to mean in the future.