The range on electric cars is getting better with every new model that comes out, but there are still plenty of ways you can squeeze a few bonus journeys from your EV before you need to plug in again!
The way you drive can increase your range
You might have heard of techniques such as ‘hypermiling’, but you don’t need to get obsessive about your driving to extract a few extra miles from your electric car.
It all comes down to how good you are at planning your journey, and then anticipating what’s ahead when you’re out on the road. Driving smoothly is the key.
Before you hit the road, take a couple of minutes to check your route. Most navigation apps will provide you with a few routes to choose from, and it’s best to choose one that avoids places where there will be stop-start traffic. Even if that route is a mile or two longer, the extra efficiency will probably mean that you end up gaining a mile or two in the long run!
Three words – anticipation, anticipation, anticipation. It really pays to keep your gaze at least 100 yards ahead where possible. Look up the road for approaching junctions, and keep an eye out for potential hazards before they unfold.
It might sound like you’re taking a driving theory test, but anticipating what’s coming gives you ample time to react, which means you can speed up or slow down gently – all good for power efficiency.
Every EV has one very handy feature – they can recuperate energy from braking and actually recharge the batteries a little bit. It all starts to happen as soon as you release the accelerator pedal, and even before you squeeze the brake. The electric motor reverses, and the level of resistance – and therefore braking – it provides can often be adjusted by the driver on the go. It might only be a small amount of energy, but it’s energy that would otherwise be lost completely.
The biggest challenge, though? Resisting the instant acceleration that electric motors are famous for. Having a heavy right foot can quickly turn triple-digit range into double-digits. You don’t have to drive slowly; it’s just about getting up to speed smoothly and progressively.
In a lot of ways, electric vehicles and petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles aren’t so different. Putting the heated seats on and turning the heating up to max will inevitably use more energy, which ultimately means higher fuel or power usage – depending on what sort of vehicle you’re driving.
In any car, efficiency will also be affected by extra weight inside the vehicle, so don’t leave bulky items in your boot or litter in the passenger footwell. It might only be an empty bottle or two, but every little helps!
Manufacturers have spent a huge amount of money on designing and engineering their electric vehicles so they’re aerodynamic, and less drag means more miles!
You might sometimes need a roofbox, for example – but when you don’t need it, remove it from your car. Leaving external accessories attached to your EV will add drag, reducing how many miles you can expect to cover before needing to charge again.
As well as making sure you’re not carrying any unnecessary accessories, it also pays to think about the part of the vehicle that actually touches the road. The type of tyre you have fitted to your vehicle can have a big impact on overall efficiency.
In Europe, every tyre must have an efficiency rating, represented as a letter on a scale between A and G – A being the most efficient, G being the least. Energy is lost when a tyre rolls, which is otherwise known as ‘rolling resistance’, and lower ‘rolling resistance’ reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
More top tips for increasing your electric car range
Chances are, you’ve plugged your EV into your home charger overnight, so it’s topped up and ready to go in the morning.
Remember, though, as soon as you unplug your car, any power used will be taken from the battery – particularly on cold or hot days where you need to warm or cool the cabin before setting off. With that in mind, try setting the climate control going before unplugging your vehicle – that way, the energy used in cooling or heating your vehicle will be drawn from the main power supply, rather than from the battery, giving you maximum range once you do unplug.
In fact, choose your EV wisely, and it may even come with a companion app for your mobile phone that allows you to pre-condition the cabin remotely.
As EV technology continues to evolve, the range on these cars will only increase – hopefully the tips covered here might just help you convince you that now is the time to switch to electric!