Electric cars: how to drive them?

After overcoming fears of reduced autonomy and very long recharge times (two clichés that are debunked day after day), we are finally getting ready to buy an electric car . And then, once behind the wheel, it turns out that it is  quite different  from a petrol or diesel car. Because it has no gearbox (unless you have bought a Porsche Taycan or an exotic supercar), it drops all the torque to the ground quickly from zero revs, has a very low centre of gravity and… it does not make noise. It does not leave you disoriented, but requires you to be careful. So here are  all the tips for driving a zero-emission car  .

How to start an electric car

Once you reach the driver’s seat, you have to  press the start button to start  the car. On Tesla no, because they turn on automatically when they detect the presence of a person on board, but that is not the point. The fact is that an electric car, once turned on, is exactly like an electric car turned off:  perfectly silent  .

Some  light up the entire dashboard  to indicate that they are ready to go, others turn on a light that says ”  Ready  “, others  play a piece of music  . In short, they are trying to somehow capture the attention of the driver, who if he is inexperienced in front of this type of car, it is not uncommon to press the ignition button again, turning off the car.

How to accelerate with an electric car

After the first hurdle, all that remains  is to shift into gear and off you go  . However, remember that electric cars do not have a proper gearbox. However, to manage the different driving modes (Parking, Drive, Retro), they often have a  lever  that looks a lot like that of a traditional automatic transmission.

Once the gear is engaged, the accelerator pedal is pressed. And here again, the electric car shows its nature. As much as you think that battery-powered cars are designed to save money and not to pollute, you only have to drive one to immediately realize that they  are generally very grippy  . The engine, in fact,  has no delay in transferring torque and power to the wheels  : it does so instantly and offers maximum traction from the start.

So, the advice is to  accelerate with caution  , so as not to be thrown forward with a useless waste of energy and a good scissor to comfort. It will be precisely by learning to accelerate gradually that you will be able to enjoy the enormous fluidity with which a zero-emission car can be driven. 

Pay attention to speed limits

An electric car, it has been said, makes no noise. So much so that a European law has forced manufacturers to equip  new models with an artificial sound that must emit up to 20 km/h  . Then, rustling and rolling noises begin to make the car audible even to the most distracted. Try venturing into the parking lot of a crowded shopping center looking for a spot to determine how much louder you would like your car to be, too.

There is a second problem, in addition to the pedestrians who suddenly appear without looking, and that is the inherent one  of speed limits  . The electric car is lively, silent and without gears. It is easy to find yourself beyond what is allowed if you do not pay attention to the speedometer.

How to brake with an electric car

There is one aspect of driving an electric car that is very different from a car with an internal combustion engine. It is braking. In a battery-powered car, when you brake,  you use the kinetic energy of the car to recharge the  battery  . This also happens when you let go of the accelerator. There is greater friction of the mechanical components and it slows down much more quickly. Making the most of these phases allows you to manage the battery much more efficiently and, in short, to go further.

Regenerative braking  , as the phenomenon is called, can usually be  set to different levels  and, if set to maximum, slows the car down so noticeably that it can make pressing the brake pedal (it is called  a drive pedal  ) unnecessary. To drive an electric car properly, it is always advisable to plan in advance where you want to stop and take your foot off the accelerator, in order to take advantage of a longer release phase. Conversely, it is useless or even harmful to arrive at the traffic light or stop at high speed and then suddenly press the brake to stop in time. 

How to Manage Long Journeys with an Electric Car

The “one pedal” guide gives the most consistent results in the city. It is in urban driving, in fact, that the electric car consumes the least energy. But where energy consumption is higher is on the highway. However, thanks to increasingly large batteries and efficient powertrains, electric cars can now also be used for long  journeys  , perhaps with a little caution.

The first, fundamental, is to  plan the route  . You can do this before leaving by checking the state of charge of the car at the start, the traffic conditions, the presence of columns on the road. Just in case, you can also book a recharge in order to reach the refueling station avoiding unpleasant surprises. 

All these operations can be carried out thanks to the  applications dedicated to zero-emission driving  that manufacturers have developed to better manage their battery-powered models even remotely. They are comfortable, easy to use and interact perfectly with the on-board infotainment systems, so that once in motion, the car navigator manages the gear.

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