Owning a Tesla has definitely given me Range Anxiety

Owning a Tesla has definitely given me Range Anxiety

Owning a Model S has truly taught me about range anxiety. However, it is the opposite of what most people assumed. In all honesty, I now have range anxiety much worse than ever before -- when I'm in my ICE cars.

I have two ICEs and two motorcycles in the family. And now, it seems like every time I choose (or get stuck) to use one of the ICEs, I need to stop at the gas station. I know that factually, this isn't the case...but it sure feels like it. Every time I get into one, I nervously look at the gas gauge to estimate my range and whether I'll be inconvenienced.

I'm not even joking or trying to be cute. And sure, with ICEs it's a question of being "inconvenienced" by a stop at a filling station, not the greater fear of being stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow. That said, I have NO such anxiety in my 85 Kwh Tesla. Every day, its "tank" starts full, and easily handles the daily toil.

The convenience of filling at home, and starting each day full eliminates the unpredictability and the hassle of pulling in for gas.

This week, I ran out of washer fluid in the Model S. It felt awful! Now I had to run an errand to fill one of the car's tanks, and I couldn't just do it @ home overnight. I realized that this was the first time that the Model S *made me* go somewhere I didn't want to go. My ICEs do that all the time!

So, yeah. I really do have more range anxiety now. Except it's with my ICEs, and I have wipe-wash anxiety in my Tesla (now I'm joking). Home charging is awesome!

tobi_ger | 21. Juli 2013

The first paragraph made me laugh, priceless!

lolachampcar | 21. Juli 2013

Two weeks after taking delivery of a Zero last year I realized that the battery meter was of little use. It was always full in the morning and, unless I was doing something way out of the ordinary, was never a concern for the day. In short, I simply stopped thinking about it.

The bulb went off and I headed down to the Dania store where I saw the skateboard (March of last year so no cars yet). The engineering was very well done. I looked at my wife and asked her if it was too ugly to own. She looked at the pictures and said it was beautiful and the rest (two owned to date with my wife's soon to be ordered) is history.

Circling back to the OP's point, yep, ICE GGs scare me to death. My biggest source of anxiety is forgetting how to use those flip'n gas pumps.

PBEndo | 21. Juli 2013

I certainly had some range anxiety in the early days, but it dissipated quickly, as I expected it would. However, I had one experience that I had not anticipated.

My wife and I had taken separate cars (my MS and her ICE SUV) to an event about an hour away. We were returning home, late at night, and would have to leave very early the next morning to return to the same location. She called me on the way home that night and asked if we could both go in the Tesla the next morning. She was low on gas and since it was late at night she want to have to stop to refuel, or have to do it in the morning when we had to leave so early.

A light bulb went off in my head, it was an epiphany. The EV was actually more convenient to refuel than the ICE, because all I had to do was plug it in at my home and it would ready in the morning. I was already over the range anxiety issue since the car has more than enough range for my daily use. However, I had never thought it might actually be more convenient than an ICE car.

I think most people considering the EV can look at their driving habits and realize it will be capable of the range they need 99% of the time. But I think most feel that there are many times they will be inconvenienced waiting for a long charge time or changing their driving habits. I think most fail to realize that since they are leaving the house full everyday, it is actually far more convenient than an ICE car the vast majority of the time.

eadolphe | 21. Juli 2013

I had to drive our ICE SUV because we had family over and I needed an 8 passenger vehicle. About 10 miles into the trip, I looked down at the fuel gauge and it was on "E." I had a sense of panic for a second and we pulled over to get gas (just a couple of exits away). We gassed up no issues, but missed our movie.

Just then, I realized that the Tesla/EV model is a much better way to go. I always have a "full tank" when I back out of the garage.

shop | 21. Juli 2013

Three months before I got my MS I actually ran out of gas in my BMW X5 right in the middle of a major intersection. Luckily some guys hopped out of a car to help me push it out if the way. Major pain in the butt. Haven't even come close to running out of range in my MS.

cfOH | 21. Juli 2013

I've run out of gas twice in my current car of ~9 years. It gets pretty horrible mileage (turbo, AWD, etc.). The last time, while I knew I needed to get gas, it slipped my mind. Next thing I know, the car is coughing and slowing down about 1 mile from the nearest exit. And it was about 90 degrees and I had my 2-year-old daughter in the car with me. So, we got to walk (well, I carried her) to the exit. About 1/4 mile from the offramp, a guy pulls up next to us, flashes a badge, says he's an off-duty sheriff, and asks if he can give us a ride. We begrudgingly got in and he dropped us off at the gas station at the end of the off-ramp. I had to buy a $9 POS 1-gallon gas "can" (sorry...if it's not made of metal, you can't call it a "can") and walk back to my car with just enough fuel in the tank to drive back to the same gas station and fill up. Took us nearly an hour all around. I was pretty angry with myself for being so forgetful. Hopefully that little orange "empty" light won't ever plague me in the future.

Bikezion | 21. Juli 2013

I own a natural gas vehicle, if you want range anxiety buy one of those! They go about 200 miles a fill and the gas stations are few and far between. You can get a phill station to fill at home, they are good for about a half gallon an hour. Cng does have many pluses over gas, but nothing over a model s, other than purchase price.

Bennett R. | 21. Juli 2013

I'm glad to hear someone else mention this reverse range-anxiety phenomenon. I unexpectedly found that to be the case since driving it around for the first 3-4 weeks. (I took delivery on Valentine's Day).

Every time a non-Tesla owner asks if I have range anxiety, I tell them I actually have less range anxiety. I start every day with about 185 mile range, and I know that as long as I am not going on a road trip, I will never run out.

