electric car road trip

6 Tips to Maximize Your Electric Vehicle’s Range on Road Trips

An electric car is a good idea for a family, even if a family plans a long ride. With these six great tips for packing the battery and helping efficiency and range, hit the road with less stress in your electric vehicle.

1. Drive Smoothly and Steadily

EV drivers should learn that one of the best ways to maximize the miles on a battery charge is to drive smoothly and steadily. It sounds obvious, but how is this best done?

  • Accelerate Gradually: Heavy acceleration strains your battery. Try to take it easy on the accelerator.
  • Anticipate Traffic: Look up and anticipate the traffic flow, thereby reducing unnecessary hard or sudden braking and acceleration. You’d be able to keep a steady speed and save your energy for yourself this way.
  • Use Cruise Control: Drive on highways or long streets with the cruise control on to maintain constant speed. This can help greatly with your efficiency, but there is also less exhaustion on the driver’s part.

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2. Optimize Climate Control Usage

Heating and cooling your car can significantly impact your EV’s battery life. Here are some tips to manage climate control more efficiently:

  • Precondition for charging: If the EV happens to have cabin preconditioning, it means that a car can be heated or cooled inside to a pleasant temperature while it’s plugged in—so you use less battery power out on the road.
  • Dress Right: Layer up when it’s colder and dress lightly with breathable clothes in warm weather. This way, one remains comfortable without overburdening the HVAC system.
  • Use Seat and Steering Wheel Heaters: These require far less energy than heating the full cabin, so use them with the car to minimize the amount of power going anywhere else.

3. Monitor and Adjust Your Speed

Speed directly affects the range of your electric vehicle; the higher the speed, the more energy it will consume. Here is how you can manage speed for better efficiency:

  • Drive at Consistent Speed Ranges: Most EVs usually have moderate speeds where they use energy most effectively. Therefore, try to stick within that range when your vehicle is used to getting its best mileage. AAA recommends driving in a range of 45 to 65 mph (70 to 105 km/h) for max efficiency
  • Avert high speeds: As they create more air resistance, they can significantly shorten your range. Stick to speed limits and avoid aggressive driving.

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4. Use Regenerative Braking Effectively

Regenerative braking captures energy otherwise released during braking and would be wasted. This can significantly extend range if done properly:

  • Turn Regenerative Braking on High: For optimal energy recovery, if your car has regenerative braking, set it to high.
  • Practice One-Pedal Driving: You can drive some electric vehicles (EVs) by using the accelerator, which causes the vehicle to break and return at a very slow pace. When traffic is stop-and-go, this may be highly effective.

5. Maintain Your EV’s Aerodynamics

You may increase your car’s efficiency by reducing drag. Here’s how to maintain the highest aerodynamics for your EV:

  • Take off the Cargo Carriers and Roof Racks: Remove any load carriers or roof racks that are not in use.
  • Keep Windows Closed: Open windows may cause drag. Avoid opening your windows and instead use your car’s air system, especially while you’re moving faster.
  • Streamline Your Load: Make every effort to load your vehicle in a way that preserves its aerodynamic profile. Keeping the car’s shape as smooth as possible helps reduce air resistance.

6. Plan Your Charging Stops Strategically

Efficiently planning your charging stops can help you maintain a steady pace and reduce range anxiety:

  • Use route planning tools: PlugShare, ChargePoint, and your own car’s route planning tool app are able to tell you where charging stations are located along your route.
  • Couple Charging with Breaks: Always time when you will top off your car’s battery for those moments when brakes are most likely, such as at meal stops or rest areas for larger sightseeing excursions. This way, you are not just waiting for your car to charge; you are making the most of that time.
  • Look for Fast Chargers: Where possible, use Level 3 fast chargers that will replenish your battery in time. They help you get back on the road when needed.

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Additional Tips:

  • Maintain Correct Tire Inflation: Low tire pressure can reduce your range and raise rolling resistance. Maintain your tires filled to the proper levels and check their pressure frequently.
  • Limit Accessory Use: Using extraneous extras, such as lights, entertainment systems, or heated seats, will waste battery life. Use them judiciously to conserve energy.

These are great tips for optimizing efficiency and range, making family road trips with an electric vehicle smooth and enjoyable. Happy road trippin’!

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