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As if all of the other hazards of driving weren't enough, a recent CNN report highlights a new phenomenon facing motorists. Range anxiety, a new phrase popular with drivers (and potential buyers) of electric vehicles, describes the distress that can be associated with the limited range of current battery-powered vehicles. Plug-in electric vehicles generally get between 25 and 100 miles on a full charge, whereas vehicles with internal combustion engines often go 300 miles or more on a fill-up. And gas stations are everywhere—there are more than 160,000 nationwide. There are only a few hundred working electrical charging stations in the country. The good news is that technology can provide the "professional help" you need to overcome your fears.

To prevent range anxiety, electric vehicle drivers often plan trips based on where they can charge their vehicles. The problem will be aided by the growing number of charging stations, of course. But other help is available as well. Electric vehicles that are part of the Better Place solution offer dashboard displays from which drivers can access an advanced network that provides energy monitoring and energy planning. Once you've got tunes pumping from your radio or MP3 player, you can use the same screen to access the vehicle's advanced telematics to check the battery's charge/range, plan your route, and locate charging or battery swap stations. If you need to access this information when you're not behind the wheel, some vehicles allow smartphone applications to offer energy management, trip data, and other functionality (e.g., access to engine start, climate control, and door locks) remotely.