If you just drive locally and recharge every night, you won't have to worry too much about the range of your electric car. And clearly using an "eco" mode will save on battery, if your car has it. But if worry about distance on a longer trip or perhaps staying out longer than expected doing errands in traffic, nervously watching the battery deplete, it's good to know these tips to maximize the range of your battery.
Top 5 Tips to Extend Electric Car Range
|Precondition the Car||Use Less Heat and AC While Driving|
|Heated Seats||Reduce Burden on the Heaters|
|Cruise Control||Saves Battery on Flat Roads|
|Tyre Pressure||Properly-Inflated Tyres Increase Fuel Economy|
|Drive Style||Slow and Steady Win the Race|
Anyone currently in the market for an electric car that has good mileage can learn more in our article Best Electric Cars for Range.
1. Precondition the Car: Use Less Heat and AC While Driving
Using the air conditioning and especially the heater will noticeably decrease your battery charge, potentially leaving you with up to 30% less range. While it's fine to make a few sacrifices in order to be "green" we don't think shivering your way down the motorway is one of them. The best trick to combat this issue is preconditioning your car while it's still charging. It takes the most energy to initially cool or warm your car, so do this while it's still plugged in; once achieved, maintaining a comfortable temperature takes less energy.
In the following chart, you can see how using the heat can impact the potential range of a Renault Zoe Q90. Using your heaters causes a larger reduction in range at lower speeds.
2. Heated Seats: Less Reliance on Battery-Draining Heaters
If you're buying a new electric car, be sure to include heated seats. There's nothing like a toasty seat to warm you to the core. Not only is a heated seat pure bliss on a cold day but it can extend the range on your car since you'll have less need for the heaters.
3. Use Cruise Control: Saves Battery On Flat Roads
Whether you drive an electric, petrol or diesel car, using cruise control can save on battery. Constant driving speed is highly correlated with higher fuel efficiency. This only applies to flat roads, however. On hilly roads cruise control can use more energy.
It makes sense, really. When your own foot is on the accelerator, you would naturally ease up as you come to the top of a hill, knowing that gravity will start helping you on the way down. Cruise control can't anticipate the top of a hill like you can, and keeps the accelerator on for longer than necessary to maintain speed. Only use cruise control on relatively flat roads for best fuel economy.
4. Tyre Pressure: Proper Inflation Helps Fuel Economy
Under-inflated tyres have been proven to decrease fuel economy; every 1 psi drop in pressure translates into a 0.4% drop in mileage. Know the recommended psi for your car's tyres and check regularly.
5. Drive Style: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Like it or not, driving more like a granny than a testosterone-fueled 20-year old saves energy. Accelerating slowly away from traffic lights, cornering gently and braking early and slow (letting friction naturally slow you down when you take your foot off the accelerator) will all increase the range in your car. Don't worry about altering your driving style drastically if you just drive locally and recharge every night.