As uneasy as it may be to drive a fuel powered vehicle nearing empty, it is even more worrisome to drive with one eye on the state-of-charge gauge of an electric vehicle; hoping to reach the nearest charging station.
Though some of the latest electric vehicles (EVs), can run for more than 400kms on a single charge, range anxiety remains a common consideration for many owners of electric vehicles.
Thankfully, it is possible to drive further on one charge and add a few more kilometres to your drive with these easy and realistic adjustments to your driving pattern.
- Drive Smoothly
Simply put, ‘driving like you stole it’, drains your EV’s battery at an accelerated rate. As tempting as it is to leverage an EV’s instantaneous torque for quick take offs, it’s more prudent to take it easy when accelerating from a standing start.
2. Slow Down
Try to keep your speed at or under 60km/ph whenever possible. You’ll not only avoid getting a speeding ticket, but you’ll bolster your battery range in the process. Engage the “Eco” mode of your EV for gentler acceleration and general driving. Of course, if you EV has “Sport” mode, you’ll have to keep that switched off until you have recharged and are ready for a more lively drive.
3. Maximize Regenerative Braking
Whenever possible, leverage your EV’s energy-recovering regenerative braking function as you come to a stop, and use the brakes only when necessary. Enable your car’s maximum regenerative setting to send extra power back to the vehicle’s batteries while decelerating.
4. Go Easy On The Heat
Running an EV’s heater, especially at full blast, puts a big drain on battery power. In cooler temperatures, dial down the climate control and rather rely on the heated seats and heated steering wheel (if your vehicle is equipped with these creature comforts) to keep things cozy.
5. Be Cool With The AC
Likewise, operating the air conditioning consumes battery power at a quick rate. Try running only the fan, and not the compressor whenever possible; driving with the windows open is an obvious alternative. Unfortunately, the latter will take a toll on your vehicle’s aerodynamics at higher speeds and, in turn, reduce its operating range slightly. That’s because the more aerodynamic “drag” that’s placed on a vehicle, the more energy it takes to run it, especially at higher speeds. Still, operating the AC at full chill will drain the battery far quicker than will driving with the windows down. Again, pre-cool the car in summer months while it’s charging to help reduce the need to run the AC once you hit the road.
6. Tend To The Tyres
Sources suggest that over 25% of all vehicles on the road have improperly inflated tires. As with a conventional vehicle, driving an EV with under-inflated tyres will not only increase its energy consumption, but can lead to uneven and/or premature tread wear. Check the air pressure frequently using a simple tyre gauge, as it can vary by an average of one PSI (pound per square inch) with every 10-degree (Celsius) change in air temperature. Have the tyres properly inflated according to the PSI recommended by the automaker. This information is usually noted on a sticker that’s affixed to the driver’s side door frame or within the fuel cap.
7. Travel Light
As any automotive engineer will tell you, reducing a vehicle’s weight is the easiest way to boost its efficiency. To that end, get the junk out of the trunk, as carrying an additional 45kg of luggage can increase a vehicle’s energy consumption by 1-2% percent.
8. Keep It Slick
Avoid installing exterior accessories like roof racks and cargo carriers on your EV. Again, the aforementioned aerodynamic drag such items create will cause added energy consumption at higher speeds.
9. Plan A More-Efficient Route
It may take less time to get to a given destination by driving on the highway, but you can help maximize your car’s operating range by opting to choose a route that allows you to drive steadily at lower speeds. Avoid high traffic areas, steep gradients and hilly or mountainous areas whenever possible. If your EV has a navigation system that can suggest energy-efficient routes, be sure to use it.
10. Time Your Charge
You may not want to keep your car plugged into its charger whenever it’s in the garage. That’s because most EV batteries will slowly self-discharge when they’ve finished charging. You may be able to recover a few extra miles of range by timing the charge so the battery pack is at full strength just before you hit the road. This can also be advantageous to the battery’s long-term health.