Next to complaints about the high price, range anxiety seems to be the biggest concern people have about electric vehicles.
Owners of cellphones can identify with electric-vehicle owners - both are at the mercy of their batteries.
While being cut off in the middle of a call can be inconvenient or annoying, running dry in an electric car can mean being stranded at the side of the road waiting for a tow.
While range anxiety has become something of a buzz phrase, most EV owners usually find it a non-issue after a few months.
Most of us are used to the range we can get out of our gasoline-powered cars. We know at a glance at the fuel gauge how much driving we can do before having to pop into a gas station for a fill-up. The more efficient the car, the fewer fill-ups, naturally.
Living with an EV is the same. I know my car will get me between 80 and 100 kilometres between fill-ups. As I rarely travel more than 40 kilometres a day, I know I only have to charge up every other day.
The difference it that I don't have to find a gas station every time - my charger is at home. I just park my car and plug it in every night. Some people may wish to run down their batteries almost to empty before each recharge, but I find it just as convenient to plug it in after I get home every night.
A full battery greeting me every morning means that if there is an extra chore or trip I need to make in a day, I won't have to worry about range.
Sure, someone who has a commute of 100 kilometres a day may chew his nails on the last few kilometres to home. But the question is why anybody would put themselves through the anguish - get a regular car or buy one that reverts back to a gasoline engine when the battery runs dry.
By their nature, battery electric cars are city cars. On a recent 6,000-kilometre road trip, I saw few signs for electric chargers on the road.
Even if they were more common, it would not change the Achilles heel of EVs on the road - the time it takes to charge the car. A Level 2 charger, like the one installed in homes, charges an EV in about seven to eight hours.
A commercial Level 3 unit can take an almost empty EV to 80 per cent in 20 to 30 minutes. Drivers would have to stop every 100 kilometres, or every hour or so, to charge the car. Pumping 60 litres of gas, by comparison, only takes a few minutes.
For those who are forgetful about recharging regularly, there is hope. The American Automobile Association recently announced a pilot program in six cities where it will dispatch a truck equipped with a portable Level 3 charger to get EV motorists on their way. There are also smartphone apps that give drivers locations of nearby charging stations in unfamiliar cities.
Electric vehicles aren't for everyone. But those willing to adopt the new technology won't need to worry about range anxiety after they become familiar with their vehicles - as long as they aren't planning much long-distance travel.
firstname.lastname@example.org Follow me on Twitter: @pedrothecarguy EV Microsite: timescolonist.com/pluggedin
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