In the early days of the automobile, travel required careful planning. There were no convenient places to fill up your car—gasoline had to be obtained at “bulk depots” located outside of the cities. In 1905 the first gas station was born. Early adopters of the automobile had what we now call “range anxiety,” a fear of running out of fuel. By 1930, the number of gas stations increased to 100,000, AAA was offering emergency roadside assistance to stranded drivers, and range anxiety seemed a thing of the past. Now, with the move to electric vehicles, range anxiety is appearing once again.
Though in the U.S. 95 percent of all single-trip journeys by car are less than 30 miles, well within the range of most EVs, manufacturers are sensing reluctance to purchase all-electric vehicles due to range anxiety. Yet various strategies are emerging that can put people’s range fears to rest. From already available quick-charging stations to futuristic charging coils built into the road, companies are trying to figure out how to get people over their range anxiety.