Getting the most range out of each kilowatt-hour from your EV not only saves precious dollars, but also occasionally spares you the inconvenience and embarrassment of running out of electrons. Some of the tricks for improving fuel efficiency carry over from conventional gasoline vehicles, but there are also unique challenges posed by electric vehicles that your parents probably didn’t teach you about. The path to the best battery range is often specific to the vehicle model and how it’s used, but here are ten sure-fire tips to start improving your EV range today.
1. Collect and Monitor Driving Data
All consumer and fleet electric vehicles have their own unique driving patterns. To truly maximize range and energy efficiency, the most powerful tool at your disposal is knowledge of your driving and charging patterns. Electric vehicle telematics allows owners to better understand how much range they need, how to improve it, and when improvements will be necessary.
With the use of telematics and data analysis platforms, fleets can monitor the performance and efficiency payoffs of nearly all factors affecting range, including weather, speed, route selection, and charging. This information can help fleet managers support drivers with feedback and general tips for improving performance.
2. Learn and Use Driving Mode Settings
Nearly all modern electric vehicles allow you to alter their performance to match your driving needs with a quick push of a button. Some modes increase performance at a cost to battery range. Others allow you to maximize range at the expensive of acceleration or by tuning the regenerative breaking more aggressively to recapture energy. The 2016 Nissan LEAF now even comes with a “B-mode” setting that helps drivers maximize efficiency when going down hills.
Read about and experiment with each mode your car has to offer. You might even compare driving data collected from different modes of operation to get a better understanding of the differences and how they contribute to extending the range of your specific vehicle and driving patterns.
3. Be Kind to Your Battery
With time and use, electric vehicle batteries degrade, losing capacity and cutting maximum driving range for each charge. Usually, batteries tend to retain 75 percent of their more of their capacity for at least 4 years. But how quickly a battery’s capacity deteriorates is highly dependent on how it’s used. Cars that spend a lot of time parked outside in hot weather experience battery deterioration at much faster rates than those kept in temperate climates. How big an effect this has depends upon model and average temperature, so choosing the right car—which usually means one with an active cooling system—for warmer climates makes a big difference.