Driving your electric car

27 April 2021

A recent survey showed that there were still a number of misconceptions surrounding electric vehicles. The reality is, that electric vehicles are now suitable for the vast majority of drivers, with increased charging capabilities and ranges on practically all models. With 1% Benefit in Kind meaning there are substantial savings to be made on these zero emission cars, they may be worth reconsidering.

 

Charging

If you look after your battery the more energy it will continue to hold. Try to charge overnight to ensure your battery maintains levels of around 70-80% range. By running down your battery until almost empty will degrade your battery overtime and in turn will slowly start to hold less energy.

When electric car batteries are cold, it will take longer to charge them. So if you charge your car overnight, you’ll need to allow an extra hour or two to fully charge up the battery. If charging at a rapid charger at a motorway service station, it may take up to forty-five minutes instead of thirty.

 

Driving in cold temperatures

When we hit the cold temperatures in the UK, a vehicles range will also decrease on most electric cars. Not only is there an increased use of in-car heating and lighting, but the batteries themselves don’t perform as well. Drivers report that in sub-zero temperatures, the range of their car can reduce by around 30-40 per cent compared to the optimum range in summer.

Although this can be a significant drop, the remaining range is usually still higher than a typical daily driving distance. With the average car journey of 6½ miles in the UK and the average distance travelled throughout the day of 22 miles.

 

MOTs for electric cars

Although electric cars run differently to petrol or diesel cars, they do still need MOTs as the MOT will test for roadworthiness and so it’s compulsory for all cars. Just like with a non-electric car, the MOT will examine all aspects of the cars components and functionality to test its roadworthiness with the exception of the emissions test. Therefore, as soon as you’re notified that your car is due an MOT, please contact our Driverline to get one booked as soon as you can.


Factors that affect the range

Regenerative braking

In addition to cold temperatures, there are other factors that can affect the range of your electric car. Travelling at high speed will have a negative effect as well as certain driving styles. It’s also important to make good use of regenerative braking when driving as this uses the electric motor as a generator to convert most of an EV’s movement energy back into electricity which recharges the battery. In laymans terms, this simply means that when you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal and onto the brake, the motor swaps directions and starts to put energy back into the battery. In some electric vehicles, you will need to turn on regenerative braking to ensure every time you lift your foot off the accelerator the energy returns back to your car.

 

Heating and cooling

There are also other things you can do to take full advantage of the range. Switching off either the heating or air conditioning as they both use significant amounts of energy if they’re not really needed or instead, you could turn on heated car seats if you have them or open the window instead of the air conditioning. Most electric cars have a manufacturer app which lets you arrange for pre-heating or pre-cooling while still plugged in before setting off. This means that the car can prepare your heating or cooling while it’s still charging so that when you’re ready to start your journey, the car will be at your desired temperature but your battery is still fully charged.

 

Tyre pressure

Tyre maintenance is also an important key factor when maximising your range. Electric vehicles can be up to 30% heavier than a standard petrol or diesel car and so coupled with an increase in torque they can also affect your range. Check the manufacturer’s handbook for the optimal tyre pressure to reduce levels of unnecessary rolling resistance.

 

Courtesy Cars with Tusker

Should the unfortunate happen and your electric car is going to be off the road for an unforeseen reason, you may be eligible for a courtesy or relief car depending on your employers car scheme. It’s important to be aware that when being offered a courtesy or relief car, they can never be a like for like replacement for the car you currently drive. This means that your courtesy car is unlikely to be an electric car and instead will be either a diesel or petrol car.

 

Congestion Charge

Electric and Plug-in Hybrid cars or vans do qualify for a 100% discount on the Congestion Charge. To benefit from this discount you still have to apply for the discount for it to be applied. To set up a London Road User Charging account online and apply for the discount simply visit https://tfl. gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge

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