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Record breakers: the electric vehicles going the distance

Car on a road to its destination

•   EV performance progresses dramatically over last few years
•   Distances travelled on a single charge increases
•   World's fastest electric car can do 0-62mph in 2.6 seconds

'Range anxiety' – not being confident about how far you'll get on a single charge – is often cited as a key concern around electric vehicles (EVs).

But a number of drivers in the latest vehicles have recently been making some strong statements along the lines of 'Range anxiety? What range anxiety?'. 

Top Tesla trip

First, there were the Norwegians who drove over 450 miles (nearly 730km) across Denmark on a single charge in their Tesla Model S, setting a new record. 

It's worth pointing out the caveats here; the pair drove with economy in mind, so while they may have trounced Tesla's own projections of 265 miles range, they were driving at 25mph or less, on very flat roads. 

1,000km-plus is no problem for eBus

An Australian all-electric passenger bus has journeyed its way into the record books, completing a 1,018km trip on Victoria’s South Gippsland Highway, after just a few months previously completing a Melbourne to Sydney jaunt, at a relatively modest 1,004km. 

It's a bus equipped to perform, combining a top-of-the-range battery, an eMotor, a battery management system and regenerative braking technology. 

The CEO of Brighsun, the company behind the innovative eBus, Allen Saylav said: “We chose the heavy commercial passenger vehicle to showcase how high performance could be achieved in larger transportation options, as well as in passenger cars.”

With plans to set up manufacturing capacity for the buses across Australia, they could soon become a common sight as they eat up the miles. 

READ MORE OF OUR TRANSPORT BLOGS:

Scotland: The land of the EV?

Can Energy Independent Vehicles be cut loose from the grid?

E-asy riders: Are electric motorcycles about to go big?

Concept car speeds ahead

It's not just range where EV performance is confounding the critics. Not that the Energy Saving Trust would encourage speeding, but Croatian car manufacturer Rimac Automobili has raced out of the blocks in the quest to produce the world's fastest electric car

Its Concept One vehicle, which boasts an astonishing 8,450-cell battery pack, can do 0-62mph in 2.6 seconds and get up to speeds of 220mph. Though with only eight of them in production, it's not going to be an option for the mainstream any time soon – though don't be surprised to see it pop up in the next in the long series of The Fast and the Furious films.

The quest for top performance

All these stories illustrate that EV performance has progressed dramatically over the last few years. After all the excitement of speed and distance, here are a few practical tips on how to get the most out of an EV, from Energy Saving Trust's transport experts. 

  1. Maximise regenerative braking by anticipating further ahead to avoid unnecessary accelerating and braking.
     
  2. In a model of EV with different driving modes it is important to utilise the most appropriate driving mode to maximise energy use and get full benefits of regenerative braking.
     
  3. High speeds increase energy consumption in EVs more than they increase fuel consumption in conventional vehicles.
     
  4. Ancillaries on an ULEV, such as heating and air conditioning, can add in excess of 10% onto the energy drawn from the battery. Simple changes to driving behaviour can easily improve efficiency for these features.
     
  5. Apply some normal eco-driving techniques: 

 

  • Maintain momentum – avoid harsh braking and acceleration
  • Ensure all tyres are correctly inflated
  • Plan ahead to avoid jams or simply getting lost which may add unnecessary mileage to your journey
  • Close windows at higher speeds (above 45mph) and remove unused roof racks, boxes and bike racks
  • Remove all unnecessary weight from the car

Do you have any other practical driving tips? Read our blog for more tips on eco driving and fuel efficient cars. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or tweet @EnergySvgTrust.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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Drove a Nissan Leaf for three years and recognizing it's 100 mile limit, I was aware of my daily driving requirements per range but to say I suffered anxiety would be incorrect. Awareness would be more accurate. However, just got my Tesla, and since there is no way I can drive 250 miles on an average day, I find myself not even concerned with range. On a long cross country trip, just for fun I mapped out some 1200 mile trips, a few even into the hinterlands of Georgia and found I was never further than 180 miles from a Supercharger and never very fare from a destination charger. So again no anxiety put perhaps range awareness.

I have found that driving an EV certainly encourages more efficient driving - and that was after participating in a Fuel Efficient Driving Session offered by the Energy Saving Trust (which I did a few years ago in a conventional car). An EV has onboard tools to score driving efficiency, eg in speed and anticipation. I keep an eye on the direct consumption reading when driving - which shows the kw of energy being used at any moment - and I challenge myself to reduce that, using a lighter foot on the accelerator, without lowering the speed I am travelling at - generally that's possible.

With regenerative braking, the aim too is to keep that direct consumption balanced at 0kw, rather than allowing it to into -Xkw, during travel (ie not on the approach to junctions etc) to maintain momentum, and not allow the vehicle to actually be braked by the regenerative braking, because it then needs to use more energy to increase the kw direct consumption back into a +kw figure - therefore avoiding some unnecessary use of battery power.

Point 3 in the blog article, I disagree with - energy is energy, whether that be battery power or fuel in a conventional car - to travel at high speed then yes more is needed to increase the momentum of moving the car forward. When we travel at higher speeds, it is less efficient driving, and the fuel tank or battery will require re-fuelling/recharging more frequently

Shirley Paterson
nextGenergy

Nice article. For an ecar it quite amazing to run in 1000km. That's pretty far for an ecar .