Driving an electric vehicle (EV) for the first time can be an exciting and slightly intimidating experience. However, by following some basic guidelines, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable transition to electric driving. Here are some need-to-know basics for first-time EV drivers:
1. First charge
Before hitting the road with your new EV, make sure you have a way to charge it at home. Check if your EV comes with a portable three-pin charger, or purchase one separately if needed. Keeping your EV charged is essential for day-to-day use.
2. Don’t go low
Unlike traditional petrol cars, EVs require more frequent but shorter charging sessions. Aim to keep your EV’s battery between 20-80% State of Charge (SOC) for optimal performance. Practice graze charging by plugging in whenever you have the opportunity. This will ensure you always have enough charge for unexpected situations.
3. Big trips, plan ahead
If you’re planning a long journey, it’s crucial to plan ahead and locate charging stations along your route. Use apps like ChargeNet or PlugShare to find reliable charging stations, and set up an account in advance for a hassle-free experience. Avoid relying on the last charger on your journey, as it may be in use or broken.
4. Know your connectors
Most EVs use the Combined Charging System (CCS), which includes a connector for DC fast-charging and a Type 2 connector for slower AC charging. Familiarize yourself with the different connectors and make sure you have the necessary adapters for different charging scenarios. Be aware that older Japanese EVs may have a rarer Chademo connector.
5. Charge speeds and battery longevity
While fast charging at public stations is convenient, regularly relying on it can degrade your EV’s battery faster. Charging at a slower rate, such as overnight at home or from slower public chargers, helps maintain the battery’s longevity. Consider fast chargers as occasional conveniences and prioritize regular charging at home or slower stations.
6. Public charger etiquette
When using public charging stations, be considerate of others waiting to charge. Treat the listed times as maximum parking limits and not targets. Avoid overcharging if there are people waiting and use the charging network’s app to report queues or availability issues. Remember that public chargers are meant to be shared resources.
By following these essential tips, first-time EV drivers can ensure a seamless transition to electric driving. Enjoy the benefits of cleaner and greener transportation while also becoming familiar with the unique characteristics of electric vehicles.
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