How to extend EV range

EV owners are more than likely familiar with the varying battery range you can receive from your vehicle. The manufacturer will have declared the number of miles that the model can drive on a full charge, but in reality, you’re likely getting much less than this. In fact, two journeys of equal distance may actually use different amounts of battery life.

This is because there are a variety of factors that can impact an EVs range, such as temperature, terrain, speed and the overall condition of the battery. Not all of these are completely avoidable, but there are some steps you can take in order to squeeze some extra miles out of a single charge.

Keep it light and aerodynamic

The overall weight of your vehicle will have an impact on how many miles you can get from a single charge. Of course, the main bulk of the weight is unavoidable, but if you’re having an EV built brand new, consider selecting lighter materials for certain components, such as the wheels and seats.

If you plan to modify your EV in any way, try not to add too much weight through these changes. If you can reach your desired modifications by switching out parts of the vehicle for lighter ones instead, that’s even better! Be mindful of any additions you make to the exterior of the vehicle. Aerodynamics play a big part in your EVs range, and adding extra components or attachments to the outside of the car can increase wind resistance, causing the battery to use more energy when driving, in turn, decreasing the range.

Keeping your EV free from unnecessary baggage can help keep the weight down too. Remove all clutter and unnecessary items that may be lingering in the footwells, back seats or in the boot whenever possible.

Protect against cold temperatures

Lower temperatures can really do a number on your EV and its battery. So much so that we dedicated an entire blog post to caring for your EV in cold weather. Colder ambient temperatures disrupt the chemical reactions that occur in your EVs battery, reducing the range as a result. If possible, park your EV in a garage when it isn’t in use, or if you do not have access to a garage, invest in a vehicle cover to protect your EV from frost.

Alternative heating and cooling methods

The internal heating system and AC can both heavily contribute to reducing your EVs range. Many EVs have the option to pre-cool or pre-heat your vehicle before you head off for your journey. If you have a home charge point and your EV is plugged in before your journey, utilising these features is a great way to bring your EV to a more suitable temperature using the mains electricity rather than the battery’s charge.

Once you’re on the road, alternative heating systems such as heated seats or a heated steering wheel can help warm up the interior of your vehicle, using significantly less energy than the internal heating system. For warmer weather, opening your windows can help cool the interior without needing AC. However, be aware that driving at high speeds with the windows open can impact the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

Monitor tire pressure

Your vehicle is designed to drive with the manufacturer-recommended PSI. If your tires drop below this figure, both resistance and friction are increased, which can reduce your battery range. Most EVs will inform you on the dashboard whenever your tire pressure drops, and by keeping an air compressor in your vehicle you are able to top up your tires whenever it’s needed, rather than needing to detour to a service station.

Drive efficiently

It can’t come as much of a surprise that driving efficiently can increase your energy efficiency. Utilise eco mode if your EV offers it to conserve some battery range. You can also be more efficient in your driving by avoiding sudden acceleration and braking. Steady, gradual movements put much less pressure on the battery, using less of your battery’s charge. Maintain a steady speed whenever you can, and avoid excessive idling. These are easier said than done if you drive in traffic-heavy areas, but if you can plan your route to avoid notoriously busy streets, you can save a couple of miles!

If your EV offers regenerative braking, it’s beneficial to have this enabled. Regenerative braking will slowly charge your battery whenever the brake pedal is pressed. This is an easy way to earn back a few miles without doing anything extra, and it can combat the mileage usually lost when sitting in stop-start traffic.

Keeping your battery healthy

All of the above tips can help you extend your EVs range on each journey, but over time your battery will degrade, resulting in a lower average range. Don’t fear, EV batteries have a relatively long lifespan, with many manufacturers offering an 8-10 year warranty on this specific part. Nevertheless, they do degrade over time, so here are two ways you can help maintain the health of your battery for longer.

Keep your EV warm – cold temperatures decrease your battery range pretty much immediately, but hotter temperatures have a much more long-term effect. Heat can degrade your battery, so always park your EV in a garage when possible, and if not, try and park in a shaded area when temperatures are particularly high.

80% charge – the final 20% of charging an EV happens a lot slower and heats the battery a lot more in the process. If you can make your upcoming journey with only 80% charge, it’s advised to keep that as the maximum, to prevent unnecessary wear and tear to the battery. Although, if you do need the range of 100% charge, don’t be discouraged from fully charging your vehicle!

Utilising some or all of these tips will help you extend your EVs range, whilst protecting your battery’s health in the process.