Whether you're driving a pure or electric vehicle or a hybrid, extending your electric-only range reduces your need to charge. And, in the case of hybrid cars, it minimises how much petrol or diesel you use keeping more money in your wallet and fewer fumes on the road. So, which driving habits should you adopt to make the most of your electric battery?
Habit #1 - be brave
Did you know that EV drivers get 20-25% less from their battery than they could because they're overly cautious about stopping to charge? The same study found that, as Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers attain more experience, they’re more likely to get much closer to using the full amount of energy in their batteries. So here’s what can you learn from more experienced EV drivers:
- Your car lets you know how much energy you have left - just like fossil-fueled cars, EVs track your energy use so you can see when you need to stop and charge. And many EV motorists have found that 0% battery doesn’t mean you’ll immediately grind to a halt. Like a petrol or diesel car on empty, there are often a few more miles in an electric car’s battery which could help you make it to the next charging point. Still not convinced? Then think about how many times you’ve run out of petrol or diesel - once, twice, never? There’s really no reason to worry that this will change in an EV because ...
- Charging infrastructure is always improving, where there are now more charge points in the UK than petrol stations. Which makes it a little strange that some people are more concerned about running out of electricity than they are about running out of fuel.
- EVs can be rescued by the roadside - in the same way that you can be rescued if you run out of petrol, your EV can also be given a boost from the RAC. They’ve equipped six of their vans with battery-boosting technology to give stranded EV owners enough power to get to the next charging point. And, if you break down close to home, you can always call a friend and get towed to your nearest charging point.
- Journey planning makes it easy to include charging stops - take a look at our article on the apps you need here.
Habit #2 - treat your battery nicely
As with any lithium ion power cell - like the ones in your laptop, camera or mobile phone - treating your battery well pays off. A battery’s condition is called its state of health (SOH) and all batteries start their life with 100% SOH. However, over time they deteriorate and the battery delivers less energy.
The good news is that technology has improved significantly since the first EVs hit our roads and many batteries retain 75% or more of their capacity for at least four years. Better yet, with a Tusker car, you’ll be ready to switch vehicles at the end of your agreed three or four-year period so you’ll always have a high-performing battery.
During this time, these tactics will help keep your battery in rude health:
- Move your car out of direct sunlight - lithium-ion batteries don’t like extreme temperatures including heat. This isn’t a problem in the UK for most of the year but if you can park inside during the summer, it’s a good idea to do so.
- Don’t always fill the battery - the more time a battery is kept fully topped up the worse it is for the power cells. Many EV drivers carry out partial top-ups for their day-to-day motoring by keeping the battery between 20% and 80% of its full charge. This provides plenty of mileage without damaging the battery and means when you need to charge your battery to the max for longer journeys, you’ll have more charge available for longer.
- Use rapid chargers occasionally - the faster your force electricity into the battery, the worse it is for the cells. Try using slower chargers - at home or work or when you’re parked somewhere for a longer period of time - that take several hours to fill your battery rather than minutes.
Habit #3 - keep on top of your maintenance
One of the best benefits of driving an EV is the lack of maintenance. However, like any vehicle, the more you look after your car, the more likely it is to look after you. Even though your EV will need much less maintenance than a combustion-engine car, it still needs its annual service and a little TLC. If you’re thinking of becoming a Tusker customer your servicing, MOT and maintenance will all be included in your monthly amount so there are no extra costs - or excuses - when it comes to keeping to your EV in tip-top shape.
Habit #4 - understand how climate control impacts your battery
Heating and cooling your electric car can make a big difference to the energy in the battery. Like a petrol or diesel car, it takes energy to run an EV’s air conditioning system. Unlike a fossil-fueled car, EVs don’t redirect warm air from the engine to heat the car - they use energy from the battery instead.
But there are plenty of ways to cheat the system. Try to heat your car as it’s charging to avoid using energy from the battery and, if your car has a heated steering wheel and seats, keep your coat on and warm the car in this way as it uses less electricity.
Habit #5 - consider your route
When we head off on a trip, it can be automatic to go via the motorway. However, it’s worth checking your satnav to see if the A-roads offer a quieter, scenic and more efficient route. You might also find that there’s very little difference in terms of time. For example, Manchester to Hereford via the M6 takes two hours and 37 minutes whereas the A49 adds just six minutes to the journey.
Habit #6 - go easy on the pedals
Just like your fossil-fueled car, EVs also use more energy when you accelerate or brake harshly. Instead of flooring it or braking aggressively, ease up and down the miles per hour to make your battery go further.
Habit #7 - remove unnecessary weight from your vehicle
Physics tells us that the more weight your car has to shift, the more energy it will need to shift it. So take off your roof rack if you’re not using it, empty out rubbish, discard sporting equipment and remove anything you don’t need from the boot, door buckets, cubby holes and from under the seats. Your car will not only be lighter, but it will feel more spacious too.
Want to know more about electric cars and electric driving? Take a look at these related articles:
- What are ULEVs, PHEVs, BEVs and HEVs?
- 2020’s most exciting electric cars
- What is it really like to drive an electric car?