How to improve EV driving range by a third

Kia has highlighted five electric vehicle driving tips drivers can use and increase their range by as much as 33 per cent.

A research survey and study from Kia UK, in conjunction with automotive training organisation Motiv8, suggests that drivers with no previous EV training can quickly adapt their driving style to increase the efficiency of an EV.

In the UK, where the average Xmas season travel is around 500km, it was calculated this could equate to a ‘fuel’ saving of between £7 and £16 (Au$12.70 to $29), depending on charging type and location. (Charging costs in the UK are pretty steep, as The Driven editor Giles Parkinson discovered in a recent visit).

A training program devised by Kia in connection with Motiv8, and using new Niro electric cars, started by inviting drivers – with batteries at 100 per cent and the available range noted – to drive a route which included winding country roads, town driving and stretches of motorway.

During the first cycle, they were free to drive in their usual style under the instructor’s observation. On return to the training centre, figures from the Niro’s instrument cluster were recorded to indicate driving efficiency and available range for later comparison.

Motiv8 staff then analysed each driver’s habits and style for potential areas of improvement, and tailored advice was given to maximise gains in efficiency before repeating the same route under detailed instruction.

On completion of the second cycle, range and efficiency data were compared to reveal an average improvement of 33 per cent greater electric range across all participants.

As a result of this exercise, Kia has now compiled a list of their top five driving efficiency tips to help EV drivers save money and get the best range.

The tips

Go easy with the right foot – The instant torque of an EV is exhilarating, but it comes at a price. Up to 50% of the energy powering a car goes into acceleration, so aggressive driving uses more energy.

Lighten the load – Take the roof box off if you’re not using it and unload any unnecessary clutter (but don’t forget the presents!).

Momentum – Careful route planning to avoid jams will keep you moving. Sometimes the fastest way is not the most efficient way.

Anticipate – Anticipating the traffic situation ahead will keep the car moving at a steady pace and use less energy than heavy slowing and acceleration.

Go slow, and wham on the radio! – Cutting your speed from 60 mph to 50 mph (100 km/h to 80km/h) can improve efficiency by up to 15%.

The Savings

“With the average home charge costing around 30p/kWh and public rapid charging at around 70p/kWh, (Au$0.54 and $1.24) it is easy to see where savings can be made,” says David Taylor, Director at Motiv8.

“If you take the average improvement in the Kia study and extrapolate that over the UK average of 9,435 electric miles a year (15,184km), an EV driver could save between £220 and £500 (Au$400 to $900) per annum.”

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