The essential guide to owning an EV
Electric vehicles have slowly but surely crept from the fringes into the mainstream, and their popularity is growing. Its rise has been inevitable because the current government’s target is for 50 percent of all new car sales to be electric vehicles by 2030.
This is good for the environment, but it’s also excellent for car buyers. Electric vehicles are cheaper on fuel than gas-powered vehicles. While previous electric cars were hampered by limited driving range, some of today’s models have a range comparable to their gas-fueled counterparts.
Here are some tips to help you make informed choices when purchasing and owning an electric vehicle.
Choose your electric car
Here are some things to consider when choosing an electric car:
How many people travel with you on a regular basis? Is an electric car enough for two or five passengers? Or do you need a three-row SUV that seats seven passengers?
Fortunately, today’s electric vehicles come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking for a sporty sedan or a spacious SUV, there’s an electric car to fit your situation.
What body style and model provides the right amount of payload capacity for your situation? In general, SUVs have more cargo space than cars, hatchbacks have more cargo space than sedans, and sedans have more cargo capacity than coupes. Naturally, the load capacity within each body style varies from one model to another.
Electric cars come in all body styles, and the number of models available is increasing. This means you have many options to consider.
Electric vehicles tend to cost more than gas-powered cars. In the past, this put them out of reach for shoppers on limited budgets.
However, the modern lineup of electric vehicles includes affordable options starting at less than $30,000. For example, the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback starts at $26,500, and its all-wheel-drive counterpart, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, starts at $27,800.
If you have more money to spend, there are many luxury cars you can look at in the electric car segment. The lineup ranges from reasonably accessible options like the Tesla Model 3, starting at just over $40,000. At the top end of the range, models like the BMW i7 and Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan have six-figure prices.
A car’s driving range is the distance it can travel on a fully charged battery. It can vary greatly.
For example, the Mazda MX-30 has a lower range than any other modern electric car, traveling just 100 miles on a full charge. On the other end of the spectrum, the Lucid Air is among the best picks on the market if driving range is a priority, as it can travel up to 516 miles on a fully charged battery. Most electric cars on the market today have a range between 200 and 300 miles. Examples include the Kia Niro EV (253 miles) and Nissan Leaf (up to 212 miles).
With almost all electric cars, automakers recommend charging up to 80 percent during daily driving, reserving a full 100 percent charge for longer road trips. Doing so may extend battery life, but limits the range available for daily use. It’s something to consider when calculating the range you need.
However, keep in mind that many people who own electric vehicles charge them at home every night. In such a case, the amount of range required is limited to the number of kilometers traveled during one day of driving. If you have a short commute, you may need less distance than you think.
Of course, if you frequently take long road trips, that changes the equation. The driver in this case will benefit from getting maximum range.
Level 2 charging is recommended when replenishing an EV battery at home. This can usually take eight to 12 hours. It is usually done overnight, so it is a convenient way to recharge your batteries.
When you need to charge while on the road, a DC fast charging station is your best bet. In these circumstances, charging time is very important since a slower charging time can add minutes to your trip while you are traveling. Charging time varies from car to car. For example, with the Tesla Model 3, you can add about 175 miles of range in just 15 minutes with a Level 3 charge. With the Nissan Leaf, it takes between 40 minutes to an hour to recover 80 percent of a charge.
If you expect to use DC fast charging frequently, it’s a good idea to choose a car that can quickly replenish its range using this charging method.
Electric vehicle ownership, maintenance, and battery care
Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than gas-powered cars, a fact that makes them much easier to maintain. For example, you’ll never have to change the oil in an electric car since these vehicles don’t use motor oil.
Also, because electric cars use regenerative braking, they need less brake care than gas-powered cars. You will still need to change your car’s brake fluid, and frequency varies from vehicle to vehicle. For example, Tesla recommends having its brake fluid health checked every four years, while Chevrolet recommends replacing the Bolt’s brake fluid every 150,000 miles.
However, keep in mind that your environment can increase wear on your electric vehicle’s braking system. If you live in a hot and humid climate, your brakes may need frequent maintenance. Road salt can also damage your brakes. If you live in an area with cold winters where the roads are salty, your brakes may need extra care.
There are some electric vehicle components that require care similar to that of gas-powered vehicles:
- Cabin air filter
- Windshield washer fluid
The battery plays a central role in the health of electric vehicles. Proper battery care is essential if you want your electric vehicle to have a long life. Here are some tips for battery care and maintenance:
Make slow charging your preferred method
DC fast chargers are a quick solution when you’re on a road trip. However, it is harder on the battery than level 2 charging. Kia points out that eight years of slow charging will give you 10 percent longer battery life than if you used fast charging regularly during the same eight-year period.
If you’re on a road trip, fast charging is obviously the way to go. But for daily driving, you can charge it at home to preserve battery life.
Charge to 80 percent, not 100 percent, unless otherwise recommended
If your electric car has a typical lithium-ion battery, you may be tempted to charge it to 100 percent to get the most out of your car’s range. However, fully charging your car this way on a regular basis can reduce the battery’s life over time. Most automakers recommend charging the battery to 80 percent and no more to maintain battery health.
However, there is an exception to this directive. Some Tesla Model 3 vehicles use lithium phosphate (LFP) battery cells – also known as lithium-ion phosphate. Tesla recommends charging these batteries to 100 percent at least once a week.
Maintain a charge of at least 20 percent
Automakers recommend maintaining at least a 20 percent charge for your electric car’s battery. If the charge drops below this range, it can put stress on the battery and possibly shorten its life over time.
Get to know your car
Electric cars have certain commonalities, but they also vary from model to model when it comes to battery care. For example, if you’re charging at home, Tesla recommends keeping the car plugged in at all times. Other automakers recommend charging only when needed. Learn about your electric car by reading the owner’s manual. Doing so will provide you with the guidance needed to properly care for your car.
(Tags for translation)Warren Clark