What You Need to Know
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The range is the most important stat to consider when it comes to buying an electric car. Whether you are able to complete your daily commute, make it to the next charging spot, or end up stranded on the side of the road waiting for recovery will depend on the range.
Since EVs can’t travel for as long as most traditional combustion engine cars before they need ‘filling up’, the range is an aspect of electric cars that has been heavily scrutinised since they first came on the market.
How Far Can an Electric Car Go on a Full Charge?
EVs can travel much further than most people realise when the battery is fully charged. With manufacturers always bringing out new models and variants with improved ranges, there is now more choice and flexibility than ever before when it comes to finding an electric car that best suits your needs.
The battery size, measured in kWh, is the most important factor to consider when figuring out how far an electric car is going to be able to travel.
Simply put, the higher the kWh figure, the more miles the car will usually be able to travel on a single charge. Some electric cars such as the Volkswagen ID 3 or the Tesla Model 3 have different variants with different battery sizes to choose from, with the variants that have a larger battery chargeable to travel more miles.
Today, more and more EVs are capable of travelling more than 200 miles on a single charge, and some can go more than 300 miles without charging your electric car.
Miles Per Full Charge
In general, most of the modern electric cars that are available today will be able to travel between 150 and 300 miles on a full charge, which tends to be enough for both people who drive short and long distances each day.
The range of the vehicle will also depend on several other factors including the size of the battery, the size of the car itself, and the aerodynamics.
The outside temperature and the battery heating efficiency can also have an impact. It’s normal for electric cars to have a lower range in cold weather compared to warm weather.
The same is true for traditional combustion engine vehicles, where the miles per gallon can be affected by various environmental factors such as the outside temperature.
How Long Do EV Batteries Last?
Just like any other battery in the devices that you use such as your laptop or smartphone, an EV battery will start to lose capacity over time.
Almost all electric cars today will use a lithium-ion battery as their main power unit, and these batteries naturally degrade over time as they are charged and discharged. However, don’t let this put you off as they are very suitable for electric cars, and highly reliable.
How long you can expect the battery to last in your EV will depend on several different factors including the number of miles that you cover in your car.
In general, you can expect most EV batteries to last for around ten years or more, so it’s likely to be a while before you get to a point where you need to replace the battery or the car in order to get from A to B.
However, bear in mind that since lithium-ion batteries do degrade over time, you might find that the longer you have been driving your car, the fewer miles you may be able to cover before it needs to be recharged.
That being said, EV battery technology is always improving, and a growing number of models are now offering a better rate of degradation even with over 100k miles on the clock.
How Often to Charge an Electric Car
MOT data released by the Department for Transport found that the average car in the UK covers around 7,500 miles each year. In perspective, this equates to around 144 miles per week or just over twenty miles a day.
If you travel an average distance, and your electric car has a range of at least 150 miles, then you may only need to do one full charge per week, or smaller more regular charges such as one hour per night to keep you on the road without running out of juice.
Experts recommend a ‘little and often’ approach to charging your electric car while trying to stay within the ranges of between 20% to 80% battery capacity rather than letting it drop to 0% charged or charging all the way up to 100%.
How to Look After Your Electric Car Battery
Recent battery health research from Geotab found that in order to optimise battery health best, it’s a good idea to set your car charge to 80%, which is possible within the settings of most EVs today.
While it’s fine to let your car fully charge on days where you are going to be charging a long distance and will need the additional range, only charging up to 80% as much as possible will help you preserve the life and health of your battery.
Also, if your car is not going to be driven for some time, for example, if you are going on holiday, then experts recommend leaving the battery neither empty nor full. Keep it somewhere between 20% and 80% charged whenever the car is going to be left parked.
How to Increase Your EV’s Range
Like all vehicles, the range and efficiency of the EV will be affected by your driving habits. Driving at the top speeds will usually have the biggest impact on the efficiency and range as the rolling resistance and air pressure will rapidly increase the faster you are going, especially when you start to hit speeds of more than 65mph.
Along with this, most EVs use regenerative braking, which slows the car down when you lift off the accelerator pedal, generating electricity to store in the battery as you slow the car down.
Making use of this feature more often will help you generate more range, so you can prolong the range available by lifting off the accelerator when approaching junctions and traffic lights rather than pressing the brake pedal.
This can take some getting used to if you have only driven a traditional internal combustion engine car previously, but most EV drivers are able to change their driving habits quite quickly to get the most out of their electric car.
Along with this, if you are planning a longer trip, you’ll need to get into the habit of taking a little bit more time to plan for a charging break if needed.
Dealing with Range Anxiety
Range anxiety refers to the fear that your EV won’t have enough charge to reach your destination. However, most EV drivers report that this anxiety began to fade once they started actually driving an EV.
Running out of charge is no longer an issue compared to the early days of electric vehicles, with longer ranges available on many cars and easy access to public charging stations that are popping up everywhere.
If you’re thinking about getting an electric car, then the range is one of the most important aspects to consider.
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