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AAA World | Auto
Getting the Most Miles from Your Electric Vehicle Charge


One of the main concerns many people have about owning an electric vehicle (EV) is driving range. They wonder how far their new electron-powered wheels will take them on a fully charged battery pack.
While it’s true that the first battery-electric vehicles struggled to go much more than 100 miles without a recharge, driving ranges have improved dramatically in recent years. Today, many EVs can travel nearly as far between fill-ups as your average gasoline-powered vehicle.
Out for a drive 

To understand the concept of range more fully, it helps to know a few terms. Just as it does with gasoline-powered models, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the energy efficiency of EVs. Except in this case, that number is expressed as miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe).

The EPA conveniently figures out the range for you, giving each model a total mileage rating based on how far it’s likely to take you on a single charge. You’ll find both numbers detailed on the EPA’s website (; click on the “Compare Side-By-Side” tab, and then choose a vehicle).
On the road 

Several factors affect the range of EVs. Here are four aspects to consider when it comes to getting the most miles out of a freshly charged battery.

Driving Style
A main selling point of EVs is their performance. Keep in mind, though, that overindulging in that zippy acceleration comes at a cost: reduced overall range. The same applies to running at freeway speeds; counterintuitively, most EVs are more efficient in surface-street traffic than on the highway.

Credit goes to the car’s regenerative braking system, which gives the battery a small boost every time you step on the brake pedal.

Aerodynamic Alterations
EVs are subject to the same laws of physics as their traditional counterparts, of course. That means a car’s efficiency can also be dramatically affected by aerodynamics. So, ditch the roof racks and cargo boxes if you’re not using them. Even the shape of the wheels affects MPGe, so it’s best to stick with the factory-installed version.

Excess Weight

Jettisoning extra weight is another smart idea. If you’re towing a pair of personal watercraft or chauffeuring half the school football team’s offensive line, expect your total range to suffer.

Temperature Extreme
When outside temperatures reach extremes, batteries don’t perform as well. Running the air conditioning or heater also affects range. The good news is that most EVs have a preconditioning mode, which allows you to cool or warm the cabin while the car is still plugged in, minimizing these issues.

Ultimately, getting the most miles out of your EV’s battery pack is no more difficult than stretching the gasoline in your conventional car’s gas tank.