10 ways you can boost your range when driving electric
Feel like you’ve been seeing more electric cars on the road lately? You’re not mistaken. Electric car sales have been growing steadily in 2022 and in September we saw Britain’s millionth electric car hit the road. There are lots of good reasons for the growing popularity of electric cars. They’re cheaper to run than petrol or diesel cars, emit no tailpipe emissions, and with speedy improvements being made in battery and charging technology drivers can travel increasingly further on a single charge. A question often asked by new electric car owners is, “How can I maximise my driving range?” Here are some great ways to boost your range and get the most out of your electric car.
What is the average range for an electric vehicle?
The average range of an electric car is 100-250 miles and some newer models can give drivers up to nearly 400 miles on a single charge. That’s the equivalent of driving from central London to Amsterdam without the need to stop and charge. As battery technology continues to improve, the average range for electric vehicles continues to increase. Electric vehicles are a great choice for long-distance travel. Not only are they more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run, they’re also more fun to drive (if you ask us). If you're planning a road trip with an EV, you can expect a quiet, smooth and enjoyable ride.
What can impact an electric vehicle’s range?
As electric cars are powered by batteries, there are a few things that can have an impact on an electric vehicle's range, including:
- Weather: cold weather can slightly reduce the range of an electric car since the battery needs to work harder to maintain power.
- Terrain: driving uphill uses more energy than driving on level ground, so you may find you have reduced range if you're driving in a particularly hilly area.
- Speed: to reach higher speeds the battery needs to use more power, so the faster you drive the quicker the range will decrease.
- Condition of the battery: like most rechargeable batteries, performance of electric car batteries diminishes over time, however research shows that this reduction of range is minimal year on year. In fact, car manufacturers are so confident in the durability and reliability of an EV battery that most will guarantee the battery for up to eight years (with most car batteries well outlasting their guarantee period!)
With a little effort, planning and route selection you can relax into your journey and enjoy the full range of your electric vehicle.
What can you do to boost your EV’s range?
Here are our top tips to help boost your electric car's range:
Use the regenerative braking system if it’s available
When you brake, the electric motor in a regenerative braking system acts as a generator. It recaptures energy that would otherwise be lost as heat, stores it in the battery, and gives you a range boost. The amount of energy that can be generated depends on the system, but typically adds a few miles' of range. To make the most of the regenerative braking system, drive smoothly and avoid sudden braking.
Check your speed
Electric cars are most efficient when driven at around 50-60mph. If you want to boost your EV's range, stick within this speed bracket. This isn't always possible, especially when driving on the motorway, but the Department of Energy says you’ll use 14% less energy by driving 10mph slower than usual. Try to stick within this where possible and you’ll see a significant improvement in your EV's range.
Plan your route
The terrain you're driving on can have an impact on your EV's range. Driving uphill uses more power than driving on level ground, so avoid hilly routes if you're trying to get more miles from your electric car battery. If you can, plan your route in advance and you can now use eco-friendly routing on your Google Maps app to find the most efficient route.
Keep your tyres inflated
It might seem like a small thing, but making sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure can help to improve your EV's range. Under-inflated tyres create more resistance, so the battery has to work harder to maintain power.
Switch off unnecessary features
Your electric car's battery doesn't just power the engine, it also powers all the electrical features in the car, like the lights, radio and air conditioning. When you're trying to conserve battery power, switch off any features that you don't need. While the radio, lights and windscreen wipers only have a tiny effect on the battery performance, air conditioning and heating use more power. Many of us are guilty of having the heating or air-con on full blast. By turning it down or switching it off completely, you can help improve your EV's range.
The best way to keep your EV's battery in good condition is to charge it regularly. This prolongs the lifespan of the battery and makes sure it remains at peak performance. Keeping your battery topped up between 20 - 80% is a good rule of thumb. It’s best not to let your battery completely run out. If you're going on a long journey, stop for a quick charge when you can to stay in the optimum range. If you're concerned about the condition of your battery, take it to a specialist for a check-up.
The heavier your car, the harder the battery has to work to maintain power. So, if you're trying to boost your EV's range, it's best to travel light. Remove any unnecessary items from the car before your journey. You can minimise drag by keeping your windows up and by keeping the car clean.
This includes things like bike racks and roof boxes, as they add extra weight and drag to the car. By removing these accessories when you’re not using them you can reduce drag and save battery power.
Keep your EV well maintained
Like any other car, an electric car needs to be well maintained to run efficiently. This means regular servicing, keeping the tyres in good condition and making sure that all the fluids are topped up. A well-maintained EV will be more efficient and have a longer range. Our customers get maintenance included when they take an electric car with our salary sacrifice scheme, so car maintenance is one (very big) thing they can take off their to-do list!.
Sudden acceleration and braking use more power than a steady speed, so by avoiding sudden movements you’ll be able to conserve battery power. Accelerate and brake slowly and smoothly, taking corners gently. This only requires making small changes to your driving style, but it can have a big impact on your EV's range.
A few small tweaks to your driving habits can greatly improve your EV’s range. Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular. If you're worried about running out of charge, there are a few things you can do to help improve your EV's range. From inflating your tyres, to driving smoothly, these tips can help you to get the most out of your EV's battery. The great news is that as technology improves, EVs and charging systems are becoming more and more efficient, and the electric cars of the future will be able to take us even further. To find out what cars we currently have on offer and how many miles you’ll get out of each, take a look at our long-range EVs.