What’s the point of trying to save the world by having an electric vehicle (EV) if you still guzzle lots of energy? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get around this, conserving energy and having a great time with your EV at the same time.
Graeme Cooper, Project Director for National Vehicles, says: “It’s crucial that we create an electric vehicle charging infrastructure that works for everyone, as part of our journey to a Net Zero future. We can’t leave anyone behind in this revolution and must help improve air quality for all, across the whole UK.
“We’ve been privileged to help shape the UK’s plans for that as part of the Energy Taskforce’s report Energising our electric vehicle transition, which is published today. We now urge the Government to use the upcoming Budget and National Infrastructure Strategy to help unblock the private sector investment required to ease consumer range anxiety.”
Here are some hot tips to help you use your EV as efficiently as possible.
Avoid harsh braking
Obviously, you’ll want to avoid hitting Mr Mittens (whose favourite past-time is sitting in the middle of the road) but, when you’re not trying to avoid turning your neighbour’s cat into mincemeat, harsh braking is a big no-no in an EV. The reason for this is that regenerative braking is a key feature of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), which can transform kinetic energy back into electricity and helping to recharge the batteries. Energy recapture is about 10 percent when driving normally and 30 percent when going downhill. Slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator instead.
Plan your charging cheats
“Charging a battery is faster above 10% state of charge (SoC) and it begins to slow after about 80% SoC, so don’t wait until your battery is flat to charge it and perhaps don’t hang onto 100% before you continue your journey,” advises Graeme. He also recommends using an app to charge the car with the cheapest and cleanest energy available. “I use the EV.Energy app, which takes the carbon intensity signal from National Grid’s control room.”
In addition, Graham recommends being aware of charging etiquette. “A charging bay should only be occupied if you are charging – it isn’t a privileged space for a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). When your car has finished charging, move it don’t leave it. Some rapid chargers ‘share’ power supply, so consider not charging at the very next charger in a line or the speed can slow.”
Watch your speed
We all know not to speed. But, in addition to your safety-first mentality, there’s also an added benefit to not speeding if you’re in an EV. Driving fast increases energy consumption far more than the equivalent level of fuel consumption in a non-EV.
The most efficient speed in a non-EV is between 40-50mph. In an EV, it’s lower than this. This is because air resistance increases as the vehicle goes faster, using up more energy.
Need that air-con?
In an EV, consider just opening the window. That way you’ll get a nice, fresh breeze and will also save up to 10 percent energy. Saving 10 percent energy means you should be able to drive for longer.
The same goes for heating. In a regular car, the heating is powered by channelling waste heat from the engine. In an EV, however, the car must generate heat from the battery using additional energy. This is obviously a further drag on energy usage and will mean you need to charge your EV more frequently.
Plan where the charging points are
The pleasure from driving along the open road, head-banging to the Beach Boys, will be dented if your dashboard starts to flash red, telling you to turn around and locate a charging point immediately. Plot your route carefully, making sure that you’re never too far from somewhere to plug your vehicle in.
Overcome your range anxiety by using ZapMap and ABetterRoutePlanner to locate your closest charging points. Graeme says: “I carry a heavy-duty extension lead and my three-pin car charger – this is my ‘just in case’ option. I have never used it, but it gives me peace of mind.”