How to increase electric vehicle range

Woman charging EV

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted July 31, 2023

‘Range anxiety’ is one of the most common barriers preventing new car buyers to transition to an electric vehicle. With our explainer, you can be better prepared and increase your driving range.

Electric vehicle (EV) ownership is on the rise in Australia, thanks to the release of popular mid-size SUV models such as the Tesla Model Y and BYD Atto 3, and government purchase incentives. Whether you’re in the market for an EV, or have just picked up your new set of wheels, it’s important to understand the best way to utilise the battery’s potential and preserve the vehicle’s range on the road.

Like any car powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE), the distance a battery can last between charges differentiates from car to car. For example, the entry-level GWM Ora Standard Range has an approximate driving range of 310 km per charge, whereas a Tesla Model Y – which comes at nearly double the cost of the GWM Ora – has a driving range closer to 400 km.

Nick Franco, Head of Business Development at Chargefox, says the real key to long-distance driving in an EV is to "plan ahead".

Not dissimilar to a petrol gauge on an ICE vehicle, EVs will typically show how many kilometres you have remaining on your dashboard.

To avoid losing charge while on the road in your EV, keep these steps in mind when planning your journey for a safe and pleasant drive.


EV charging tesla

Charging speeds can vary depending on the EV and charger. Image: Getty.

Tips to avoid your EV running out of charge

Plan your journey

Before starting your EV journey, plan your route carefully.

Using technology like EV charging network apps can provide information about the charging stations along your route that you can stop at if necessary. You can also check to see if the charger is available or operable.

Charge regularly

For most electric vehicles, it is recommended that drivers charge their EV whenever practical to keep it at an even keel, as overcharging can be detrimental to some batteries. Ideally, you should be keeping your battery charged “between 20 – 80 per cent,” says Franco, and try not to let it completely drain out.

“If you're constantly charging to 100 per cent, or you're constantly letting it run very low (for long periods of time), that may shorten the life of your battery, especially on older model EVs.”

Whether this is at home, work, or at regular EV charging stations, ongoing charging helps to maintain a healthy battery, and extends the overall lifespan.

EV battery dashboard

Most EVs will show how much charge you have left. Image: Supplied. 

Avoid extreme temperatures

Did you know that extremely hot or cold temperatures can reduce the efficiency of your EV's battery? In cooler areas, if temperatures drop to the minus six degrees Celsius range, and the heater is pumping and using energy, an EV’s range can drop up to 41 per cent.

If possible, park your car in a garage or shaded area to avoid direct sunlight or extreme cold conditions. Extreme weather is also not the best time to charge your EV.

Drive safely and steadily

EVs are most efficient when driven at a constant speed. Sudden acceleration or hard braking can waste energy, and reduce the range of the EV.

“You can lose speed when going uphill,” says Franco, “or if you’re carrying a heavy load, such as five people in the car, you’re overloaded with bags, or you’re towing a heavy load. All this can drain on your power.”

The best way to sustain battery charge is to drive smoothly and safely for a more efficient drive.

Regenerative breaking is a great feature that only EVs provide to extend your driving range. Many have regenerative braking installed, which converts some of the energy that can be lost during braking into battery charge.

Franco advises to "try and use regenerative braking as much as you can.”

Tyres and features

Just like in a regular car, tyres not inflated to their recommended pressure can cause uneven tread, putting increased pressure on the EV’s energy system. Ensure you have adequately prepared your EV’s tyre pressure and wheel alignment before setting off.

Features like air conditioning, heating, and entertainment systems can also drain power. Use these features sparingly to extend your driving range.

Even extra features, such as roof racks, add weight to the vehicle, meaning more energy may be used unnecessarily if these add-ons are not in use.


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