The first-ever electric car was built in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1837 and was pretty successful for its time. Sadly, their popularity didn’t last very long, and soon the motoring industry was completely taken over by petrol or diesel-powered vehicles.
Today, again, electric cars are the future of motoring. With more and more people buying their first electric vehicles, we are writing this article to help everyone on how to travel in electric cars and things you should know!
Everyone around the world is trying to become more environmentally conscious, and one of the main things people are changing is their choice of vehicles, from conventional internal combustion engine vehicles to electric cars.
And, as electric vehicle technology is expanding and developing rapidly, and newer and better-looking vehicles keep getting released year by year, everyone is moving on to buying electric vehicles for themselves.
Mainstream carmakers first started dipping their toes into electric vehicle manufacturing again after Tesla released the Roadster, which could reach ranges of 350km back in 2008.
Now, almost all car manufacturers either have an electric range of models or are completely switching their entire fleet to be electric-powered only. So, there is an amazingly long list of electric vehicles one can choose from.
Most people’s main reason for purchasing electric cars is the environmental benefit, but there are many other good reasons for doing so too.
Reasons like lower maintenance costs as there are fewer moving parts, lower operating costs as changing prices are much lower than gasoline, and just for their amazing features and driving comforts.
There are also some incentives that you might be able to get depending on what country or state you are living in. These incentives can range from $4,000 tax breaks up to $12,500 electric vehicle tax credits.
Some states offer trade-in programs of up to $5,000 to trade your gas-powered vehicle for an electric-powered one.
Still, electric vehicles are more expensive upfront when compared to conventional internal combustion engine cars. And, these costs don’t take into account the other extra purchases you might need to make with your electric vehicle.
You might have to purchase and install an electric vehicle charger at your home for convenient charging or purchase the cable you would need to charge at different public charging stations.
Since many people are buying their first-ever electric car, here are some things you should know about how to travel in electric cars.
Read 15 Facts You Didn’t Know About Electric Cars
Things to know about electric cars
How do you charge an electric car?
Charging your electric car might seem different or weird at first, but soon it will all become normal to us all. Your electric vehicles charge the same way your cellphone or laptop might get charged, by plugging them into a wall outlet or a charging station.
It can get a little more complicated with all the different charging rates, speeds, adaptors, battery sizes, and much more. Knowing the different types of charging available to you is a key factor.
Know the different types of EV charging stations
All-electric vehicle chargers are not the same. There are three different ‘levels’ of chargers that are available to you.
Level 1 chargers are the slowest and take almost a whole day to charge an average electric vehicle fully. Leaving your car charging overnight on a level 1 charger will only give you almost 50 miles of charge as they only add 3 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging.
Level 2 chargers are now the most common ones you find and deliver quite fast charging speeds. These are the chargers you may find in shopping mall parking lots or in different public areas and can add around 20 to 25 miles of charge each hour. Leave your electric car plugged into a level 2 charger and go for a meal, and by the time you’re back, you will have enough range to get back home or even more!
Level 3 chargers, unlike level 1 and 2 chargers, use Direct Current (DC) instead of Alternating Current (AC) to charge electric vehicles. These DC chargers are mostly found in public charging stations and very rarely in private homes or residences.
Level 3 chargers are extremely fast and can provide you with up to 20 miles of range per minute of charge. This means they can get your cars charging up to 80% in just around half an hour or so. DC charging can be a little more expensive than your average Level 1 and Level 2 charging.
Almost all-electric vehicles recharge your batteries as you brake. Like when you accelerate, the battery sends energy to your car’s wheels to move it forward; the inverse happens whenever you brake.
The motor of your electric car uses braking as an electricity generator and sends electric charge back into the battery to make the car as efficient as possible.
Read How Many Gears Does An Electric Car Have?
The actual range might be lower than advertised
Your electric vehicle might say you have 100 miles of driving range left, but the actual range might be much lower than this. There are lots of different factors that might affect your driving range.
How you are driving and how hard you are accelerating or braking can change your driving range.
The weather also affects an electric car’s driving range; in colder temperatures, your car would use more energy to warm up your battery, lowering the range. The usage of air conditioning or the heater will also have a lowering effect on your driving range.
