Improving electric vehicle range is very similar to improving fuel economy
An electric vehicle’s range is one of the most important considerations of consumers looking for their next electric vehicle. Maximizing the amount of charge you get from your battery and the distance you can drive with your electric vehicle between charges is very similar to improving the fuel consumption of a traditional vehicle. That’s why the 10 tips below to improve vehicle range may seem familiar to you.
“Like in a gas-powered car, improving range in an electric vehicle is all about being smooth on the road, removing as much weight as possible, not keeping unnecessary accessories on the vehicle when they aren’t needed, and using the vehicle’s functions efficiently”, says a sales representative at Kia Stouffville in Ontario, Canada.
In other words, the range your electric vehicle will actually get isn’t necessarily what the automaker has stated. Factors such as weather conditions will impact range, but ultimately the deciding factor will be how you drive and use your electric vehicle. If you have just purchased an electric vehicle or you are concerned that you are not reaching the range numbers that your EV should provide, the following tips should help you get the most out of your battery.
The speed at which you are driving is likely the number one factor impacting range. If you want to maximize your battery and get the most out of it, try to keep your speed at or near the speed limit when you are driving. This is particularly relevant on the highway where a difference of just 20 km/h (13 mph) can increase or reduce range by over 20%.
Be easy with the accelerator
Speed is one thing, but how you use the accelerator even around the city at low speeds will also impact your range. Flooring the accelerator as you are leaving a stop sign or a red light, or simply being aggressive with the accelerator will cause the battery to lose its charge more rapidly.
Use your electric vehicle’s brakes wisely
Your electric vehicle is able to use the energy generated when braking to recharge the battery. That means that when you are slowing down and when you are braking, you are actually charging the battery. In order to do this efficiently, however, you need to be smooth with the brakes. You should plan to slow down and stop as far as you can from your actual stopping point. By “rolling” onto the brakes as opposed to slamming them or slowing down sharply, you will regenerate more energy into your battery.
Use your vehicle’s functions
Your electric vehicle likely has a variety of functions that can be used to improve range. Most notable would be an ECO mode which, once activated, adjusts the parameters of your vehicle in order to optimize range. These adjustments are similar to the advice that we have provided above. They will limit the top speed, they will prevent hard accelerations, and they will ensure that the brakes provide maximum regenerative power.
Other functions that can be used to improve range include the ability to set the timer for charging, a pre-warm function through a mobile app, and a battery heater. If you are shopping for a new electric vehicle, keep note of these functions and check if the vehicle you are buying has them.
Don’t put the heat or the A/C on full blast
It can be tempting when it is very hot or very cold outside to put the climate controls at maximum with the most air flow. This definitely has an impact on range. To optimize your electric vehicle’s range, try to keep the air flow at a minimum, and don’t put the AC or the heat at the maximum temperature. If your vehicle is equipped with connected services that allow you to pre-warm or remotely control the A/C, try to take full advantage of those functions.
Keep the weight down
Try to remove any unnecessary weight from your electric vehicle. Granted a few pounds won’t make a huge difference, but if you have bags of salt or sand in the vehicle, or other heavy objects, they definitely will impact range.
Remove unnecessary accessories
Removing your vehicle’s roof box when it is not needed or a trailer hitch can reduce your vehicle’s drag coefficient and improve range. The same can be said for roof bars. It may not seem like a big deal but removing unnecessary accessories can translate into 10% more range according to recent studies.
Make sure your tires are in good condition
Your tires create friction with the road and this leads to using more battery power. You want to make sure your tires are in good condition, and you want to make sure that they are inflated properly.
Avoid the highway if you can
The highway is the least efficient road for an electric vehicle. That’s because there is very little braking, and you are driving at a high speed. If you can, get to work through the city and you will notice that you may have 25% more range when you get there.
If you can, try to time your battery charging so that it completes just before leaving. If your electric vehicle spends a few hours after it has fully charged, it will lose some of the battery’s charge.
The tips above will help you improve range and ensure that you get the most out of your electric vehicle.