The Government has said that the transition to electric vehicles will need to be led by industry and consumers, and that a shift away from internal combustion engines to zero emission vehicles is essential if the Government is to achieve UK carbon targets.
With more Ultra-Low Emissions Zones planned throughout the UK over the coming years, many drivers are now considering choosing an Electric Vehicle (EV). Choice has been very much improved, but it is important to understand that each vehicle is different in terms of battery capacity and the maximum range offered. So in this issue of Driverlink we thought we would have a look at some useful tips to help you preserve your charge.
1 Get to know your drive mode settings
All modern electric vehicles allow you to alter their performance to meet your driving needs, so make sure you spend time understanding which mode to use and when. If you opt to preserve battery range, this will decrease the performance of the vehicle e.g acceleration is reduced, and regenerative braking resistance is increased to save energy.
2 Look after your battery
With time and use, electric vehicle batteries degrade, losing capacity and cutting maximum driving range for each charge. How quickly a battery’s capacity deteriorates is very dependent on how it’s used. As a general rule, the more time a vehicle spends at or near full charge, the worse it is for the battery. So its better to use up the charge and recharge fully.
3 Easy on the Accelerator
It should come as no surprise that gradual acceleration from a stop is far more efficient for an electric vehicle’s powertrain than “flooring it.” So although you know in an EV you can beat most vehicles off the blocks from a standing start, if you do this at every set of traffic lights you will loose so much more power. Maintaining a constant speed is the best way to preserve range.
Another advantage to reducing unnecessary acceleration is reducing your reliance on the brakes. All electric vehicles have regenerative braking which helps to preserve energy, but those systems are only capable of recapturing a fraction of the energy lost to harsh braking. Particularly in heavy traffic, try coasting to a stop as much as possible. It could add up to several miles worth of added range for each charge. Because the accelerator is very reactive, in an EV, when you lift off you will slow down significantly, so this again helps avoid the over use of the brakes.
4 Controlling the climate
Lithium ion battery efficiency changes depending on the temperature under which its operated. But an even bigger contributor to the loss of EV efficiency comes from the vehicle’s heating and air conditioning systems they can quite readily suck up energy therefore depleting range and increasing charge cost. So you may want to think about parking in the shade, to ensure you reduce the amount of cooling needed.
5 Keep your vehicle maintained
One of the best things about all-electric vehicles is their relative lack of maintenance demands. However, simple things like tyre inflation, checking fluid levels and replacing air filters can extend a battery’s range by several miles per charge.
6 Choose your route
We have apps on our phones to tell us the fastest way to get between Point A and Point B, but that isn’t always the most efficient. Electric vehicles preserve the most range when travelling at steady, lower speeds.
If you are taking the motorway you will save time but you will be travelling at higher speeds putting more demands on the battery, therefore decreasing the range.
Some vehicles now even come with battery-saving routes pre-loaded into their navigation systems, which certainly helps to plan the most efficient routes.
But with vehicle ranges improving all the time, drivers don’t have to over-think every route.
7 Loose the weight
All vehicles lose efficiency the more weight they’re carrying. For modest range improvements keep any non-essential weight out of the vehicle when it’s in use.
8 Be confident
Studies have found that electric vehicle drivers tend to be overly cautious about running out of range. If you use your vehicle regularly you will get familiar with how the car performs and in the different driving conditions you encounter. Adopting an EV as your main car does take time to get used to, but as more charge points are made available and vehicle ranges continue to improve, hopefully many more people will consider the switch to all-electric.