Maybe there is an unexpected trip I have to take, or maybe I forgot to plug in the night before. But in either case, the range indicator is near or maybe even below the required distance I need to travel. But, do I cower with fear? Am I paralyzed by this "Range Anxiety" that I read about online so frequently? My answer is a resounding "No." I laugh at the thought. Ha ha ha ha! Can you hear me laughing?
Yes, I am a seasoned EV (electric vehicle) driver. I know how to double my available range, or sometimes increase it even greater than a factor of two. I will share my strategy on how I take on this challenge.
The Heater is NOT your friend
Turn that heater off. Turn off the blower. If you are having trouble with window fog, run the defrost intermittently when needed and set it to a lower temperature to minimize power draw. If it is not raining, opening the window will get rid of window fog. Keep a blanket or two in the back for passengers' comfort. Many EVs have heated seats and sometimes a heated steering wheel. These are much more efficient, but only use if required.
If it is broad daylight, turn off the automatic headlights. If it is dawn or early evening, just have your running lights on. Obey local headlight law minimums and be aware of any special safety conditions. Only use the headlights as required.
Speed VS Distance
High speed is also your enemy. I use Waze navigation app to help me with this. Under navigation settings, select "avoid freeways." Usually taking the back roads is a shorter distance, but not always. Driving closer to 35 MPH instead of 60 or 70 MPH greatly increases your range. Slow moving heavy traffic also increases your range. As a side benefit, you may also see some scenic views that you have never seen before.
Turn off your radio to save a small bit more power. Some EVs have the ability to turn off the console display (the one that shows non-essential items, such as the time and what station you are tuned to). Turn down dash display brightness.
Drive with a 3-D mindset. What is the general elevation of your current location? What is the elevation of your destination? If you are driving to a lower elevation, GREAT! You are going to get some "free" distance. If your destination has a higher elevation, keep in mind that it is going to take more energy to climb to that elevation.
Have accounts with several charging station networks, like ChargePoint, Semaconnect, Blink, etc. I make note of those charging stations where I can catch a cup of coffee and cop a kWh or two. Places like hospitals and park & rides can also have charging stations. Tell your representatives that you want more charging stations available to the public. The Koch brothers have a lot to do with the limited availability of charging stations that we see today. Talk to your electric utility company about EV charging station projects that they may have in the works. Let them know that you want to see them plan or finish those projects. It helps them to know that there is a demand.
What if I do run out of energy?
Don't panic! It's not that big of a deal if you have AAA or other auto club membership. When you request a tow truck, ensure that you request a flat bed tow truck. You want your EV loaded onto the bed of the truck, not towed behind. Towing an EV with its wheels on the road can damage your EV. Have the tow truck deliver your EV to a place where you can charge. The tow truck driver will help you push your car into position to charge.