Driving consistently and on average speeds will let you reap the most out of your electric car driving range.
Read the Manual
Getting the most out of the drive of your electric vehicle requires you to read through the manual of the car.
The manual will tell you about the various driving modes your car might have, the different regenerative braking systems, and just everything you might need to know about your day-to-day driving.
Will you need to change the battery of your electric car?
Most electric cars batteries have a life of around ten years. So, if you are planning to keep your electric vehicle with you for over ten years, you might need to get it changed and replaced.
These can be expensive, but the car manufacturer’s warranty covers most batteries for at least 100,000 miles or ten years. If you have used the car for so long and need to replace the battery, it will most probably be worth the money.
Tips and Tricks when traveling in electric cars
Precondition your car before you set off on your travels. Preconditioning is an option available in many electric vehicles nowadays that lets you ‘condition’ your car to your liking before even setting foot into the car.
Cool or heat up the interior of your car while it’s still plugged in and sitting in your garage. You can also set the charging level limits and warm up your car’s battery before getting into the vehicle.
You can do all this while your electric vehicle is plugged in and charging from your vehicle’s mobile app. This option is great as it doesn’t use up any charge that would otherwise be used for your car driving range.
You can have your car optimized exactly how you want it without lowering the charge levels and without even getting in your car before leaving for your trip.
2. Go Easy on the Controls
Use your accelerator and braking as smoothly as you can. This obvious but important point will make a huge difference in the driving range of your electric car.
Inconsistent and unpredictable driving is the main reason behind most electric car drivers’ loss of driving range. When you are constantly speeding up from stops or slamming on the brakes hard every time, your charging levels will deplete much faster than if you were accelerating and braking smoothly.
A longer-range will also add to the enjoyment of traveling in your electric vehicle as you will be worrying less about how many miles you may have left in your battery’s charge.
3. Plan trips around Fast chargers
If you are planning a long drive, check for fast-charging stations that might be available on your route and plan accordingly.
You can stop at these stations for a little bathroom break or a coffee or tea break, and after about 30 minutes when you’re back, your car will have a good percentage of charge available for you.
Also, make sure the charging stations on your route have chargers compatible with your particular electric vehicle. If not, you might need to buy different adaptors or plugs to charge your car.
4. Plan Bs
The whole electric vehicle charging industry is still new and improving. This might mean the charging station you might have planned on stopping in could be out of order or full, and you should have some kind of alternate charging station in mind.
This planning is especially important in places where charging stations are not as frequent or rare.
5. Sign up for charging networks in your area
Different electric vehicle charger companies offer different quick ways of charging your electric vehicle. It is a good idea to be signed up for these companies so you can speed through the charging stations on your travels.
These companies may offer different means of payment, too, from mobile apps to tap-up cards.
Try and keep an extra charging lead, adaptor, and a charging station card on your electric vehicle travels. These might not always be used by you but can always come in handy in emergencies.
A low amp extra charging lead can come in handy if you ever lose charge before reaching your charging station, as they can be plugged directly into any wall outlet with the right adaptor to get you enough charge to reach a charging station.
7. Charge your EV when it is warm
It is beneficial to charge your battery when it is still warm. Plug your electric vehicle in as soon as you reach home or in between your travels for the fastest and safest charging.
Electric car batteries charge slower when they are cold, protecting the cells inside the battery from damage.
8. Lower some weight
The heavier your electric vehicle, the more energy it will use to get you moving. This does not mean going completely crazy and removing seats or spares but just making sure you aren’t carrying any unimportant weight in your car.
The lower the weight you carry, the more driving range you will have on your trip.
Related electric car articles:
- Electric Cars vs Hybrid Cars: A Comparison
- Electric Car or Gas Car: Which is a Better Option?
- Which Electric Car Companies Are Leading the World?
- Are Electric Cars Good for Road Trips and Highway Driving?
- What Would Happen if Everyone Switched to an Electric Car
I hope you got an idea of how to travel in electric cars. If you follow the above tips, easily you can travel a long distance also.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.