5 Things Every Owner of an Electric Vehicle Should Know
There is no denying the fact that an electric revolution is happening on the roads of the world. With rising sales of electric vehicles, we have also seen increased interest in topics that are related to electric cars on our blog. And we love to talk and write about electric cars as it is probably the “hottest” topic in the automotive world right now.
This article is full of useful tips for anyone who already owns an electric vehicle, is thinking of buying an electric vehicle or rents an electric vehicle at their nearest car-sharing service. Just like automatic cars, diesel cars and petrol cars, electric cars come with certain specifics. Knowing those specifics can save you both money and time. Here are our 5 top tips for every owner of an electric vehicle!
1. Get to know the basics
If you just bought an electric vehicle, you probably saw these units before: kW, kWh, kWh/100km, AC, DC. Learning what each of these units stands for is like understanding the fuel capacity and consumption figures with a diesel or a petrol car.
- AC/DC electric current
Stands for kilowatt which is a measure of power. The power of your electric car’s engine is rated in kilowatts or kW’s for short.
Stands for kilowatt-hour and is a measure of energy. It is used to describe the capacity of your electric vehicles battery and the amount of energy that is transferred from the electric charger into your car.
Stands for kilowatt-hours per 100 km (62 miles) and it represents how much energy your electric vehicle consumes per 100 km or 62 miles.
Slow to fast charging points supply anywhere from 3kW to 22kW of power and they work with alternating current or AC for short. Rapid and ultra-rapid charging points deliver 25kW to 99kW of power and in order to do so, use the direct current or DC. All electric cars have maximum AC/DC charge rates predefined.
2. Rapid charging
Rapid charging is a big selling point for many electric vehicles on the market. While it is great that you can recharge your battery for up to 80% in a matter of minutes, there are some downsides.
What the dealerships don’t like to mention is the fact that rapid charging causes a lot of stress on the battery cells. Doing it repeatedly does eventually cause damage to your electric car’s battery. For battery longevity, slow charging should be done more often than rapid charging.
The downside of rapid charging is also the fact that rapid chargers are only capable to fill up your battery to around 80%. If you want a full charge, expect to wait a bit longer.
3. Charging in the rain
Electricity and water do not mix. This is something we all learned as kids. But contrary to your beliefs, electric cars can be easily charged in the rain. In fact, all charging points must have at least an IP44 waterproof rating. This means that charging in the rain is 100% secure. More modern charging points even offer IP65 waterproof ratings that are tested against water jets from all angles and they even offer complete protection from dust.
4. Do not ignore the costs of charging
While this is mostly true for rapid charging, we recommend you check the cost of charging at every charging point you choose. Some rapid charging points that are located in strict city centres or close to highways can cost you almost double the typical electricity cost at home or at a regular charging point. Such rates make electric cars more expensive to “fuel up” and drive than medium-sized diesel or petrol hybrid vehicles.
5. Towing and getting towed in an electric vehicle
Very few electric vehicles on today’s market have any towing capacity. If you plan on using an electric vehicle for towing, make sure the electric car you bought is suitable for towing. If it is not, do not attempt to tow. It goes without saying that exceeding the towing capacity is also not recommended. For serious towing, a strong diesel car is still the way to go (or the expensive Tesla Model X).
Electric vehicles and hybrids are also not meant to be towed like the usual diesel or petrol car that can be towed with a tow strap or rope. The thing that prevents electric vehicles from being towed is their regenerative
braking function. Therefore, just like with some automatic petrol or diesel cars, electric vehicles need to be towed with all-wheels-up trailers or flatbed trucks. Not doing so can cause major damage to the electric engines.
1. Seat heating instead of interior heating
The maximum output of a heater fan in a car is over five kilowatts. But the seat heating delivers a comfortable, warm feeling with just a few hundred watts of power. Additionally, If you also set the interior temperature to 19 degrees instead of 22 degrees celsius, you save a lot of battery capacity by not using the fan heater at maximum output. The driving range is then considerably longer.
2. Use zone control for air conditioning
Only heat the places that are occupied. In this way, you avoid unnecessary waste of energy for hot air. This also saves the battery and extends the driving range.
3. Turn on the windshield heater
If available, use the windshield heater wires in the back windows and in the windshield. Avoid using the power-hungry heater fan for defrosting. The wire heater needs barely 100 watts, while the fan heater for the windshield alone needs up to two kilowatts.
4. Park the car in a garage
The temperatures in the garage are up to five degrees higher on cold nights than outside. Extreme cold results in lesser battery performance. Underground garages, which are usually warmer, are of course even better.
5. Use the charge controller
Almost all electric cars have a charge controller that allows you to set the planned departure time. If you use this control, the battery charges in such a way that the charging process is just completed at the time of departure. The battery is then preheated by charging, which provides additional usable capacity.
6. Preheat the car
If your car allows it, you can also pre-program the interior air conditioning for departure: the interior and battery are then heated with electricity from the socket instead of electricity from the battery.
Owning an electric car requires some specific knowledge that you don’t necessarily hear about in your car’s manual. Certain tips that we listed can greatly improve your experience of owning an electric vehicle. The additional tips we listed are based on our research on EV forums and other online communities, do you have any more tips and tricks? Tell us in the comments!