A Simple Training Guide for New Electric Car Drivers

No Engine Noise

Last but not least, the most obvious difference between ICE and electric vehicles is engine noise. EVs operate on silent electric motors, so you only hear the quiet whirring and tire noise. Drivers should not expect pedestrians to hear their approach when driving an electric car.

For this reason, the NHTSA established a rule that will require EVs operating at low speed to make noises beginning in 2019. Until then, plug-in drivers must assume other drivers and pedestrians are unaware of your presence when not looking in your direction.

Preserving Range

Conserving range is crucial when operating electric cars, and driving style has a direct impact on battery depletion. Try to accelerate smoothly so as not to brake suddenly, as this method of driving protects against energy loss.

How you heat and cool the car also plays a role in preserving battery power. During winter months, EVs may lose as much as 30% range while in particularly cold weather. To combat the effects of winter weather, drivers should utilize heated seats and wear coats while driving to conserve range. (See our guide to winter EV operation for more.)

Air conditioning has a similar range-draining effect on electric cars, so consider rolling down the windows if you have limited range to avoid charging before your destination. Use of the sound system and other onboard apps will also draw energy from the battery, which is the sole source of the car’s power.

Charging

Managing an electric vehicle’s charge is an essential part of operation. Drivers can end up wasting time stuck at charging stations if they do not have enough battery power before leaving. This means timing your charge sessions appropriately.

In our simple guide to EV charging, we discussed each aspect of the equation. Drivers starting out should be aware of the basics:

  • Level 1 (110v) charging on standard outlets delivers only 2-3 miles of range per driving.
  • Level 2 (240v) charging may deliver as much as 25 miles per hour, depending on the onboard charger. When equipped with the least powerful (3.3 kw) charger, plug-ins may only add 12-15 miles per hour of charging.
  • Fast charging typically charges a battery to 80% full in 30 minutes.

Charging ports may be located in the same place as a gas tank (BMW i3); they may also be located next to the driver’s door (Ford and Chevy EVs) or on the hood (Nissan Leaf). When on the road, EV chargers typically require subscriptions, so plan sessions accordingly.

To find a charging station near you, both PlugShare and ChargeHub are helpful resources. Simply enter your location, and it will show you a map of all nearby stations and whatever additional information is available for each one.

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