There are lots of things to love about electric vehicle ownership. Driving an EV is the cleanest, greenest way for motorists to get around – it’s kinder on the planet as well as on your pocket (especially if you have an EV charger at home).
One of the main challenges the industry has faced, and one of the main drawbacks experienced by early adopters of electric vehicles, is how to increase the distance an EV is capable of driving before it needs to be charged.
Tesla were early leaders in this, and it’s only recently that other manufacturers have really started to take range seriously – BMW’s newly announced EV, the iX SUV, will boast an impressive 376-mile range when it launches next year.
How can I improve range on my EV?
While the industry takes strides to make their cars go further, there are things that you yourself can do to boost the range of your current EV. We’ve compiled a list of the top five tips here – try these if you want to get a few more miles out of your trips.
- Take it easyWhat did your driving instructor teach you? Smooth driving is more economical – and the same goes for EVs. Gentle acceleration and progressive timely braking will reduce the demands on your engine. Flooring the pedal for a boost of acceleration might feel fun and go-karty, but it’s a sure way to drain your battery fast.
- Chill out on the heatingAgain, the things that are big power demands in petrol-powered vehicles can also cause EV batteries to drain. In the winter, try to rely on your heated seats and heated steering wheel (if you have one) rather than the heater, because these use less power. You can also preheat your car while it is still plugged in (if you have a home EV charger) so you’re using the mains supply rather than your battery. Toasty!
- Pump it upKeeping the tyres on your EV sufficiently inflated improves vehicle efficiency and is one of the ways you can eke more miles out of your trips – especially long ones. Regular PSI checks (or keeping an eye on your car’s diagnostics) will help you keep things topped up to the right level. Also, avoid carrying excess weight in your boot or back seat, as this will also reduce your EV efficiency.
- Time it rightSome people like to time their EV charges so that the car is ready with a full battery when it is time to set off (most choose breakfast time for obvious reasons). Because batteries start to naturally deplete when they have finished charging, this ensures you’re fully topped up before setting off – no nasty surprises. This approach is made even easier if your home EV charger comes with an app that allows you to schedule and automate your charges.
- Head for the coastWhether you’re on a road trip to the beach or just your usual commute, cruise control and coasting are your friends. The former vastly improves efficiency on flat roads like motorways, so you should learn to make good use of it. Also, familiarise yourself with your EVs pre-set driving modes – there should be one for economy, helping the battery last better over longer drives. Coasting, where safe, reduces the demands on your accelerator and brakes and if you can coast to a halt rather than using heavy braking, you will save a significant amount on your battery capacity.