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Guides and Tips

Driving an Electric Vehicle is a whole different ball game. Did you know there is little to no maintenance needed on an EV? However, there are still some things to be aware of during your ownership, take a look below to find what works for you!

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01

One of the most common obstacles new EV owners run into is having Range Anxiety - the fear of running out of battery during your drive. If you plan your trips and have a reliable charging plan, most cars have more than enough range to get you anywhere.

02

When should you charge? What are the different charging levels? There are different charging levels? How much does it cost? Can I still have road trips? Read below to find out!

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03

Electric Vehicles have very few moving parts. Say goodbye to oil changes! But there is no such thing as zero maintenance, what should you actually pay attention to?

04

What are some best practices to maximize your efficiency and range? What are the advantages of driving electric? (Hint: these are very quick cars!)

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01
Range Anxiety

Range Anxiety is the fear that you will run out of battery before the end of your trip, leaving you stranded. It is mostly a common concern when it comes to EV ownership. However, battery technology is constantly improving and the charging infrastructure is exponentially growing. Still, new owners will face some form of range anxiety, there are several methods to avoid Range Anxiety:

  1. When selecting the Electric Vehicle, prioritize the vehicles with the highest range. (i.e Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y, etc.)

  2. Plan out your trips. If you are planning on taking road trips, take a minute to find which chargers you will need to stop by to stay on the go. (Chargers along highways will recover >50% of your battery in less than 30 minutes on average). Some EV's navigation algorithm will automatically add chargers in your trip, saving the work for you and will even tell you how long you need to charge for. Vehicles like Tesla and Rivian incorporate these algorithms to save you time.

  3. Precondition your battery in cold weather. Most cars allow quick control access from a mobile app, including preconditioning the vehicle in the morning. Doing this in cold weather allows the battery to warm to handle the cold driving conditions and saves range throughout the duration of the trip.

  4. If you have access to daily charging, plug in your vehicle overnight so that you start your drive on a full charge, almost like charging your phone overnight!

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In the image above, a Tesla driver is navigating from Fremont, CA to Oxnard, CA which is about 332 miles in the fastest route. Let's assume the driver owns a Standard Range Model 3, which gives 272 miles of range. The Navigation automatically navigates to superchargers that will charge the car very quickly in time for the driver to get back on their trip after a short rest stop.

02
Charging

Just like a mobile phone, it is essential to charge your electric vehicle. There are several methods to charging your EV, below are some facts regarding charging:

  1. Unlike a mobile phone, it is encouraged to keep your EV plugged in EVEN when the vehicle has completed charging. Most EVs have standby operations when parked, which can lead to phantom drain when unplugged. (Phantom Drain is when your vehicle loses 1-3 miles of range overnight when parked)

  2. Most electric vehicles will give the option to navigate to a fast charger or a supercharger during a trip. This preheats the battery to prepare it for high current entering the battery pack. This saves time and cost on charging. 

  3. There are 3 main methods of charging:

    1. Level 1 Charging - the use of a standard 120V outlet (typical household outlet). This is the slowest form of charging, where about 120V and 12A are provided for charging. This results in about 2-6 miles an hour. The best way to use this method is overnight charging, where in the span of 8-12 hours you will gain about 16-72 miles of range (depending on the car's battery technology and the charger's power electronics). Level 1 charging should mainly be used as a backup when Level 2 or Level 3 are is not available.​

    2. Level 2 Charging - the most common method of charging. This uses a 240V outlet (an outlet used for large household appliances i.e. laundry machine). These outlets can be installed by an electrician and fitted for your electric vehicle. At 240V and typically 30-48A, this will guarantee a full charge overnight or about 100 miles in less than 4 hours. 

    3. Level 3 Charging - also known as "DC Fast Charging", this uses very high amounts of current to charge up the battery in a very short amount of time. Most DC Fast Chargers can add about 80-120 miles of range in just 30 minutes. This is usually used for people on the go or on trips, however, this is a great source of charging for those who do not have access to an outlet. Keep in mind that excessive charging at higher currents will degrade the vehicle's battery at a faster rate, but most battery packs are built to handle these charging speeds.

  4. Another method of charging that is public use charging. If you happen to stay at a hotel, or visit an inn, or go to marketplace, sometimes there are Level 2 chargers stationed in the parking lot for public use. Even office places are starting to add EV chargers for their employees so that you charge at work instead of home.

  5. Electricity is cheaper than gas. Charging saves about 1/5 the amount of the cost as much as it does for filling up on gas. Some will install solar panels on their roofs to provide their own energy to their vehicles, essentially rendering their electricty costs to zero.

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In the image above, a Level 2 charger by Volta is installed at a shopping center for public use.

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In the image above, a home owner charging their Electric Vehicle with a Level 2 charger installed in the garage

03
Maintenance

As opposed to internal combustion engine vehicles, there is very little maintenance needed for an electric vehicle due to having much fewer moving parts. Here's what you need to do to keep your EV at its highest performance:

  1. Electric Vehicles typically have sensors and cameras. Before driving the vehicle, make sure the vehicles is clean and the sensors/cameras are not blocked by any debris.

  2. Ensure the tires are at the correct tire pressure, especially in cold weather. Low tire pressure eats up more range.

  3. Under the hood: there is only one thing to do under the hood, fill up the windshield wiper fluid when it gets low.

  4. Depending on the vehicle, every 2-3 years the vehicle should be taken into service for a diagnostic checkup, replace cabin air filters, brake fluid check, and other actions that may be needed.

  5. Electric vehicles are heavy, make sure to rotate tires and eventually replace tires when the tread is close to being gone.

  6. Some EVs offer Over-the-Air Software Updates (OTA), keep your vehicle up to date by connecting to Wi-Fi and downloading the update!

  7. Consult the vehicle manual for any additional concerns.

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04
Driving

The driving experience of an electric vehicle differs from that of a gas-powered vehicle. Here are the best ways to elevate your experience:

  1. Regenerative Braking - while the car is motion, any time you let off the accelerator, the car will begin to brake and covert the kinetic motion into energy, ultimately recharging the battery. This gives a different experience of driving where you will mostly drive with one pedal. You will rarely switch to use the brake since you can rely on the regenerative braking to do the braking for you. This will also extend the life of the vehicle's brakes!

  2. Quick Acceleration - electric motors offer maximum torque at 0 rpm. Translation: you accelerate very quickly. This makes the driving experience exhilarating and helps maneuver your vehicle with ease. You do not have to wait for an engine to rev in order to reach higher speeds. Keep in mind that excessive acceleration

  3. To maximize range on your drive, stay below 70mph to save energy used when traveling at high speeds. Drive smoothly, the torque control makes this an easier processs.

  4. When driving casually or for work, limit what you have in the vehicle, the more weight added to the vehicle, the more energy it takes to move that weight, thus taking more energy from the battery. Travel light.

  5. Optimize your vehicle's technology. Some electric vehicles offer some form of smart cruise control. This lightens the load off of long, tiring trips and allows you to rest. The car will take care of the speed control and even steer on its own. Make sure to pay attention to your surroundings!

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In the image above: A graph from a Tesla that specifies the energy consumption from different categories: Driving, Climate Control, Battery Conditioning, Elevation Change and Everything Else.

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