One of the most common concerns someone thinking about purchasing an electric vehicles has, is whether or not they will be limited by the battery’s range. As Toronto electricians, we install EV battery chargers all the time and are always learning about how this technology works and how our clients can make the best use of their EVs.
Generally speaking, people who drive with fuel-efficiency will naturally transition into EV driving with battery-efficiency. Friction, aerodynamics, and speed consistency are relevant for increasing an EV’s range, just like with a fuel powered vehicle.
Tips for increasing your EV range:
- Minimize Friction: The lighter your vehicle, the better. Companies like Tesla focus on making the lightest vehicles possible to help with range, but how you pack your vehicle will also be a factor in its range. Keep an eye on your tires’ air levels. A low tire can cost you some distance. Use a low rolling resistance tire, which can be inflated with a higher air pressure. Most EVs or hybrids will come with these tires when you purchase the vehicle. Keep your windows closed, if possible. When you’re driving at higher speeds, open windows will cause drag and will affect how aerodynamic your EV is.
- Limit Your Extra Energy Usage: Just as with a gas vehicle, your heating and air conditioning will consume energy. If you’re trying to get as much distance out of a charge as you can, resist cranking the heat or air conditioning. Heated seats also fall under this category. Watch your live range reading and pay attention to which “hotel loads” (heating etc.) are making a big difference to your range. This reading should be giving you an estimated distance that factors in the added energy usage from your heating or air conditioning. Turning off your headlights while you’re driving won’t increase your range. Not only is turning off your lights unsafe, but your headlights get their power from a different battery than the one your vehicle runs from. Also, feel free to listen to your radio or CD player. Those are attached to the same battery as your lights.
- Drive Consistently: The most obvious way someone can waste power in an EV is by driving inconsistently. This is the same as a fuel powered vehicle, which consumes more gas if you are constantly slowing down and having to accelerate. Pay attention to the information your car gives you in its live range reading. This will allow you to see the best speed for you to travel at to get the best range. Slow your car gradually, as opposed to slamming on the brakes (if possible). EVs often work with regenerative braking, which means that when you’re not accelerating (when the electric throttle is closed), but the vehicle is still moving, all of its kinetic energy can be captured and will recharge your battery as it slows down.
What kind of a difference will these range stretching tips make?
Driving efficiently can extend your EVs range by up to 30%! That’s a huge incentive for slowing down, reducing your friction, and limiting your extra energy.
Mark Marmer started in the trade back in 1973 and established Signature Electric in 1985. Having always enjoyed tinkering with electricity and working with his hands, the electrical trade was a natural choice for him. Working as an electrician you get a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at the end of each day.
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