Long distance charging
One of the main concerns about electric cars is the amount of mileage you can get out of a single charge. Because the battery takes much longer to refill than a conventional fuel tank, longer journeys will require a bit of planning.
There are plenty of sites around the internet that will show you the location of charging points and allow you to plan a route that allows for charging along the way. Many service stations on motorways now feature multiple charging points, as do larger supermarkets.
How long your car will take to charge depends on what kind of charger it is, and how big your battery is.
Making use of rapid chargers, if your car supports them, is very useful. These will boost your car’s power up to 80% in less than an hour, which means you can stop for a cup of tea or lunch while your car recharges. Don’t be tempted to run the car to almost empty before charging though. The last thing you need is to pull into a charging area with 1% battery left, only to find all the points in use already.
Getting the most from your charge
You can extend the range of your car by driving more efficiently. Motorways – where you can maintain a constant speed with no speeding up and slowing down – are the best way to do this. By staying between 60 and 70mph, you should be able to eke more miles from your battery.
If you’re staying overnight somewhere, and there isn’t a dedicated charging point, check beforehand if there’s a socket you can plug into. It might be worth carrying an extension cable in the car, in case the socket isn’t next to where you park.
Of course, if you’ve got a plug-in hybrid car, all these issues are less pressing, because when the electric power runs out, you can still run the car on petrol or diesel. However, if you can top up with electricity, you’ll save a considerable amount of money on fuel.