Canada is a big country. Like, really big. We have over 1 million kilometres of public roads in Canada (1,042,718 km to be exact). So, it’s understandable that when EV drivers were asked what their biggest pre-purchase concerns were, “Not Enough Range” ranked the highest with 67% of EV drivers rating the concern as “serious” or “moderately” serious. Interestingly, that percentage drops substantially – to only 30% of EV drivers – once they purchased their EV and had hands-on experience.
How can you alleviate “range anxiety” when driving an EV? We’ve compiled a few tips to help ease that anxiety and enjoy taking your EV on a road trip.
Know Your Vehicle
Depending on the make and model of your EV, including both battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), it will have a manufacturer rated range – telling you how far the manufacturer expects it to go on a single charge. BC Hydro has an infographic that includes both the battery and fuel range (in the case of PHEVs) of all the EV models available in BC. And in their recent “EV Road Trip Report”, they illustrate what that looks like on a map.
Plan Your Route
There are a lot of great apps that let you find the closest EV charger, including PlugShare and ChargeHub – apps that show not only the location of chargers, but also the cost of charging, capability of charging speed, current availability of the charger and reviews or notes from fellow EV drivers. And, of course, there is our own Petro-Canada EV App that shows the locations of Canada’s Electric Highway™. We’ve created a cross-Canada network of EV fast charge stations, with a charger located every 250 km or less from Halifax, NS to Victoria, BC along the Trans-Canada Highway.
If you want to get a broader look at the available public chargers in Canada, National Resources Canada maintains an Electric Charging and Alternative Fuelling Stations Locator. Electric Mobility Canada, a national membership-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of e-mobility, maintains a list of EV charging apps and maps.
Weather and Temperature Affect Your Range
Depending upon the season, different factors can affect your EV’s range.
In warmer months, park in the shade if possible. Doing what you can to keep your car cool even before you get on the road is a good thing. And go easy on the AC. Running the AC drains your battery, so try not to run it on Full Arctic Blast and use it only when you need it.
And in cooler months, blasting your heater and running your seat warmers can drain your battery. So maybe slip on a pair of long johns under your jeans when out and about.
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
There are some small but important changes to your regular driving habits that you can make that will extend the range of your battery. If you’ve been driving your combustion engine car in a fuel-efficient manner, you’ll likely recognize a number of these tips:
- Lighten up your cargo. Carrying a bunch of extra stuff in your EV can drain the battery faster.
- Drive at a consistent speed. Driving at high speeds with lots of acceleration and deceleration can really drain your battery. Try to keep your speed consistent.
- Speaking of deceleration, take advantage of regenerative braking. Regenerative braking captures energy that is lost during braking and then uses that power to help recharge the battery. Most EV models let you manage regenerative braking on your dashboard screen.
For more tips for alleviating range anxiety when taking your EV on a road trip, check out this interview with Petro-Canada guest, Marianne Kunic, who drove her Kia Soul from Sechelt, BC to St. Stephen, NB.
What do you think? Are you ready to take your EV on a road trip? Let us know in the comments if we’ve helped alleviate your range anxiety!