Eco-driving is a set of good practices that allow you to reduce your vehicle’s energy consumption. For the electric vehicle driver, it’s about economizing battery power in order to lengthen the range.
Although some of these savings are related to the motorist’s driving style, other factors like air conditioning, heavy loading and tire pressure are also important and can affect energy consumption.
Driving an electric vehicle is a singular experience which feels different to driving a car with a combustion engine. But the issue of economizing energy remains the same. Eco-driving principles are therefore just as relevant. Here are the main points to remember (and to put into practice) for electric eco-driving by the book.
Perhaps you’re already sold on of your electric vehicle. If so, it’s time to get into the smooth and relaxed driving style that goes with it! Favor driving without jolts by avoiding overly aggressive accelerations, which use up a lot of energy, and braking too hard. Instead, employ steady acceleration and measured braking, because the effective management of deceleration saves energy thanks to a system known as regenerative braking. Whenever you ease off the accelerator or brake gently, some of the deceleration’s kinetic energy gets turned into energy and charges the battery. You’ve got it—the golden rule of relaxed driving is anticipation!
To help you get into good habits, you can count on the piece and quiet, lack of vibrations and fluidity of your electric vehicle’s ECO mode. Once activated, it optimizes certain aspects of driving like acceleration, cruise control and deceleration to save energy and can help you gain up to 10% more range. This mode is perfect for city driving where the average speed is usually no higher than 30 km/h, dropping to 15 km/h if you run into traffic jams or parking difficulties. So just take it as it comes!
Being warm in winter and cool in summer might feel good, but it uses a lot of electricity, especially if you tend to have the air on full blast. The smart use of heating or air conditioning will save battery power and extend your range without impacting driving comfort.
When your car is charging, the required energy comes from the power outlet. The battery is therefore not being used and retains its capacity. Getting into the habit of pre-setting the temperature before you leave the car charging will allow you to set the heating or cooling of the interior in advance.
This way, the temperature inside the car will be at an optimal temperature when you set off, and less energy will be required for reheating or re-cooling. Win-win!
Plus, on Renault vehicles, ECO mode is your friend when it comes to adjusting the temperature inside the car once you’re on the move. It will adjust the air conditioning to strike the best balance between comfort and energy consumption.
Do the math: the heavier your car is, the more energy it will need to move forward and the more battery power it will use. Incidentally, this consumption issue is the same for both combustion engine and electric motor cars. So remember to unload your car of any unnecessary weight.
Remember also to remove any exterior equipment like rooftop cargo carriers or bars when not in use. As well as being heavy, they make the car less aerodynamic. This added wind resistance also affects energy consumption.
As for your tires, be careful not to under-inflate them, as this increases energy consumption and is a safety risk as well as making tire wear worse. Check your tire pressure, preferably on cool rubber and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for normal or loaded-down vehicles. Over-inflating your tires slightly is recommended in some cases: +0.3 bars if you’ve checked your pressure on warm tires, or for a highway journey longer than 2 hours, +0.2 bars in the winter, etc. Most of all, remember to check the pressure every month.
Your primary aims are to avoid traffic jams and make the trip as short as possible (in terms of mileage)! Before leaving, go online for information about the various possible routes with estimated travel times and traffic conditions. These days, the MY Renault mobile app allows you to plan a trip taking into account your vehicle’s starting battery charge level, the charging points along your route and the total travel time, including charging time if necessary.
When you’re on the move, whether you know the route or not, GPS and mobile apps offer the same service, and are always useful when it comes to avoiding traffic jams or other hold-ups. On New ZOE, the online EASY LINK onboard navigation system is there to guide you, and also show the location and availability of the nearest charging points. By keeping you updated on the next steps (take an exit, make a turn, brake, etc.), the GPS allows you to anticipate and drive accordingly. Ideal for a smooth drive! Finally, go ahead and leave a little ahead of schedule as driving in a hurry is never a good thing.
There are many advantages to eco-driving, both for the vehicle and driver, not to mention the passengers! Its main advantage, and a considerable one at that, is that it lengthens the range of the battery by optimizing electricity consumption.
Smooth driving has several benefits of its own. When it comes to saving money, it prevents the brakes and tires from wearing out prematurely, for example. It also promotes calm, considerate driving which prevents stress behind the wheel and improves well-being. This smoother driving style can also have an impact on traffic conditions in cities, reducing the infamous traffic bunching that contributes to tailbacks. Driving in stops and starts or constantly changing lane doesn’t actually get you anywhere faster, so you might as well stay relaxed!
Now it’s your turn! In 2017, a team of journalists managed to drive 393.5 kilometers in a ZOE fitted with a Z.E 40 battery by following these basic rules of eco-driving. Are you ready to take up the challenge?
Copyrights: LEMAL Jean-Brice, Renault Marketing 3D-Commerce, OHM, Frithjof