Boost EV Range and Preserve Your Battery
Proper battery maintenance is probably the key place you can make a difference in its longevity and range. Batteries should not be left sitting at 100% or 0% charge for very long. When leaving your EV for extended time periods, it should be left plugged in with the charge level set to 50%. Additionally, extreme temperatures should be avoided and when possible EVs are better kept in garages.
Keep it Clean
Perhaps one of the simplest tips on this list and applies to all types of vehicles. Keeping your vehicle tidy inside and out makes it nicer to drive and eliminates any unnecessary weight. This reduces strain on the vehicle overall and can help for longer battery life.
Shut Your Windows
This won’t be a favorite tip, but can make a difference. Again, this goes for all types of vehicles. Keeping your windows shut will help with overall fuel consumption. Open windows affect aerodynamics and creates drag, which can rob you of as much as 10% of fuel economy.
Suffer the Cold or Heat
Air conditioning and heating also tax fuel economy. In fact, some studies have shown that air conditioning on medium setting can tax the vehicle more than driving with the windows open (the jury seems to be out about which is actually worse). This tip may be particularly true for EVs and hybrids, who can suffer in range more than their ICE counterparts.
Leave it Smooth
Studies have shown that roof racks can affect fuel efficiency of an ICE vehicle by almost 25%. This will also be true for EVs, which are often designed with a high level of aerodynamics in mind. If you must have a roof rack, get one that can be removed when you aren’t using it.
On the Level
For any vehicle, maintaining correct and consistent air pressure in the tires is important. While modern cars provide sensors, their purpose is to alert the driver with problems, not maintain the car. This is another easy maintenance tactic that is beneficial to your entire vehicle. You don’t have to do it every time you charge, but checking it weekly or biweekly is a good habit to have.
Keeping alignment correct is decidedly more involved than tire pressure and perhaps even more important. Even just hitting a curb can knock alignment off, causing your vehicle to work harder to do its job. Not only can this affect range, it may also cause uneven wear on your tires or other problems. If your tire pressure is even, but your car is listing one direction or another, get it checked it out.
This is another easier tip and one that is useful for any driver to save time & fuel economy. Plan ahead when you travel, whether it’s your daily commute or a cross-country road trip. Map the most direct route to your destination and follow it, even better if there is a charger or two en route.
Cruise When You Can
Wherever possible engage cruise control if you have it. The vehicle’s computer can manage a consistent speed far more efficiently than you can (no matter how well you drive). This is especially true on flat stretches. Once the terrain becomes steeper or continuously changing, manual control may become more efficient.
Using the Road
If your vehicle uses regenerative braking, there are ways to maximize its use. Brushing the break on downhill sections of road help to keep your speed constant and give your battery a little boost. Just be aware of your surroundings and ensure that no one is close behind you.
Timing is Everything
Timing your charge can help preserve battery health and keep you charging during off-peak hours. Most EV batteries will begin to discharge once they have finished charging. To avoid this and maybe recover a few miles of range, charge fully just before you depart.
Gamify Your Commute
Make your commute a little more exciting by focusing on beating your own range records (or those of a co-worker). This forces you as a driver to pay close attention to what eats up battery life and which methods prolong it. Useful for your commute as well as those moments where you are struggling with range anxiety.
Have Your Own Tip?
If you have a great tip to keep your battery healthy or increase range, we’d love to hear it. Or, if you’d like to learn more about the EV world, be sure to check out some EV terms or acronyms for more useful info.