23 April 2021
23 April 2021
Electric vehicle sales are on the rise as the world accelerates towards emission-free driving.
Despite this, range anxiety – the fear your electric vehicle will suddenly run flat and leave you stranded – is a very real concern for many drivers who have yet to join the EV revolution.
The good news is that electric vehicle charging networks are expanding and car manufacturers are investing heavily in vehicle design and technology to help curb range anxiety.
Batteries are getting better all the time, and EVs such as the Mercedes-Benz EQC and the all-new EQA now offer around 400km of range from a single charge.
But there are a number of “eco-driving” habits that you can put into practice – both on and off-road – to optimise your battery’s overall performance and its life cycle. Adopt these good charging and driving habits to get the most from your electric vehicle.
Steer clear of extremes
Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can adversely affect lithium-ion batteries, like those found in the EQA, EQC and in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Where possible, try to park out of direct sunlight on a hot day, and indoors if you’re in a cold climate.
EVs do have a thermal-management system to keep the battery at an optimal temperature, but most of them require your EV to be plugged into a charging station for the system to kick in.
Another extreme to avoid is keeping your EV battery charged to 100 per cent, or allowing it to drain completely.
While the latter makes sense, it might seem counterintuitive to avoid fully charging your EV, as our natural inclination is to keep our electronic devices powered up and ready to go at all times.
The truth is that keeping your EV at either end of the spectrum will put extra strain on the battery, affecting its efficiency and life cycle.
The recommended State Of Charge (SOC) is between 20 per cent and 80 per cent. This is particularly important if your EV remains inactive for long periods, in which case you should set up a timed charger to make sure it’s always charged within this range, preferably around the 50 per cent mark. This should be enough to get you where you need to go, unless of course you’re planning a long-distance trip, in which case a full charge will likely be required.
Use fast charging sparingly
This may also sound counterintuitive – who doesn’t want their EV charged up and ready for the road as quickly as possible? However, too much fast charging can actually be detrimental to your battery’s health.
The increase in the internal resistance of the batteries due to DC fast charging results in heat generation that can shorten the life cycle of the lithium-ion battery.
The occasional use of a high-powered DC fast charger is fine – and sometimes a necessity – but it just shouldn’t be used as your primary charging method.
Still, it’s worth noting that the effects of fast charging are relatively minimal - eight years of standard charging, rather than the faster, DC variety, will give you around 10 per cent more battery life, a margin that may not concern some drivers.
Avoid quick discharges
It may be tempting to put the pedal to the metal to experience the wonderful immediate torque that an EV can offer. But the quick thrills come at a price – a shortened lifespan for your battery. Slow and steady wins the race, especially if you want your EV battery in peak condition for as long as possible.
Can I charge my electric vehicle while driving it?
The short answer is yes.
To charge an EV and a PHEV, you will need to plug it into a charging point either at home or at a public charging station.
A PHEV - such as the Mercedes-Benz A 250e, C 300e, E 300e or GLC 300e – has both a petrol-powered internal combustion engine and a battery pack that powers an electric motor, the two working in tandem to deliver maximum power and efficiency to the vehicle.
Both types of electrified vehicles create electricity to store in the battery thanks to a process called “regenerative braking”. In a nutshell, moving vehicles create a lot of kinetic energy and when a driver applies the brakes, much of that energy is lost. Regenerative braking is a process whereby the electric motor works to convert that energy when the vehicle is in deceleration mode and store it in the battery.
Full EVs also use regenerative braking to put power back into the batteries, and some, such as the Mercedes-Benz EQC, can even adjust the amount of regeneration you are using, thus enabling you to add to your own range.
Effectively, the regenerative braking system enables you to add more miles to your range by driving in stop-start traffic situations, or by driving down steep hills rather than up them, although this isn’t always practical.
Learn more about Mercedes-EQ, the future of electric mobility.
By Stephen Corby