range anxiety

15 04 2010

This is the worry that the electric car you are driving is running out of battery charge. I myself don’t drive an electric car, as yet, but I can understand the anxiety, because I experience it in regard to my laptop when I’m not electrically connected. Even though there’s a little icon I can click on to tell me the current status of the battery charge, I’m not able to relax. I know that as soon as I turn my back as it were, the remaining charge will shoot down to zero and I’ll be left low-and-dry. I learned about range anxiety from an article called “Language for a New World, by Richard Chang, writing for The New York Times (14/4/10). Chang says that with the drive to alternative energy sources, new language is creeping in. Like range anxiety; and the diva, the name given to the battery at one stage of development  “because of the way it has to be treated”; the drag count , a calculation that, for instance, can mean that streamlining the side mirrors will save on drag and thereby slightly increase the battery’s range (every bit counts); the “limp home” feature, a small reserve in the battery in case of emergency.  In regard to the umbrella term range anxiety, Chang quips that it’s all about who’s in charge – you or your battery.

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