Snap Judgment: Do You Suffer from Range Anxiety?

It’s okay. We won’t judge you.

As automotive enthusiasts, we all wonder when the last drop of fuel will run out. But as alternative powertrain technology becomes more mainstream, the anxiety of running out of diesel fuel or electric power is a worry looming increasingly large in drivers’ minds.

The Wall Street Journal reports that General Motors has applied for a patent on the term “range anxiety,” presumably in advance of the launch of its extended-range Volt plug-in hybrid. While the concept is nothing new, the upcoming flurry of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids has given new meaning to the worry.

Our recent tests of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Ford Transit Connect electric have given renewed hope to the concept of a mainstream electric vehicle. But, as the summer driving season is coming to an end, rationalizing a short-range vehicle to take long trips may not allay American drivers’ fears.

Can range anxiety apply as easily to fuel-gorging pickups with large gas tanks as it can to economical hatchbacks with tiny tanks? And are the recent entries to the electric vehicle market (the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf) appealing enough to push away the fear of sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a recharge?

Today’s Snap Judgment:

Do you suffer from range anxiety?

Let us know what you think over the long Labor Day weekend.

Disclaimer: This is not a clinical diagnosis. We want to help. Contact someone you trust if symptoms of range anxiety persist after topping off the tank.

Source: The Wall Street Journal