Five easy ways to increase electric vehicle range

Five easy ways to increase electric vehicle range

October 23rd 2016 | Benjamin Yong
bmw i3 hatch
Practicing a few good habits can go a long way in increasing the range of your electric vehicle. Photo by Benjamin Yong.


Bring up the topic of pure and plug-in electric vehicles, and the conversation about range will invariably surface. The good news is the amount of distance the latest EVs are able to cover have improved significantly compared to just a few short years ago, and there are also simple measures drivers can take to squeeze a little extra juice out of their journeys. Here are five of them.

driving

Use gentle inputs

Although coming from the internal combustion handbook, this tip works just as well in the electric world. Stomping on the throttle drains the battery quicker than if you gradually accelerate. In addition, avoid jabbing the brakes, which often results in a subsequent aggressive application of the gas pedal to get back up to speed.

Try and look ahead to anticipate traffic so there’s plenty of time to react.

Google Maps

Plan your route

Rather than make several trips back-and-forth from home to, say, tend to errands, plan a schedule that involves getting from destination to destination in a logical manner, all at once. This reduces the number of kilometres driven and amount of power consumed.

Also, opt for level city roads over highways and steep inclines when there’s a choice, as EVs are much more efficient at low and stable speeds.

BMW i3 Eco Pro

Read the manual

Every EV model is configured differently, some with different modes that are changeable to alter the behaviour and/or efficiency of the vehicle. The BMW i3 for example features COMFORT, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+, the latter two restricting top speed and reducing climate control energy consumption in order to achieve more kilometres.

Learn about the different settings and know when to use or not use them to your advantage.

tire pressure

Perform general maintenance

Cars that run off electricity rather than gasoline require a lot less maintenance overall, but it is still important to keep all components in tip-top shape to ensure maximum range isn’t reduced.  

Regularly checking and keeping the correct tire pressure is often overlooked by owners, even though being just a few psi off may cause the vehicle to work much harder, thus using more energy than is needed.

Audi A3 e-tron connect app

Pre-condition

Did you know turning on the heater or the air conditioning in an EV actually depletes battery power? To combat this, keep the interior at a comfortable temperature before stepping inside.

There are two methods: park appropriately according to season, so under shade during hotter months and inside in the winter, if possible. Or heat/cool the car first while it’s still plugged in. The Audi A3 e-tron makes it easy with the connect companion app allowing remote climate control access.

About the Author

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5.

Twitter: @b_yong
Instagram: @popuplights