There are many things electric vehicle owners can do to improve the range of their cars, and most of them are pretty simple to figure out.
In this list, we compiled the top 10 EV range tips available. We derived several of them from Tom Moloughney’s winter range video (above), and the others are weather-independent tips. Plus, there's a more Tesla-specific video with tips at the bottom of this post.
Weather Tip: Precondition Before Driving
In the dead of winter, preconditioning your battery can spark a massive efficiency increase. Since Li-ion batteries hold an affinity to warmer temperatures and suffer from significant efficiency losses in cold conditions, preconditioning is the best diversion. You're using "shore power" rather than onboard power to heat up the pack when preconditioning. Moreover, you can run the climate control in unison, which warms the cabin too, allowing the driver to reduce its usage when on the road.
Weather Tip: Buy The Right Tires
Different tires have different purposes, but some can positively or negatively affect your range. While more friction equals lower efficiency numbers, sometimes added friction is necessary for cold winter conditions. In the cold, snowy months, all-season and summer tires become stiffer in cold conditions, meaning they'd get less traction yielding a possibility of slipping. Besides the danger of slippage, you're essentially dispelling energy that could be used to accelerate. With winter tires installed, you could get more range in the snow.
Weather Tip: Prioritize The Seat Heater
Whether or not your EV has a heat pump, it'll still make a difference to utilize the seat heater over the heating system in cold conditions. If you precondition the cabin, running the heater may be almost unnecessary, and you could use the seat heater as a supplement to maintain driver comfort.
Weather Tip: Remove All Snow From Your Car
When it snows, you must remove as much from the body as possible. Most EVs are designed with aerodynamics at the forefront of their body language, and a heap of snow atop the roof will just add unnecessary drag.
When slowing down, maximizing regen is critical. While sometimes it is necessary, one of the worst things to do for your efficiency is to activate the friction brakes. When using the friction brakes, you're essentially wasting energy as heat which could've been put back into the pack. If your EV has a one-pedal driving option, try to anticipate your stops and not use the brake pedal. If your EV has a blended brake pedal, try to be as gentle with your braking as possible to recuperate the most energy.
Drive Under The Limit
Since aerodynamic drag is proportional to the velocity squared, an increase in speed can yield a far more significant drop in efficiency. This means that you can attain more range if you drop your speed a little lower than the posted limit. The sweet spot for an EV is around 50 mph, but in most highway jaunts, that's just unrealistic. However, if the limit is 70, and you've got ample time, driving at 5-10mph below the limit could mean one fewer charging stop.
Check Your Tire Pressure
In EVs, tire pressure is everything. It's best to keep your tires at manufacturer specification because if they are too low, it could mean unnecessary friction, which will eat into your battery. For instance, Tesla recommends around 45psi for long-haul highway trips to maximize range.
Use Cruise Control Whenever Possible
Even if you're on a country road, using cruise control is the best way not only to keep your speed constant but to avoid unnecessary acceleration. Since systems cannot be 100% efficient, the best thing to do for your efficiency on long stretches is to keep your vehicle at a constant speed.
Nullify Any Instances Of Drag
It's best to look out for potential instances of drag and eliminate them quickly. Simply rolling down a window can substantially affect your range, just as leaving the roof rack installed. For driving around town, it's completely fine, but these will affect your range on a long highway trip.
Be Easy On The Accelerator?
Last, we delve into the questionable topic of acceleration. According to physics, accelerating more rapidly towards a target speed will use the same amount of energy as accelerating slowly (in an ideal system). However, there are still some heat losses in the circuitry due to the increased current, but besides that, accelerating more quickly towards a target speed shouldn't affect your range that much. Contrarily, if your EV is front-wheel-drive, then accelerating quickly may cause the tires to spin, which would lead to additional energy loss.