Your guide to efficient electric vehicle driving
We’ve seen the emergence of electric vehicles (EVs) from the driver’s seat.
With more and more of our members deciding to choose an EV, our high-quality cover has also evolved to meet new requirements. That means we’ve also spent a great deal of time researching the cars themselves and how they work.
We’ve used this knowledge to put together a short guide to efficient driving for those unfamiliar with EVs. With our help, you can get behind the wheel of your new car and enjoy the journey knowing you’re making the most of every watt of energy.
As a rule, your electric car will be at its most efficient when it is travelling at a constant speed. Likewise, whatever make or model of EV you have, braking will always consume energy. Although EVs are fitted with regenerative braking (where friction from the brakes is converted into energy) you will still lose more than you gain from pressing that brake pedal.
As with any petrol or diesel car, rapid acceleration and severe braking use more energy in an EV. An aggressive driving style is therefore not recommended. Read the road ahead for a smoother drive, using cruise control on long, flat roads, where it is safe to do so. Try to avoid using the brake until your speed is at about 10mph. The best time to use your regenerative braking is in traffic jams where start and stop driving cannot be avoided.
Monitor your speed
You won't be surprised to hear that the faster you go in an EV, the higher your energy consumption. But instead of an empty fuel tank you’ll have a drained battery.
Consider driving more slowly, where possible, to increase battery range. Whilst the most efficient speed in an EV is below 10mph, this is not realistic for those on longer journeys, although it highlights why EVs are well suited for city driving. If you’re travelling faster try to keep your speed constant. Close windows at 45mph and above as this will reduce drag.
Become familiar with eco-features
One of the big advantages of EVs is the extra features they provide thanks to the electrification of many functions. It may sound like common sense, but do take the time to read your manual and brush up on any additional features that will benefit you. Familiarise yourself with any ‘eco’ settings your vehicle may have and learn how to switch on regenerative braking, which returns energy to your battery.
Follow the manufacturers’ guidelines for charging your battery. Generally, batteries will last longer if they are maintained between 20% and 80% charge, being charged to 100% only when necessary and not being left on low charge for sustained periods.
Cut back on air conditioning and heating
With an electric vehicle you’ll be using up your car's battery through features such as air conditioning. Therefore, be careful when pressing those switches and don't simply put your AC on as a default before the start of every journey. Radio or Sat Navs are not going to be a massive drain on your car’s electricity but every little helps. And do you really need those heated seats on a warm spring day?
It's tempting to use our car’s boot as a general storage space. However, a heavier car requires more energy to make it move and taking unnecessary things out of your EV will positively impact efficiency. Got a bike rack that hasn't been used for a few years? Remove it until you decide to take up your hobby again.
Keep things in working order
With a smaller number of moving parts than petrol and diesel internal combustion engines, there are fewer things which can potentially go wrong with EVs. However, they need maintenance like any other car. While you will not need to top up engine oil or worry about things like clutch systems or spark plugs, you should regularly check parts like brakes, tyres, wipers and lights.
Knowing where you’re going and avoiding traffic jams is a guaranteed way to reduce your journey time and energy consumption.
If you’re making a long journey, check that there are charge points you can access along the way. Plan your route, using services such as Zap-Map, to make sure your journey includes places to get a top up.
Before you start out, check your tyres are properly inflated as underinflation can lead to increased energy consumption. Is your car fully charged as you’d be surprised how many people actually forget to plug in before they go?
Choose the right insurer
Finally, life is always unpredictable so make sure you have the proper insurance in place for your EV. This includes battery cover against accidental damage, fire and theft, cover for damage to charging cables, chargers and home wall boxes and protection should someone trip over your cables.
We offer our EV insurance customers EV boost from RAC, which can give you a 10‑mile boost at the roadside to get you to the nearest charging point if you run out of charge on the road.
Efficient driving is safer and less expensive driving - enjoy your new EV and the benefits it offers.