How To Get The Most Range From Your Electric Car

You might need to unlearn a few age-old lessons in hypermiling to maximise your EV’s efficiency

The reasons to buy an electric vehicle (EV) become more compelling each year as the automotive market continues to grow and electric car tech becomes more advanced. They have some clear advantages that resonate with Indian car buyers – lower running costs, purchase incentives and subsidies, and cutting-edge features. But to get the most out of an electric car, it all comes down to the way you drive. 

Here are some tips to help you change your driving habits to optimise the efficiency and range of your electric car: 

Driving an electric car in the city: 

EVs do well in urban areas for two reasons – they are quieter but as relaxed to drive as automatic cars, and they can recharge on the go with brake regeneration. 

  1. Keep up with traffic:
    Electric cars offer instantaneous torque, so the usual advice of accelerating slowly from red lights doesn’t apply here. Avoid going full throttle, but try to get up to speed quickly and maintain a safe speed instead of trying to overtake every car ahead of you. 

  2. Use maximum regeneration:

    All modern electric cars come with a system that recuperates electric charge when you go off-throttle. Keep the settings at the maximum level that’s comfortable for your driving style, and use one-pedal driving if your car is equipped with the feature.

  3. Avoid using the heater in winters:
    Conventional cars have a heater core that uses coolant that’s heated by the engine to increase the cabin temperature. EVs don’t have a heater core, so it takes more energy to heat up the cabin in winters. Instead, you can heat the car while it’s plugged in, or park in a place where it can get some heat during the daytime. These methods will also warm up the battery before you set off, and this can potentially help you get better range in the winters. Using heated seats instead of the heater can help save electricity, too.

  4. Use the air conditioner more consciously:

    Indian summers are notorious for extreme temperatures, and sometimes there’s no other way to get comfortable in a car than to use the maximum cooling settings. But try using the “Max AC” mode sparingly. Instead, keep the climate control at a bearable temperature and turn off the AC when the weather is cooler.

  5. Charge at home often:

    If you live close to a public charging station, you might be tempted to recharge your EV once or twice a week using the maximum charging rate. But in the long run, it’s better for the longevity of the battery pack to charge at a slower rate every now and then. If you fill up on electricity before fully draining the battery and charge using an AC wall box more often, it’ll help you get consistent range figures from the battery pack year after year. 

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Driving on the highway: 

In ICE cars, it’s possible to maximise fuel economy on the highway while driving with a lead foot on the throttle (also known as hypermiling). But getting the most efficiency from an electric car on the highway is a bit different.

  1. Avoid traffic jams:

    If possible, plan your route to avoid traffic jams, even if it means driving a longer distance to your destination. Sitting in a traffic jam eats up your range, but slower speeds and stop-and-go traffic aren’t as much of a problem – going slower helps you get more range, and regenerative braking adds a few watt-hours of charge.

  2. Keep a light right foot:
    Modern EVs offer exciting acceleration and quietly cruise on the highway even at higher speeds. But wind and road resistance are a function of speed, and you’ll get less range if you go too fast. It’s no reason to drive below the speed limit – instead, stay with the flow of traffic and avoid braking too often.

  3. Use regenerative braking:
    If traffic and road conditions permit, you can avoid the brake pedal altogether by planning your stops ahead of time and using regenerative braking. Keep the regen settings at the max level to recover as much energy as possible.

  4. Use cruise control:

    Cruise control is a godsend for the highway, and if your EV is equipped with the feature, it’ll help you maximise efficiency by keeping the car at a steady speed. Set the cruise at a safe speed on flatter roads, but turn it off when driving on hilly terrain.

The above tips will help you drive your electric car more efficiently, but remember that the safety of you and other road users is the utmost priority. Don’t bother with the above suggestions when you are in an emergency, and don’t compromise on your own comfort, either. In conclusion, range anxiety can be avoided by being conscious of the way you spend electricity as a resource – every kWh comes at a cost to the environment, so use it well. 

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