If you drive an electric car, you’re already doing your part to save the environment by reducing emissions. But if you want to get the most out of your vehicle, it’s important to understand how to maximize its range. Luckily, there are a few key ways to get more mileage per charge, and they don’t require that you be too much of an expert on the topic. Here are some general tips on how to maximize the electric car range.
Use Regenerative Braking
When you press down on your car’s brakes, you waste energy—that is, it gets converted into heat. However, if you drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, you can use that energy to charge up your battery. If you have regenerative braking in your car, be sure to take advantage of it by using less brake pedal pressure than usual. The more quickly and lightly you push down on your brakes, the more power will be used for charging instead of slowing down your vehicle.
Check Your Tire Pressure
A lot of people don’t realize that keeping your tires properly inflated increases your car’s range. Under-inflated tires can increase drag, which reduces fuel efficiency. Be sure to check your tire pressure at least once a month (and before any long trips) and keep it within 3 PSI of what’s recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. If you are unsure how to do so, take it into a shop for some professional help.
Avoid Fast Acceleration
While it’s nice that a Tesla can accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds, you don’t have to be quite that aggressive with your acceleration if you want to maximize range. If you go easy on how fast you put your foot down when pulling away from traffic lights and aren’t constantly flooring it on highways, you could squeeze out an extra 20 or so miles per charge. It may not sound like much but if your car is fully charged, that can translate into nearly a full day of driving (depending on your energy use habits). Obviously, those figures are average and depend largely on environmental factors (e.g., temperature), but there’s no harm in taking things slow.
Don’t Run The Heater
When you turn on your car’s heater, it drains energy from its battery. The more you use it, the quicker you’ll burn through that charge and won’t have enough juice for driving. Of course, if you’re stuck in a freezing cold environment, use your heater. Just be aware if you need that extra range to reach your destination.
Don’t Run The Air Conditioner
Driving with your car’s air conditioner on may not seem like a big deal, but it really adds up. You might be surprised by how many additional miles you can get out of your battery when you turn off your air conditioning and drive slightly slower. Air conditioning uses around 2 percent more electricity for every mile per hour that you go over 50 mph (72 kph). So, if you drive 60 mph instead of 55 mph, you’ll be using 12 percent more electricity. This means that keeping your A/C running while driving at highway speeds will likely shave 10–15 miles off your range—enough to make a substantial difference in most commutes.
Keep The Weight Down
Keeping your vehicle at or below its maximum allowable weight will ensure that you’re taking advantage of all available ranges. So remove any heavy item that you would be keeping in your car for no reason!
Minimize Hard Stops/Starts
When you’re on a long road trip, every time you stop and start again your car uses more energy. This is because it takes more energy to get going from 0 MPH than it does to maintain a consistent speed. While the fast acceleration may seem a lot of fun, activate the chill mode if you need an extra range. Your tires will also thank you for that as it will extend their life as well!
Turn Off Unnecessary Lights/Devices
If you can’t go the extra mile, then shut off the lights, remove plugged-in devices, and turn off your electronic devices.
Keep It Clean And Avoid Drag
Keeping your electric car clean will help you get that extra range. It will help keep drag to a minimum. Drag is basically what happens when your vehicle moves through air—every object in motion has some form of drag associated with it, but your electric car can only overcome that drag by using additional power, which ultimately decreases range. That means taking care of your ride—keeping everything clean, checking wheels and tires regularly, etc.—is really important if you want to maximize range.