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Tips for boosting your electric car range with eco-driving

Regardless of the type of vehicle, our driving behaviour has a significant influence on our vehicle’s range. After ignoring the consequences of our energy consumption behind the wheel for a long time, the economic and environmental context is now forcing us to rethink our habits in order to save this precious energy. Let’s have a look at the main principles of eco-driving in an electric car.


Adopt a flexible driving style

We often don’t even realize it, but our emotions impact our actions on a daily basis. Our driving behaviour is no exception. Upset, anxious before an appointment or excited to get home, many events considerably influence our driving. For many, pressing down the accelerator pedal becomes a way to release these emotions.

The thing is that nervous driving actually increases stress as well as energy consumption. On top of that, the time saved is often minimal. As a result, money and energy resources are wasted for nothing.

Eco-driving is all about relaxing and taking your foot off the accelerator. If you approach a red light, stop sign or traffic jam, there’s no need to accelerate to brake suddenly when you arrive. These accelerations may last a few seconds, but they require a lot of energy and end up causing fuel consumption to skyrocket.

Don’t hesitate to use your electric vehicle’s artificial clutch when approaching a deceleration zone. It will allow you to maintain a slower pace and better anticipate repeated stops in traffic jams, for example. Bonus, you participate in the fluidity of traffic.

Take advantage of regenerative braking

During the braking and deceleration phases, the engine brake of an electric car generates energy, transforms it into electricity and stores it in the battery. The benefits of flexible driving in an electric vehicle then become even more meaningful. 

The positive impact on the vehicle’s range can be considerable. It is possible to extend the range by about 20% through optimised use of regenerative braking. Today, several models of electric vehicles such as Tesla’s allow the power of regenerative braking to be adjusted. The higher the resistance of the engine brake, the more abruptly the vehicle brakes without you having to touch the brake pedal. Your brake discs and pads will thank you! 

Activate the “eco” mode

The “eco” mode is one of the adjustable driving modes on most electric vehicles. The aim, as the name suggests, is to save energy by limiting engine power. This mode is perfectly suited to daily trips, during which there is no point in having an overpowered engine. 

The two eco modes available in the Volkswagen e-Golf electric car

For example, the Volkswagen e-Golf offers two eco-driving modes: Eco and Eco+. Depending on the journey, the driver can choose to limit the power of his vehicle to 95 or 75 hp, i.e. a maximum speed of 115 or 90 km/h

Slow down on the motorway

If you have to take the highway, try to be reasonable and not exceed 120 km/h, especially if you don’t drive a Tesla. On most models, kilowatts fly quickly above 100 km/h

Therefore, be careful not to play with speed too much, especially if your next charge stop is still a long way off. Again, the time saved is negligible, not the range lost.

Maintain your tyres

Regardless of the type of engine, the condition of the tyres affects not only the safety of the vehicle but also its energy consumption

Choosing the right tyres for your vehicle is the first step. Keeping an eye on the pressure and general condition of the tyres is just as important. Driving with under-inflated tyres will make your fuel consumption soar instantly.

Good to know: manufacturers such as Michelin, Bridgestone and Continental have come out with tyres specially designed for electric vehicles. The main difference with “conventional” ones is that they have lower rolling resistance, thus further optimizing the EV’s range.

Are you a fan of eco-driving? Feel free to share your experience and advice in the comments!

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21 August 2020 18 h 46 min

I’d also add in accelerating gently where possible, limiting the use of the heater or cooler and driving with a more preemptive approach.

hunk de kock
hunk de kock
22 August 2020 0 h 41 min

The seat heater only uses some 75 watt while heating the cabin can use more than 1.000 watt.

22 August 2020 12 h 18 min

The statement “Your brake discs and pads will thank you” is not always correct. In winter, with salt widely used, they brakes will need regular use. In fact many EV owners end up with costly premature brake replacement due to not using their brakes.

23 August 2020 9 h 18 min

Ik rijd een full electric en zou de community willen oproepen om het laadvermogen te vermeden dat ter beschikking werd gesteld en niet alleen het al dan niet sucsessvol laden. Op lange ritten zijn de 50K CCS2/Combo of hoger de enige bruikbare en moet je soms heel wat omrijden. Als deze dan blijken veel minder te leveren dan voorzien kan je dat veel tijd en soms zelfs een extra overnachting kosten.

28 September 2020 17 h 51 min

Its all about energy management. Those who break loose range. Even if you use regenerative braking, as every conversion form AC to DC an back to AC causes energy losses. Thus its better to coast and bleed off speed than to regenerate. Avoid friction breaking.

Timothy Jolly
Timothy Jolly
15 October 2022 19 h 37 min

Decelerating carefully is good, since if you brake too hard, the car has to use its disk brakes too much and cannot store the energy back in the battery. (EVs use the discs at low speeds to keep them clean.)

But the idea of accelerating carefully is TOTAL RUBBISH! Well, it does help with tyre wear, I suppose, but it does NOT help the battery consumption. The reason for this is subtle. If you look at published data, you will see that the car’s electric motor is designed to be most efficient at medium power and medium speed. So accelerating at, say, half the power of the motor — which is to say fairly quickly — uses the electricity with the most efficiency. The idea of accelerating slowly is based on people’s experience with petrol engines. It does not apply to electric motors.

30 October 2023 12 h 02 min
Reply to  Timothy Jolly

I was not aware there was published data on that. Yet it would confirm what I have noticed: when used in hilly road, my EV’s “Eco” mode, – which basically limits the power to the engine and thus, increases acceleration times – tends to consumes sensitively more than in normal mode (??) !!
It is however beneficial in heavy traffic of cities, where there is no need to have full power to accelerate for being stopped 30m after…

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