Range is often a concern for people considering or new to a fully electric car. Most notably, it relates to longer journeys and access to the public charging points that such trips require.
Having switched to a fully electric car over two years ago, I know it takes a little getting used to, but then so did switching from a manual to an automatic car, and it does require some extra planning.
After a rapid learning curve, which I overcame in a few weeks, I quickly became accustomed to the reality that living with a fully electric car is different but that the changes needed are straightforward. Also, the public charging network is generally good and getting better with the number of rapid chargers coming on stream, keeping pace with the number of fully electric converts.
Ten things I have learned
- As a new user, even if you have a home charger, take the opportunity to use a range of different public chargers when you can and when it is not stressful (daylight, not rushed and when you don't need to charge). It is a chance to build familiarity and confidence with the different options and cables.
- Never be afraid to seek help from another person using a charger if you are struggling – and be willing to help others in the future.
- Take time to understand the cables and charging points – confusing initially but quickly worked out.
- Find a charging map-related app or apps and get comfortable with using it for mapping and potentially payment. Some will also show the availability of spaces at a recharging station.
- Plan longer journeys and recharge stops in advance – allow extra drive time compared to a petrol/diesel car.
- Charging to 100% is seldom necessary, 80% is invariably fine. That extra 20% (80-100%) can take as long as charging from 20-80% as the battery manages the heat. Also, by avoiding charging to 100% too regularly, you are being kinder to your battery's well-being.
- Plan on recharging when the battery falls under the 20% level – no point in adding unwanted stress by dropping too close to zero, unless you are confident that you will make it to your home charger without stress. Don't forget that in the cold battery range is reduced.
- Driving styles with a fully electric car often change; driving for range rather than speed is more relaxing than driving full-tilt.
- That enforced 30-minute recharging stop (20-80%) is an excellent time to stretch, relax, answer an email, etc., and it helps support the Highway Code recommendation of a minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving.
- Be considerate to other EV drivers and avoid unwanted costs. Leaving your car fully charged at a charging point blocks it for other drivers and can incur penalty fees. Use your car's app to ensure you don't overstay your welcome.
I hope these learnings help and they quickly become second nature.
Debbie McKay, Commercial Sales Director