In a petrol or diesel car, we rarely think about the effect that our immediate driving style has on our fuel economy. In an electric car, however, that immediate effect is all too obvious on your remaining range. Accelerate hard and it will soon drop, while long motorway journeys will see your range drop far quicker than on slower A roads.
Numerous other factors can have an effect too – even the weather. Most electric cars have a pre-conditioning function which enables you to heat or cool the car before you get into in the morning while it’s still plugged in. That means the electrical energy taken to initially warm or cool the car is used from the mains rather than the car’s own batteries.
Once on the move of course, any especially power-hungry items such as the air conditioning or heater, heated seats or heated rear windscreen will all use energy from the battery, so these should be used as sparingly as possible.
So what’s the best way to extend your range in an EV? The easy option is to engage the ‘Eco’ mode that all electric cars feature. This will extend your range to the maximum possible, but it does come with a price. It will restrict certain power hungry items inside the car as well as your speed and often the throttle pedal’s sensitivity, but if you’re low on range to reach your destination, then it’s worth doing.
Before you get to that point however, your driving style will have a dramatic effect on your range as a whole especially over a long journey. Keep your throttle and braking inputs smooth and gentle and try and read the road ahead to use any brake energy regeneration on the car as much as possible.
When the battery charge gets extremely low, most EVs will switch automatically into a ‘limp home’ mode to get you as far as possible restricting performance still further.