Recently I took a 220-mile road trip that gave me a case of EV range anxiety. So I will share a few simple adjustments to get more miles from my battery and reduce EV range anxiety.
First, let me start with the backstory of my trip and the circumstances. My wife booked a private stargazing tour to watch some shooting stars in Joshua Tree national park. The stargazing occurred from 9 pm-11:30 pm. At 8 am the following day, I needed to return home as we planned to replace our water heater that had stopped working.
My electric car, in ideal conditions, can drive around 250 miles on a single charge. However, moving fast and going up hills can reduce your driving range.
Set your EV Charge Limit to 100%
The first adjustment was to allow my battery to charge at 100%. Typically I don’t drive long distances and charge at 60%, which helps extend the battery health (Read our article about EV battery lifespan and health). However, setting your charge limit to 100% enables you to get the most out of your battery on long trips (Read our tips on how to optimally fast charge an EV).
We left around 2 pm at ran into traffic. About 80 miles into our trip, we stopped and charged our electric vehicles. We stopped at the Cabazon Outlet stores, charged our batteries back up to 100%, and were again on the road.
My wife had rented an Airbnb, which she used as our base of operations while visiting Joshua Tree. We ate at home, and around 8 pm, we drove into Joshua Tree national park. Joshua Tree is out in the desert, and the park has little or no light pollution. One of the cool features of the pitch was our automatic high beams.
We met our guide and spent the next few hours looking at constellations, stars, and the moon. Finally, 11:30 pm rolled around, and I needed to get home.
Drive the Speed Limit to Extend Range
I set my navigation to take me back home. My EV told me I would arrive home with the remaining 8% of my battery charge, with no stops. I started driving down the desert highway. It was midnight, and I was out in the middle of nowhere. I was anxious to get back home, and as I drove, my speed increased to around 80 miles per hour. At some point, I got a notification I would have to charge around 1 pm out in some remote, desolate parking. The idea of charging for 30 minutes in the middle of nowhere was not appealing. I slowed to 65 miles per hour, and my navigation recalculated that I could return home without stopping.
Regenerative Braking Adds Miles
I had to traverse up and down some hills on the way home. Braking on the way downhill helps replenish some of your battery charges. The electric vehicle’s motor acts as your brakes and creates electricity. As a nice byproduct, Regenerative braking can increase your battery charge by a few percent, giving you several more miles you can drive without stopping.
I got more miles from my EV battery by driving the speed limit, opportunistically using my regenerative brakes, and starting my trip on a full charge. As a result, I made it back home without making any stops.