Driving tips for new electric car owners

How can I get the most from my electric car? 

Driving electric isn’t scary. You’ll find it easier to drive than your old manual and it’s much the same as getting used to any new car.  

Here are some of our top tips for getting the most from your new motor. 

Driving tips

  • The first thing you’ll notice is no gearstick. You either see a flat joystick or buttons, usually where you’d find your gearstick. You push the joystick or press the buttons for Drive/Reverse/Neutral/Park. Then touch your accelerator pedal to go and your brake pedal to stop. Couldn’t be simpler.
  • When you switch the car on, you won’t hear any noise or feel any vibration. When you pop the car into drive it might creep forward like an automatic, but some cars let you turn this off. 
  • The lack of a gearstick doesn’t mean lack of acceleration though. You’ll feel the power straight away and this can feel very fast. Some cars have an Eco/Chill mode so you can start with that while you get the hang of things.
  • Lift your foot off the accelerator and you’ll slow faster than you would in a petrol car. This is because some clever tech called regenerative braking kicks in. As you slow down and press the brake pedal your car stuffs energy back into the battery, giving you more miles (10% or so) and creating less wear on your brake pads. Coming to the lights? Take your foot off and save yourself some money.

Charging tips

  • Keep your charging cables in the boot. You never know when you might need your cables or have the chance to grab a free charge.   
  • Not a fan of cold mornings? Set your car to finish charging just before you need it, so it’s warmed up, meaning more miles on a charge. You can even defrost your windscreen and heat the inside (using an app) from the comfort of your bed with some electric cars.  
  • Keep an eye on how much power you’re using. Most electric cars tell you how you’re driving on the dash so you can ease off and save money. 
  • Check out your local charge points or plan them out for long journeys on Zap Map. Sadly, there isn’t one payment system at all places, some take contactless cards, or you might need to download an app or get a plastic tag called an RFID (radio frequency identification) in advance. 
  • Want even more miles on a charge? If your car has it, pop it on eco mode. 
  • Out and about and using a rapid charger? It’s best to charge to around 80%. And don’t leave it plugged into rapid for hours, you’ll annoy anyone who wants a quick zap and go.   
  • Fancy free parking? Some councils offer free or discounted parking for electric cars. Check and register with your council.  

As time goes on, you’ll notice one big difference between electric and petrol or diesel. And that’s less time in the garage for services or repairs. Fewer moving parts mean more money in your pocket.  

Can you do a long road trip in an electric car?

The simple answer is yes. Like all trips it’s a good idea to do a bit of planning beforehand but you can do a long road trip in an electric car.  
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