Increasing the range of your Electric Vehicle
When you go electric you will start to become obsessed about range. It's a bit like setting off with a gallon of diesel every day. A change in driving style will be needed to get the best out of your battery but with practice and technique it's surprising just how much you can squeeze out of your EV.
- Drive slowly - Drag increases exponentially with speed so, going slowly will increase your range massively. Stick to 5 Mph below the speed limit. Don't go over 45.
Assuming a van with 24kWh battery
Twice the speed = 3 time the juice !
- Choose shortest route on your sat nav. Driving from my house to Nottingham on fastest route (70mph dual carriage way) is 25 miles takes half my battery, however on shortest route it's 18 miles on rambling (30 - 40 mph roads ) uses only a quarter of the battery and doesn't actually take any longer.
Getting stuck in slow moving traffic in a fossil fuel powered vehicle is bad, your engine is ticking over whilst you are not moving and not working at its most efficient when you are.
In your EV, if your not moving the radio is probably using more juice than the vehicle and low speeds are more efficient anyway. ( You may want to put a hat & coat on and turn the heater off though )
- Regenerative breaking. Simply taking your foot off the throttle can charge your battery at 26 kW + that's a lot of juice. Slowing down without using the brakes requires anticipation turning kinetic energy back into valuable battery power. Putting the brakes on just turns kinetic energy into hot disk breaks / air.
- Coasting is more economical than slowing down then speeding up again. To coast in most EVs you will have to maintain just the right amount of pressure on the throttle to maintain a neutral current.
- Loosing your speed BEFORE you get to the top of the hill by Coasting to a low speed as you crest the top and allowing the hill to speed you up again.
- Using hills to regeneratively brake. Rather than whizzing down to the bottom then slamming the brakes on. The idea is to use solely regenerative breaking to come to a stop at the bottom. Start your slow down early on. Do not allow the hill to take you to high speeds where momentum is lost to drag. Much better to lose momentum to regenerative breaking. It is quite common to regain a few miles on the guestimator.
- Preheat the vehicle from mains using the timer or comfort program. This is one of the big plusses of EVs. Just set the comfort program timer for when you want it ready and its like getting into a warm bath whilst every one else is scraping ice of the windows.
The energy for the heater is taken from the mains so does not decrease range, in fact it increases range because you don't have to put the heater on for the first 5 miles. Especially if you close the vents to recirculate the air.
- Turn down or off - everything you can get away with. In order of largest consumption first -
Heater 1- 2000W - Never Ever use the heater! 2 hrs x 2kw = 18 miles. Put a hat and coat on.
Lights 30 - 200W - If it's not dark turn them off or put just side lights on.
Wipers 20 - 50W - Can you turn the wipers onto intermittent ?
Radio 10 - 40W - Last resort only!
- Ditch the roof rack - causes a lot of drag.
- Lose weight - on odd occasions I really need to push the range up I will take out excesses weight, such as christmas trees, cable drums and tools etc.
- Over inflate your tyres - increasing your tyre pessure can give you less rolling resistance hence increase your range. However it will also increase tyre wear.
- Slip stream - find nice big fat slow moving lorry to slip stream. Wait at the top of the slip road to the motorway (high way) looking out for one of those tall rusty old lorries (trucks) that trundle (mozy) along at 50mph. Whiz down the slip road and tuck right in behind it.
Why wait at the slip road ? - cos you'll both be travelling at 50mph ish so you will never catch each other up.
You cant use valuable juice going to fast - and you cant go daudling up the motorway at 35mph waiting for a junker. (Obviously this all has to be done observing a safe stopping distance)
- Flatlining - Just keep on driving beyond zero miles, and prey to jesus !
- Watch the FULLY CHARGED SHOW regularly-
Going up hill can put you into what I've nick named "negative equity" you have a 30 mile there and 30 mile back again trip . You turn on your ignition to find the range guestimator giving a reading of 62 miles giving you a feeling of slight unease. Just enough you think I'll drive really economically I've got 2 miles in hand. You travel 30 miles to your destination and the guestimator is now reading a worrying 27 miles range left :(
You set off for home panicking about conking out 3 miles from your house. The journey has taken you from the lowlands to the high lands, you have gained some altitude , so on the way home you will not require as much juice to get you back again. Gradually you start to relax as your range guesomoeter gradually catches up and passes your sat nav distance to home.