Driving an electric vehicle? Here are the top tips for new EV drivers
More and more Canadians are making the switch to driving electric vehicles. Not only are there multiple benefits to switching from an ICE vehicle to a battery-powered EV, but it is also becoming more popular and affordable to do so. While we see more and more EVs on the roads, not everyone is familiar with electric cars; furthermore, EVs are not the same as traditional cars, so some of the same driving habits are needed to keep them in good condition.
In this article, we are sharing the most practical tips on how to drive an electric car efficiently. These will be a handful of tips for both new and used electric vehicle (EV) drivers. Why? Because there are new factors to consider when driving an electric vehicle, such as home charging and planning routes.
Now let’s check out these top tips for EV drivers.
Think about the purpose of the vehicle
It’s crucial to know your intended use for driving an electric vehicle if you’re considering buying one or have just done so. For example, is it the new family workhorse or just a car to drive around town in? This primary function of your EV allows you to easily narrow down the various options available to you when purchasing an EV and plan your EV’s usage.
When you know how you’ll use your EV, you may start to think more carefully about questions like: Can you charge at work? Or is it possible to charge your EV during your weekly shopping or at the gym? Is there a charger nearby that I can access? These questions are important, as if you need to travel long distances, it is important to get an electric vehicle with good battery efficiency or drive in areas where multiple fast charging stations are readily available. You can find detailed maps of EV chargers on the internet, so make sure to plan ahead when going about your daily tasks.
Understand the range of the EV
Many of the most recent electric vehicles now have ranges that approach or even exceed 400 kilometers. However, if you have an electric vehicle with a limited range or an older model used electric vehicle, you may want to think about ways to extend the range of your vehicle. There are two essential tips that you can follow to reduce the battery consumption of your electric vehicle. The first is to reduce the weight of the vehicle and lighten any unnecessary load. Adding weight to your vehicle just increases energy consumption, and this is true for both electric vehicles and conventional vehicles that run on fossil fuels. The second step is to ensure that your EV’s tire pressure is correct, as incorrect tire pressure will not only reduce the range of your vehicle, but will also result in unnecessary tyre wear and tear and may even affect how the car handles.
There are further ways to extend your EV’s range. If your electric vehicle has an “Eco” mode, for instance, it will effectively reduce acceleration and help you conserve battery life. Regenerative braking systems, which let you control how much energy the car puts back into its battery, are also common in EVs. The more powerful the setting you select, the quicker the car will slow down when you let off the energy, and the more energy you’ll save.
Drive your electric vehicle efficiently
Whenever possible, try to slow down your speed. You’ll not only avoid a speeding penalty, but you’ll also extend the life of your battery.
If your EV has a “Eco” option, use it for smoother acceleration; if it has a sport mode that makes things more exciting, keep it turned off. Simply said, driving aggressively will drain your EV’s battery faster. It may be tempting to use an EV’s instant torque for quick starts, but it’s better to take it easy while accelerating from a stop.
Use your EV’s energy-recovering regenerative braking function whenever possible, and activate the brakes only when required. Enable the maximum regeneration setting on your vehicle to send extra power back to the batteries while decelerating.
Weather is always important when driving an electric vehicle
Driving an EV in the Canadian winter requires some climate-specific maintenance, as the batteries and the EV usually require additional steps of conditioning to allow for proper usage and quality over a long period of time. Power and battery output are the major obstacles to using EVs in cold weather. However, it’s crucial to focus on additional factors as well. Your windshield washer fluid, for instance, might require an additional winter-appropriate blend. You can avoid using electricity by operating the defroster and keeping an excellent ice scraper available to help clean that frosty windshield. Electric vehicles can be a fun and cost-effective mode of transportation. Before driving in your EV this winter, be sure you are aware of its cold-weather needs. When purchasing a vehicle at a dealership, inquire about the necessary maintenance and tricks to do during colder weather, and make sure to carefully read the owner’s manual for future references.
Battery and EV specific care
Battery life and car range should be the first and maybe primary focus when maintaining an electric vehicle, as well as when applying care and effort. That’s especially important in Canada, where the severe winters might cause more battery damage than in other places with a different temperature. This is due to lower charging and output levels, which might be the result of a battery bank’s internal chemical reactivity, which can be impacted by cold weather. Insulation is crucial even if you charge your EV indoors or under cover, as the batteries may still become cold while you’re driving. Remember that towing an electric vehicle frequently necessitates a flatbed tow; because the motor won’t disengage as it would in a gas-powered vehicle if you run out of power while you’re on the road.
You might also want to consider making an underground parking purchase or making room in your garage for the cold winter nights. Fast charging generates a lot of heat, which can also damage your batteries. To maintain proper battery condition, keep the battery at temperatures ranging from 10 to 40 degrees Celsius. Additionally, since EVs lack combustion or conventional motors, the drivetrain and wheel motors are crucial to regularly maintain because they are simpler but require more skill. Compared to an internal combustion engine, an electric motor is a much simpler mechanism that nearly never needs to be replaced. Since most electric vehicles only have one multi-speed motor, there is no transmission to allow the vehicle to shift between gears. This implies the absence of transmission fluid in the traditional sense.
EVs include a maintenance-intensive reduction gearbox between the engine and the wheels that even EV manufacturers might refer to as “transmission fluid.” Keeping these two core components in check can allow your EV to properly run over its lifetime in Canada.
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