It’s becoming more and more obvious that we are in the middle of an automotive revolution, with more and more electric cars sold each year. There are many benefits to this, as they are fun to drive, much cleaner, less likely to break down, and electricity is cheaper than gas. However, for the time being, there is one major inconvenience: filling up a tank of gas takes a minute while recharging a battery can last hours. Here are some tips on how to go as much as possible between recharges.
1. Take It Easy
This is a fairly obvious one, as it’s also a valid piece of advice for gas-powered cars. However, due to the fact that electric vehicles are so smooth, precise, and easy to drive, they sometimes feel like toys and before you know it you’ll be left with an empty battery. Studies have shown that reducing your average speed by only 10 miles per hour can save up to 14% energy. That can be the difference between safely getting to your destination and spending an hour at a charging station in the middle of nowhere waiting for your car to charge.
Sure, if you want to have some fun with your EV, by all means, go ahead. But for the vast majority of your time spent behind the wheel, your goal is to get from point A to point B. So keep it under 60 miles per hour, don’t hit the acceleration pedal too hard, and put your car in eco mode.
2. Go Easy on the Temperature Controls
Heating and cooling your electric vehicle takes up a lot of battery. On the other hand, not using the heating and the air conditioning is not really an option either, because you expect modern features from a modern vehicle. Therefore, moderation is key. In the case of air conditioning, precooling your car while it’s still charging is a good solution, because most of the energy is drained when trying to get the temperature inside the cabin to optimum levels.
The same applies to heating and turning up the heat while the car is still charging will save you a lot of battery power. Most electric vehicles have heated seats and heated steering wheel and relying on them is less power-consuming than turning up the heat on full blast. Also, you could just put on a coat.
3. Travel Light
Another fairly obvious piece of advice that often gets neglected is keeping your car’s weight as low as possible. Sure, you like having your golf clubs and toolbox with you at all times, because you never know when they might come in handy. But keeping them at home and only taking them when you know you’ll need them will get you a few extra miles of range.
4. Organize Your Drives
Until car companies figure out ways to quickly recharge electric vehicles, constant planning and travel management will be the most important part of making sure you don’t run out of power. Fortunately, planning your trips will not only increase your car’s range but also save you some valuable time. The first way to do that is to avoid rush hour traffic as much as possible. Of course, if you need to go to work at those times there’s nothing you can do, but any other trip should be done at another time.
5. Check Your Car’s Tire Pressure and Aerodynamics
All car tires gradually lose air pressure over time and that’s especially true for electric cars, as their huge battery makes them considerably heavier than regular cars. Even if you don’t feel any changes in the way the car accelerates or takes corners, make sure to go to a repair shop and have them check your tire pressure once every two months. Even if your EV has sensors that alert you when tire pressure gets too low, it’s best not to over-rely on them.
Aerodynamics refers to the way your car manages to cut through the air with as little effort as possible. While you can bet that its shape was thoroughly studied and developed in such a way that makes it as aerodynamic as possible, certain things manage to ruin that. Having a cargo on your roof is a great way to store extra baggage when going on a family trip, but not removing it after the trip will cost you some miles of range. Opening the windows instead of turning on the A/C isn’t a great idea either, also because of aerodynamics.
6. Learn to Fully Use Regenerative Braking
A major innovation in electric car technology is the ability to regenerate energy whenever the car decelerates. Using this function with maximum efficiency can make a massive difference, giving you 5-10% extra battery, and much more if you’re driving downhill. Simply put, the system gets activated whenever you take your foot off the accelerator pedal, so training yourself to only use the brakes in emergencies and relying on the car’s regenerative braking in all other situations will give you a significant power boost at no extra cost.
Electric cars are definitely here to stay, bringing clean air to our cities and new challenges for the automotive industry. By following these basic pieces of advice you’ll not only reduce your transportation costs even more by lowering your electric bill, but you’ll also be saving a lot of your own time by not needing to recharge so often.