When electric cars first started appearing on our roads, TreeHugger was full of posts discussing range anxiety. Whether it's because of the rapid spread of charging networks or the realization that many car owners really don't drive that far on a daily basis, the chatter about dead batteries and stranded motorists appears to have died down somewhat.
Still, Robert Llewellyn—who's been tooling around in a first generation Nissan Leaf for some time now—keeps getting asked "what happens when it runs out of batteries." So, in the interests of science and public entertainment, he decided to find out. (The fact that he had no idea tells you something about range anxiety already.)
The short answer is that the stated range isn't really the range. There's a little hidden juice in there to limp you to a charging point somewhere.