We spoke to Linda Noble, one of the Mission Motorsport hypermilers. Medically discharged from the military in 2018 after an 18-year military career, she proved to be one of the most efficient drivers on the Mission Motorsport hypermile record team, despite never having driven an electric car before.
Advice from a record breaker
“Drive as smoothly as you can,” was her main advice. “It’s the most important. The smoother you drive, the more efficient you become. It is best to maintain a fairly constant speed. We didn’t accelerate and slow down, just a little brake regeneration [see below] on the descents all we used was.”
Smooth driving is the first rule to get the best range out of an EV.
Other efficiency gains related to your electric car
By looking ahead so you have plenty of time to slow down for traffic, and not brake hard or accelerate too hard, you’ll make big efficiency gains with little cost to comfort and convenience.
This also makes good use of the brake regeneration systems (also called Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems or KERS) that are present in every electric car. When you release the accelerator, an electric car automatically begins to use the electric motor as a generator to extract the energy from the car’s natural forward momentum.
The power of that brake regeneration can vary. Many EVs offer a range of brake recovery forces, so it may feel no different from normal engine braking, or it may be so strong that you barely need to touch the brake pedal when the car is supposedly “one pedal driving”. ”.
To get an idea of how much energy the rain system can capture, Report Statements from Energy Saving Trust: that “energy recovery through regenerative braking is about 10 percent in normal driving and up to 30 percent on downhill runs.”
Is air conditioning or an open window best for keeping cool?
As you might imagine, the record-breaking Mission Motorsport team kept the AC off to avoid significant battery drain, but no one wants to live with that level of discomfort in everyday life, especially in an expensive new car.
The Energy Saving Trust EV efficiency report cited above estimates that opening the window on a hot day has less of an impact on efficiency than using air conditioning, provided you’re traveling less than 75 mph.
At higher speeds, the A/C is a better choice for staying comfortable and maximizing range, as the aerodynamic drag of an open window at these speeds significantly reduces efficiency.
Almost all EVs offer the option to preset the cabin temperature. This means that if you have parked and plugged in the car overnight, it will use the mains electricity to keep the cabin cooled or heated before your departure time. Since the climate control system can consume as much as 20 percent and more of an EV’s battery in bad weather – thus consuming almost a quarter of your potential range – it’s worth using the preset air conditioners.
The Eco driving modes in an EV often deliver less air conditioning, but don’t turn it off completely, which is a great energy-efficient way to maintain a comfortable temperature.