How to Improve EV Range and Charging Speed

March 7, 2022

How to Improve Your Car's Electric Range

If you’ve ever tried to feed a baby, you know that babies have optimum conditions under which they like to be fed. It might be the time of day, it might be what is playing on the radio or the TV, or it might be the temperature. Well, the battery in an electric car is kind of the same – they work best under optimum conditions, especially when it comes to charging.

For batteries, temperature is the main thing. Not only does a battery deliver its maximum performance at a certain temperature, but it’ll also charge fastest at a certain temperature – somewhere between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, for most batteries. When connected to a level 3 DC fast charger, a battery at its optimum temperature will quickly reach its maximum charging speed, and maintain it for longer, than if it’s too cold (or too hot).

Save Time and Money When Public Charging

Depending on which electric vehicle you drive, activating battery preconditioning before you arrive at a charger ensures the fastest charge times, letting you get on your way sooner. Often the best way to do this is by programming the charger as a destination in the navigation system; your car, knowing you’ll be charging, will heat or cool the battery to accept the fastest charge automatically.

One thing worth noting: a nearly empty battery will actually charge faster than a nearly-full one – you’ll notice charging speed tail off as you start to fill the battery up – so plan to drive longer distances between fast-charging stops, and pre-condition the battery before each stop to save the most time. And because most public charging stations charge your credit card based on how much time you’re plugged in, pre-conditioning can save you money, as well as time.

Pre-Condition Overnight to Gain Extra Range

Preconditioning can also help gain range in daily driving and when you’re charging your vehicle on a home charger. Because batteries perform better at their optimum temperature, ensuring the battery is at that temperature before you drive off will further improve range. If you’ve charged outdoors in a cold climate, the battery has to work really hard to heat the car and itself in the first few miles after you drive off; pre-conditioning will cost you a few pennies but you’ll end up with more range – and a warm car!

Most EVs let you control preconditioning with a mobile app or through the infotainment system, and will even let you schedule your normal departure times – letting you pre-set the cabin temperature, seat and steering wheel heaters, and other energy-sapping devices, to be active before you depart.

As with any car, a few moments spent with the owner’s manual will save you a few dollars, and will let you experience a more comfortable drive.