I probably ran out of gas about four times in 30+ years driving ICE's, but I don't know how many times I was either inconvenienced by having to fill up when I was running tight on time for something, or stressed by putting off the re-fueling until later because I didn't have time. (As you can probably tell, I was one who didn't usually even think about filling up until I was down to the last 2-3 gallons of a tank).

DigitalSavant | 21. Juli 2013

This is one of the first things I realized shortly after taking delivery of my S. The convenience of walking up to a "full tank" every morning is priceless. I cite this when ever someone asks me about range anxiety, after having a good laugh.

DigitalSavant | 21. Juli 2013

Waking up.. not walking up.

jjaeger | 21. Juli 2013

@Bennett R - you raise a very good point. While I never rain our of gas in my 35 years, I came close many times and each time was watching & worrying as I eventually made my way to a nearby gas station. Would inevitably happen once or twice a year (and it was the inconvenience factor that would make it a close call).

While it's only been 7 months so too early to tell, it will be interesting to see if these moments are gone now that I start each day with a full tank. I am willing to bet that you are correct and that we might actually experience fewer 'anxiety' moments over the long run. What a trip that will be...

Brian H | 21. Juli 2013

I can see an after-market here, for say using gutted and polished (e.g.) Sinclair heritage gas pumps as the holders or frames for charge cords or even HPWCs. Or maybe a DIY project for the whimsical and ambitious.

HenryT2 | 21. Juli 2013

I've only had my Model S for 2 months. And I have a "40". In theory, I'm supposed to have all kinds of rage anxiety. But I noticed in my first couple of weeks (after being stuck driving the ICE a couple of times) the "reverse range anxiety issue". As the OP mentions, seems like I have to fill up every time I get in the ICE, whereas I've stopped worrying about range on my Model S. I basically know what kind of day I'm going to have. I don't imagine that I wake up one day thinking I'm going to run some errands and suddenly turns out that I have to drive to another state. As long as I stay in the general area, I can drive all day and not have to worry about it.

justineet | 22. Juli 2013

quite a misleading title...not helpful since might mislead some who just look at the title not read the post....

c.bussert67 | 22. Juli 2013

Brian H, are you a millionare yet? If not, that idea should do the trick!
Classic! I have been mulling over what to do with my cord to make it cool. Totally fixed up my garage for the S, and my cord just lays there like, meh...
I'm going to pursue that idea of yours. Seriously, that idea just made me smack my forehead.

2-Star | 22. Juli 2013

And my outdoor charger for my one-week-old MS is housed in a little wooden hut. A plastic imitation gas pump, with the UMC cord hanging down like the gas hose, would be absolutely fabulous. I wonder if any of the majors would license some variation of their logo: e.g., Exxon, Shell, Amoco, Gulf, Arco, Chevron, etc. If not, I have seen ads in Google for full-size replicas of old gas pumps. What a cool idea for Brian H, NIck Howe or even the Tesla Accessories Store. I would buy one immediately if the price were right and the holder for the charger end were protected from the elements.

SamO | 22. Juli 2013


Post a pic, if you don't mind.

JPPTM | 22. Juli 2013

...also the old concern of sitting in traffic with the ICE running and watching the fuel gauge drop to E becomes a thing of the past. Every day on the traffic report I hear of 1 or 2 ICEs running out of gas while stuck in traffic.

Brian H | 22. Juli 2013

Nope, not there yet, but you can use PayPal to send me a $10 royalty if you go ahead.

:) !!

c.bussert67 | 22. Juli 2013

I get these hot rod catalogs at home, they have exactly what we need!
How ironic, I kinda stopped ordering stuff cause I'm done working on old piston pounders, but now I have a use for one more item...

Check it out:

2-Star | 23. Juli 2013

It would be such fun if someone made a gas pump replica, including the Gallons and Dollars dials, with a little recepticle on the right (or maybe left) side for the "nozzle" at the end of the UMC to protect the end from the elements. It could even be programmed with the rate(s) for electricity in the owner's state. Then, when the car is charging, the dials could "spin" (or LCD digits could change) while the car is charging. That design would also be GREAT for Superchargers because, in addition to being fun, it would clearly show when charging is complete. It could even show the charging rate and percentage completion.

What fun!

@SamoSam: If you email me ( I will send you pictures of my little wooden outdoor charging hutch.

BGYWGY | 23. Juli 2013

I have never accepted the range anxiety concern as a real problem for the kind of driving I do. As stated in an earlier post, I rarely just suddenly decide to just go to another state. And even if I did, being based in Boston, I can easily get to and from any state in New England.

I have noticed a new reason for some range anxiety though over the past couple nights. Each of the last two nights I have spent hours surfing everything Telsa and had my PC laptop shut down on me both nights as I just could not stop. Maybe I should watch out for that impulse to just drive off into the sunset every night once I take delivery...

peggykay | 25. Juli 2013

Totally agree that it's great to have a "full tank" every morning and never need a gas station (though I need a new way to clean my windowshield!). I had not given any thought to running out of juice in my 4 weeks of ownership until yesterday, when I drove my MS 85 KW (charged to max range) home to LA from Paso Robles (199M) and decided to skip the stop at the supercharger on the 5. Since the sales reps I'd spoken with never agreed on whether the MS would make it, I was a bit fearful, but calculations based on earlier trips (with a stop at Tejon Ranch) indicated I'd be okay. Still, I was a bit white knuckled as it quickly lost range up the big hill AFTER the supercharger, but then retained it for miles and miles on the way down. And when I made it home with 50 miles to spare, I felt truly liberated. Moral of the story: the rated range indicator seems pretty spot on (+/- 25 miles or so), even when driving fast on on big hills. Yay!

Brian H | 25. Juli 2013

If you were the playfully cruel sort, you could take someone on that drive, and show and share despairing range panic as you climbed the hill. And then smirk as you head down the other side.