We’ve been focussed on saving people money at the pump, but now it’s Electric Car drivers feeling the pinch! Compared to traditional fuel, charging your vehicle may be helping the planet, but it’s not so kind on your bank balance!
With the cost of charging your car soaring, we thought we’d better take a look at how to run your EV as efficiently as possible…
Driving efficiently will help you to maximise the range of your electric vehicle and is especially important if you’re making a long journey. According to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, using efficient driving techniques, an EV can be driven over 600 miles on a single charge!
None of us like to be stuck in traffic but unfortunately it’s sometimes an inevitable part of our day. If you can miss driving during rush hour then do, for those that can’t, think about how you drive. Stopping and starting uses a lot of energy. Instead of braking and accelerating try and move at a steady slow speed instead.
Some newer vehicles have specialist eco features that can make your driving more efficient such as regenerative braking – make sure you know and understand all these features and use them if they’re available.
Cars use more power when they are carrying extra weight. So take all of the stuff out of your boot that you don’t need and leave it at home. If you have a roof rack, as well as adding extra weight, it makes your car less aerodynamic, so in between trips when you don’t need it, take it off.
This is one for when you’re out of the city and driving more quickly. Having the windows open makes the car less aerodynamic so there is more drag on the car, meaning you’ll be using more energy.
Air-con is a useful gadget in a car, it keeps us cool in the summer and stops your windows misting up in the winter. However, using the air-con in your car uses extra power, best to turn it off unless you really need it to cool yourself down.
The lower the pressure of your tyres the more power your car needs to use to get it moving. So check your tyre pressure every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct level.
While it’s important to conserve momentum to drive efficiently, driving faster and accelerating harshly uses more of your car’s stored energy. So, avoid speeding and harsh breaking and you won’t need to charge your car so soon.
Following our tips above, you can use your car efficiently, but to really save money you need to charge efficiently as well!
The Energy Saving Trust has produced a thorough guide to EV charging we’d highly recommend, but at 34 pages, you may well appreciate our condensed top tips!
The main tip is to charge at home whenever you can… you won’t pay a connection or membership fee and you can make the most of a domestic rate (even though domestic rates are currently high they are still cheaper than what you will pay out and about).
The speed you charge your vehicle can have a significant effect on the savings you make. Different vehicles with different size batteries will restrict the type of charging you can use, and the time you have available will also be a determining factor, but in general slow charging is the most cost-effective way to charge both in public and at home.
Topping up your vehicle’s charge en route will invariably be expensive as the type of charging available at garages etc is usually restricted to rapid charge points, which cost more. Plan your journeys to minimise transit charging wherever possible and to research the cheaper options for when you have to make a stop.
Make the most of free charging! According to Zap Map over 15% of charge points in the UK are free to use. While this is not a norm, and there will be time restrictions on the facility, you can pick up a free top up charge from supermarkets such as Lidl, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Retail car parks, attractions, leisure centres and shops such as Ikea also often have free charging facilities, as do some hotels. Many workplaces have also begun to offer free charging for employees.
By charging your vehicle off-peak (generally overnight, between midnight and 6am) energy is cheaper. However, even charging a vehicle off-peak will increase your previous domestic energy use by a huge amount, so it’s essential to check you are on the best tariff. Some energy companies offer tariffs specifically for EV owners, but always compare these to an Economy (E7) tariff, which allows for cheaper charging overnight.
You may not have much choice if you are mid journey, but be sure to check charge point pricing – some connection charges are significantly higher than others and there may be an alternative near by.
If you’re already set up with at-home charging this tip won’t be any use to you, but if you are at the point of purchase, you can save a huge amount of money by looking into the government incentives available to reduce the cost of charge points. Funding is available from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme – providing grants of up to 75% of eligible costs!