We’re on the road to a greener future, and the electric vehicle (EV) market is booming. With more than 400,000 EVs and 750,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) estimated to be on UK roads, it’s clear that Brits are quickly getting behind the PM’s ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ plans.
With EV manufacturers ironing out previous issues with range and a focus on more powerful batteries, there’s never been a better time to invest in EV technology. But how do you get the most out of your EV car or van? Let’s find out:
Try not to let your battery drop lower than 20%
EV batteries use advanced management systems to prevent degradation, making them last for longer when charged correctly. It’s generally recommended that drivers should try and keep their battery somewhere between 20% and 80% charge for general use. Unless you are planning a long road trip, you should try and resist the urge to charge to 100%.
Rapid charging might be your go-to method of refueling your battery, but taking advantage of overnight charging at home is just as good and avoids all the faff of having to plug in on the go. After all, ‘fast’ chargers run between 7 and 22kW, which is what you can expect from your own supply at home.
Plan your route ahead of time
Driving predominantly on motorways requires more energy as you have to go at faster speeds, meaning that in turn, you will have to recharge your battery more often.
It’s best to play your route before heading out. You can use an app like Route4Me Route Planner to get the most efficient routes for your destination. Where possible, try and opt for slower roads. This will help to reduce energy consumption and make your battery last longer.
Plus, knowing the lay of the land ahead of your journey means that you can keep tabs on the nearest charging points along your route if required.
Ease up on the accelerator
Did you know that one of the key features of EVs is their innovative regenerative braking? In layman’s terms, they take kinetic energy from the car’s motion and convert it into electricity – essentially a power-up as you drive.
To get the most out of this feature, you should relax your foot on the accelerator rather than braking. This will allow the electric motor to act as a generator, which will create reverse torque to the front wheels, naturally slowing the car down.
Using this ‘braking’ technique will reduce the load onto the battery and save energy by recovering up to 10% in normal driving conditions and 30% when you’re going downhill.
Try to avoid regular harsh acceleration, as this can also impact your EVs range and overall battery health just as it would burn fuel in petrol or diesel-powered vehicles.
Dial down the heat
One of the biggest drains on your EV battery is running your heater on full blast. If you’re feeling chilly, dial down the climate control and instead rely on your heated seats and heated steering wheel function (if your EV allows!) This will keep things toasty as you drive in colder conditions, all while using less energy from your battery.
Top tip: preheat your car while it’s plugged in, so you don’t have to rely on climate control as much as you drive.
Don’t rely on the AC to keep you cool
Just like pumping up the heat, relying on the air conditioning will take its toll on your EV’s battery power at a rapid rate.
Instead, switch to fan only rather than the compressor whenever possible or simply crack open a window. However, remember that the latter will ultimately take a toll on your EV’s aerodynamics at higher speeds and slightly reduce its operating range as it uses up more energy to combat the “drag” effect.
However, these alternatives are still better than operating your AC at full blast, as this will drain the battery far more quickly than driving with your windows down.
Top tip: pre-cool your car during the hotter months while your EV is on charge so that you don’t need to rely on your AC once you get on the road.
Check your tyres
Shockingly, as many as a quarter of all vehicles on the roads have improperly inflated tyres. No matter what type of vehicle you are driving, it’s essential to have your tyres correctly inflated with no holes or scuffs that could lead to further damage.
Driving an EV with under-inflated tyres will not only lead to uneven tread wear on your tyres, but it will take a hit on your car’s overall energy consumption.
However, regularly checking the air pressure on your tyres using a simple tyre gauge will ensure your tyres are safe for the road. It’s recommended that your stick to anything between 35 and 45 psi as directed by your EV manufacturer.
Want an EV but not sure how to afford it?
With the UK government pushing for a net-zero blanket ban on emissions by 2050, the race is on to upgrade your fuel guzzler to a cleaner, more efficient machine. Within the next decade, you won’t be able to buy a new petrol or diesel vehicle off the forecourt, and hybrids will quickly follow suit by 2035.
But, EVs aren’t exactly cheap in the first instance. The answer? Apply for car finance.
Car finance not only opens up a wider selection of vehicles for you to choose from, but it allows you to get a brand new or secondhand car straight away and then pay a series of affordable monthly payments over a fixed period that won’t break the bank.
What’s more, even consumers with a poor or “bad” credit score can apply. No matter what your circumstances – whether you’re self employed, have a default, a CCJ, IVA or bankruptcy, there are a selection of reputable, specialist lenders out there who focus on “bad credit” car finance.
Then there is the government-funded Plug-in’ Grant Scheme to consider. This gets you a discount of up to £1,500 on a broad selection of EVs below the £40,000 price bracket that you can use alongside cash or finance at the dealership.
EVs are the future of driving. With the right amount of care, you can get the most out of your electric vehicle and keep your wheels on the road for years to come!
Alex Thomas is a writer for Carvine, the UK’s specialist car finance company. His work has been published on Entrepreneur, The Next Web, Hackernoon and more.