"Range Anxiety" is Real, Say Out-of-Juice Leaf Drivers

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They held a two-day electric car symposium in Palo Alto, California last week -- and some participants driving electric cars ran out of juice arriving or leaving the conference. It just shows that "range anxiety" is very real.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it means constantly worrying about how much power your all-electric car has left.

Three different participants at "Charged 2011" shared their stories about running out of battery power in their Nissan Leafs, according to a report from GreenTechMedia.com.

One man, Rami Branitzky, managing director of SAP Labs, said about a half an hour after he left the conference, he got a warning light of a low battery. He was able to park the car at a friend's house nearby, who drove him home in an old fashioned gasoline car.

Still, Branitzky called the Leaf a “fantastic” car, but that it comes with the "mother of all range anxieties.”

Clean transportation advocate John Boesel just made it to the conference after driving 65 miles from his home. He needed a charge, but none of the parking lot chargers was available. He had to find a charge somewhere else.

Boesel drove a gas car to the second day of the conference.

Dhaval Brahmbhatt, CEO of a startup company that produces electronics for charging networks, said his Leaf died one night a few weeks ago during a rainstorm in a crummy section of Oakland. He had to be towed home.

“My wife said, ‘Give it back,’” he said.

GreenTechMedia writes:

While the speakers weren’t anti-EV, the first-hand anecdotes underscored the need for public charging networks and stations, the need for new EV owners to think about their routes and energy consumption, and the need for EV manufacturers to beef up their technology.

The Leaf is supposed to have a maximum range of about 96 miles -- but that is only if you drive it extremely cautiously and conservatively. Brahmbhatt said the range is more like 80. But, he said because dealers recommend not fully depleting the battery, the range might even be closer to 60 miles.

Range anxiety indeed!

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