Simply put, the range of an electric car is the distance it can travel on a single charge. An electric vehicle's range is expressed in miles per gallon of fuel equivalent. These EPA estimates are simple estimates - mileage varies. While MPGe metrics are useful, the most important number for drivers is often the estimated range per charge.
According to the J. D. Power's Electric Vehicle Ownership Report, range is a key factor in consumer satisfaction. Indeed, the report states that "the accuracy of the stated battery range and the actual battery range experienced by owners account for about 20 percent of total owner satisfaction." For drivers, safety is everything. They want to know exactly how much distance they can drive without recharging.
There are several factors that can affect an electric vehicle's range. Fortunately, some drivers can improve the situation.
Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, electric cars perform much better in city traffic. However, no electric car has yet reached its estimated range at highway speeds - the Audi e-Tron achieves 93% of its estimated range at speeds up to 75 mph. If you regularly drive on highways, it's important to consider whether your electric car can maintain its range at high speeds.
Extreme temperatures can have a significant impact on the range of electric vehicles for two reasons. First, the ability of electric vehicle batteries to maintain a charge is negatively affected by very low temperatures. Low temperatures can affect both efficiency and the ability to charge quickly. In addition, operating an electric vehicle in hot or cold climates also involves the use of air conditioning in the cabin. Keeping the car in a warm or cool environment affects autonomy through battery consumption.
Although it sounds obvious, EV range also depends on a fully charged battery. Car manufacturers import sophisticated battery systems to limit maximum charge and increase overall battery life. Essentially, your EV will not be charged 100% on a regular basis. This is especially important for long trips, as many fast charging stations can quickly charge your EV to 80% in as little as 30 minutes.
As batteries age, some of the maximum dynamic charges is lost. However, this should not discourage potential drivers, as the degradation rate is only about 2.3% per year and can be even lower with proper maintenance.
It is important to remember that conventional internal combustion engines are affected by the same factors as electric vehicles. In addition, some factors have a greater impact on one type of vehicle or another, which should reassure potential electric car drivers that electric cars are not a novelty.
For example, running air conditioning or operating at very low temperatures has a similar effect on internal combustion engines. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) claims that internal combustion engines can reduce fuel efficiency by 24% at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. As mentioned earlier, while electric cars perform well in urban traffic, internal combustion engines experience significant fuel losses when driving with stops. The most common problem drivers face is access to charging or fuel. With the proliferation of electric vehicle charging stations, automated driving is becoming a necessity to a luxury.
Although some of the factors that affect an electric vehicle's range cannot be controlled by the driver, there are many steps that can be taken to ensure maximum performance.
When driving in very cold or hot weather, it is advisable to prepare the vehicle while charging. By plugging in, turn on the air conditioner and radiator and wait until the car is at a comfortable temperature. Many electric cars even have systems that allow you to enter the desired temperature and estimated departure time to prepare the interior properly. This way, you can effectively maintain the car's internal conditions rather than using just the battery to make changes.
Use the regenerative braking system of electric vehicles. When you take your foot off the gas, the electric motor acts as a generator and slows the car down; setting the maximum level of regeneration on your electric car will give you positive results in real life.
Make sure the electric car is functioning properly. This will increase the range. The maintenance of electric vehicles is somewhat different from that of conventional internal combustion engines. Every 500 miles, you should regularly check components for wear and tear, rotating tires, and fluids. As with any vehicle, make sure the tires are properly inflated and the transmission components are running smoothly to improve efficiency. As the battery ages, rebuild dead cells and maintain the maximum capacity to bring the range closer to its original value.
Before you buy an electric car, consider the different factors that affect range. Do you drive in cold weather? Do you keep regular records of highway mileage? Do you have reliable access to charging at work? For example, if you know you'll use an electric car all day in sub-zero temperatures without recharging, it makes sense to buy an electric car with more range than your actual daily mileage.
While range certainly remains an important factor for current and potential EV drivers, automakers continue to improve efficiency for consumers. This innovation allows cars to make the most of climate control and reduce the loss of range due to extreme temperatures; charging stations such as those offered by ENERGY5 are becoming more common and help solve the range problem. Batteries in electric vehicles are becoming more powerful and less susceptible to wear and tear. This means that electric cars can travel long distances for many years.
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