The biggest drain on your Electric Vehicle battery is, you guessed it, the motor. Contrary to what we’re used to with gas-powered vehicles, you’ll actually drain your battery faster on the highway than in the city. This is because of regenerative braking, which can lap up all those frustrating starts and stops by charging your battery.
But there is more to it than just the motor. Here are all the things that drain your EV battery:
Here's Our Top Killers of EV Range
Heating and Cooling
A big drain on your battery reserves is the heating and cooling system. Getting the battery pack and cabin of an electric car to temperature can quickly drawn down your power.
The best way to counteract this is to always preheat or precool an electric car when it is plugged into the charger – in extreme conditions. This way, your battery is only responsible for maintaining the temp, rather than working hard to correct an extreme heat or cold. The grid energy does all the heavy lifting before your journey begins.
A good thing to note, is that the heated/cooled seats and heated steering wheel are a far more efficient way to keep you comfortable than heating or cooling the entire cabin.
Audio and Infotainment
We all love the new two and three screen dash-sweeping everything-you-could-hope-for Infotainment systems. However, it’s good to note that the basic music and navigation of yesteryear pulled much less power than these new high-tech systems. All of these new systems draw significantly more energy from the car’s battery pack.
It’s worth noting, however, that premium sound systems don’t necessarily drain your battery faster. Crank the stereo, if you like, the difference is minimal.
If you’re running out of range and little Charlie has been in the backseat quietly watching season 4 of Paw Patrol on repeat since your last charge, there’s no need to pull the plug on Chase just yet. A regular car USB port is responsible for just nine meters of range per hour of use.
We’re not suggesting that you should sacrifice seeing the road to maintain optimum battery capacity. But it’s interesting to note that using the windshield wipers during a 15-minute rainstorm, uses about 10 metres of range.
The Aerodynamic Drag – the shape of your car – easily contributes to how efficient your vehicle is at speed on the highway. This includes any added accessories like tailfins, running boards, roof racks, bike racks, and external storage. While the effect is much less in the city, it’s still something to consider. Next time you’re looking to improve your mileage, consider that empty Thule box you’ve been meaning to take down since your camping trip last summer.
Think about pulling your foot off the pedal, just a bit. Consider this: by reducing the cruise control setting by 2.6%, you would get an 8.4% savings in energy consumption. So instead of travelling at 113 kpm, you would travel at 110 kpm, for an 8.4% in energy savings.
Adding passengers and luggage, or towing a trailer, will affect the energy consumption of a traditional gas car. You’ll be heading to the pump with greater frequency without a doubt. However, on an EV, the regenerative braking system can help to undo some of the energy losses experienced when lugging around extra weight. Those extra kilograms increase the mass and momentum of the vehicle, boosting the amount of energy recovered back into the battery when coasting and braking.
Now if only there was a similar energy regenerative system for the human body.
Tires play a key role in the efficiency of an electric vehicle. In EVs especially, when you're not using the correct tire, you’re more likely to notice a loss in range and an increase in noise. So, make sure you’re using the right tire for the right season, and are paying attention to your tire pressure monitor and wear.
Your EV has two rechargeable batteries.
The auxiliary battery, like in a traditional gas-powered car, provides power for starting your vehicle. It also acts as a surge protector for the car's computer and provides power for short term use of things like lights, stereo, GPS or wipers when the engine is off.
When the vehicle is OFF and in accessory mode, you’re draining your auxiliary battery. Like in a gas-powered car, you can drain this battery and need a “boost” to restart your car.
The other battery in an EV is, of course, your EV long range battery. When the vehicle is ON, you’re using this battery’s capacity and decreasing your range.
So if you’re waiting in your car and need use of the radio, lights, or heater, keep the car ON and use your EV battery.
So, there you have it. The biggest drain on your Electric Vehicle battery is the motor. But you can effectively control your battery drain with a few good tips:
- Preheat or precool your EV before starting your journey
- Use the heated or cooled seats before you turn on the cabin thermostat
- Remove unneeded accessories from your EV’s exterior to boost your battery efficiency
- Watch your tires for wear and pressure. Drive on the right set for your area.
- And last but not least, make sure you get your EV serviced regularly according to your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule.