Electric vehicles can be heavier than your normal everyday internal combustion engine vehicles, so its important to practice safe driving etiquette. According to Motoring Electric, if you can drive an automatic car, you can drive an electric car. It’s as simple as that. Driving electric cars is easier than you might first think and here are a few things to bear in mind before you get behind the wheel of one.
When you look at a petrol or diesel car, and compare it to an electric car, you’ll see there isn’t really that much difference, the controls are pretty much the same too. Apart from some recharging and adjustment of your driving etiquette a little, you’re good to go.
EV driving: the basics
All the principles of driving an electric car are exactly the same as using a more conventional car. However, there are differences in the way power is delivered to the wheels. Recharging will become apart of your daily routine and you’ll get used to not hearing barely any engine noise. You could find that you prefer driving an electric car, but what are the basics on how to drive one first?
Here are some basics on how to drive an electric car:
Press the ‘Power’ button on the dashboard to turn the car on.
Use the accelerator pedal to move forward and the brake pedal to slow down or stop.
When you brake in an electric car, “regenerative braking” draws energy from the vehicle’s momentum.
Electric vehicles have a lower centre of gravity than most conventional cars due to their large, heavy battery running along most of their base.
Electric vehicles work by having a traction battery pack (or stack) that powers an electric motor. The electric motor(s) usually drive one axle – either front- or rear-wheel drive. But some models add a motor to the other axle or even have a motor on each wheel, for 4-wheel drive, according to the AA.
EV driving: The do’s
It goes without saying that when driving an electric car, its important that you stay safe by doing the following:
Always keeping a safe distance from the vehicles in front of you, as you need more braking time.
Avoid sudden braking or acceleration.
Use regenerative braking to slow down the vehicle instead of using the brakes.
Plan your route ahead of time and make sure you have enough charge to reach your destination.
Be mindful of other drivers and pedestrians on the road.
While doing the above and ensuring that you stay safe when driving an electric vehicle, here are some do’s that we would recommend to do too:
Do plan your route ahead of time and make sure you have enough charge to get to your destination. You can guarantee there will be some electric car charging points along the way if needed, but if in doubt, it’s always a good idea to check where the nearest charging stations are so you can get your car plugged in.
Do use regenerative braking to help recharge the battery.
Do use the car’s eco mode to help conserve energy.
Do use the car’s pre-conditioning feature to heat or cool the car while it’s still plugged in and charging, says the RAC.
EV driving: The don’ts
Here are some don’ts for driving an electric car:
Don’t leave your car plugged in for too long after it’s fully charged. How long it takes to charge an EV depends on the size of the battery and the type of charger, says the RAC which is defined by the power in kilowatts (kW). According to an article on Carmoola, leaving your car plugged in for more than eight hours after it’s been fully charged might cause the battery to degrade faster. However, you can always check with your car manufacturer for specific instructions on how long you should leave your car plugged in after it’s fully charged.
Don’t use the car’s air conditioning or heating system more than necessary. It’s all about power, and if you’re using the air conditioning, heating and media, these are all things that can drain power from the battery. If it’s safe and comfortable to do so, it’s a good idea to switch them off during your trip to save power, says Hertz.
Don’t drive too fast or accelerate too quickly as it can drain the battery faster. According to Motor and Wheels, high speed will result in a reduction in battery life. Electric cars also lose range over time as the battery wears due to internal resistance and other causes, consuming more power will also heat up the battery. As a result, the battery life will be severely compromised. You can also lower your speed and reduce your consumption of energy with a soft acceleration.
Electric vehicle owners have plenty of spare room for five passengers and space in the boot to, so its fair to say they are well equipped. There is a range of inside tech too, from air conditioning to automatic transmission and regenerative braking while selected models feature the latest safety technology and driver aids, such as semi-autonomous tech – supercharging each drive.
Aside from some subtle differences between certain makes and models, driving an electric car is no more challenging than getting behind the wheel of a traditional car and there are few differences really. You’ll enjoy the near-silent driving experience, the smooth and quiet electric motor and the lower running costs, says Motoring Electric.