So, you decided to make the switch, trading in your trusty internal combustion engine for a zero-emission plug-in electric vehicle. Congrats! You probably already know a lot about the advantages of electric cars for the environment, but you still need to fit driving an EV into your daily routine. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your new car:
1. Know your vehicle's settings
EVs have different modes that affect performance and power usage. For example, the Tesla Model S can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds in Ludicrous Mode, but that means giving up range. Take the time to bone up on all of your car's capabilities so you can be smart about using your battery.
2. Plan your route
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are now over 18,000 public chargers across the country. Still, it's always important to think ahead about how far your car can go and where you'll grab some more juice if you need it along the way.
3. Install a charger at home
The most convenient place to plug in is your own garage, but relying on a Level 1 cordset plugged into a 120-volt outlet means you only get a few miles of driving from each hour of charge. After a long drive, it could take all day to fill your battery again. Installing a 240-volt outlet and a Level 2 charger lets you fill up five times faster.
4. Be considerate at public electric vehicle charging stations
We all have to share public chargers, so always follow the Golden Rule. You wouldn't want to be kept waiting because someone else was hogging the outlet; move your car when you're finished charging.
5. Empty out the trunk
Like any car, an EV runs more efficiently when it's not weighed down. To get the fullest range out of each charge, take any heavy items you don't need out of the trunk.
6. Perform regular maintenance
Electric cars generally require a lot less work than gasoline-powered vehicles, but some basic care is still necessary. Keep the tires inflated, regularly change the air filter and check fluid levels.
7. Be extra careful with battery life during the winter
During the colder months, it's particularly important to keep an eye on your power. The heating system uses a lot for energy, and the battery doesn't function as efficiently in chilly weather. Preconditioning the battery before driving and switching to Eco Mode are good ways to deal with these issues.
8. Take advantage of regenerative braking
The regenerative braking systems in EVs help a great deal to preserve charge, recapturing a large portion of the energy lost as you slow down. Depending on driving conditions and your vehicle's size, this can be a significant benefit for driving range.
9. Take a portable EV charger with you
For longer journeys, in case of emergencies or just for convenience, it's wise to keep a portable charger in the car. With a 240-volt outlet, you can get three times the charging speed of a Level 1 cord set.
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