In association with Nissan LEAF
Top tips on running an electric car
Following a few simple rules can improve the efficiency of your electric car and prolong the life of its battery...
Don't overcharge your electric car's battery
Like anything with a lithium ion battery, including a mobile phone, laptop or tablet, it’s best to keep an electric car's battery between 20 and 80% charge. Heat is the enemy of these batteries, and they tend to be at their hottest as they get close to being fully charged.
True, all electric vehicles (EVs) have cooling systems to reduce the amount of heat generated within the circuit. However, they can still get too hot, and if that happens the battery cells can potentially be damaged, making them degrade faster.
Buy an electric car that's equipped with a heat pump
Batteries don’t like the cold, either, with the range of most EVs dipping in the winter. But the drop-off can be limited if your EV is fitted with a heat pump – an efficient way of warming up your car’s interior to reduce the air-con’s impact on range.
In our 2022 winter range test, we found that EVs with heat pumps fell an average of 25.4% shy of their official range, compared with the 33.6% shortfall suffered by EVs without them.
Likewise, the cars with heat pumps were more efficient, averaging 3.2 miles/kWh, compared with 2.9 miles/kWh for those without.
Have a renewable power supply at home
One way of making sure the electricity powering your EV is renewably sourced is by equipping your home with its own renewable power source, such as solar panels that transfer energy to a battery for domestic use.
A more cost-effective alternative would be to choose a renewable-only energy supplier.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
The Best electric cars in 2023
Sales of electric cars are booming, and no wonder: the best are quiet, cheap to run and smooth to drive. But which are the brightest sparks – and which are the loose connections?
BYD Atto 3 long-term test
Can an unfamiliar car brand show established names a thing or two when it comes to comfortable, practical and cost-effective electric motoring? We're finding out