Driving Electric Cars

Dating back to the last 1800’s the electric car has been with us longer than most people think. And given the recent addition of electric cars that are becoming more practical, such as Tesla Motors vehicles, its time to update driver’s ed to accommodate the growing impact of electric cars on our roads.

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Early electric car at its charging station.

Electric cars by their very nature require the driver to manage their car somewhat differently. There are many items to take into account when driving an electric car, such as:

  • Full charge range, which is the same concept as the range on a full tank of fuel. However, the difference is that the time to refill the tank in an electric car is drastically different.
  • Charging time is the biggest issue when driving an electric car. This depends on the charging station which can take several hours to charge a battery from empty to full.
  • Keeping the car charged whenever possible is a good plan. Plug in every night so that in the morning the car has a full charge. Whenever there is a charging station nearby, its worth topping-off the battery.
  • Finding charging stations can be a challenge but there are an increasing number of charging stations available. Do an internet search and you’ll find a surprising number of stations popping-up.
  • Maximizing range is very dependent on how you drive, just like with a gasoline-powered car. Quick accelerations and hard stops still have a big impact on the vehicle range.
  • Around town is where electric cars shine. If you start off the morning with a full charge there is little worry as you go about your daily chores.
  • Planning trips can be a challenge due to the length of time it takes to fully charge the battery. More planning is required, including making sure you know where the charging stations are and making sure you have more than enough charge to make it between charging stations. Also, take into consideration that you will have to spend some time, possibly an hour or more, at a charging station to get a charge.
  • Look ma, no gas stations. Saying goodbye to gas stations is one of the biggest benefits of driving an electric car.

Newer electric cars, such as the Tesla Model S, have come a long ways in terms of practical daily driving. With more than enough range to last the day and the propagation of charging stations, much of the worry about charging becomes a non-issue. However, until there is a breakthrough in battery technology electric cars are not the best for long trips.

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