Old tricks to improve new EVs

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Tesla Model S EV Performance

Electric vehicles are great – there’s no denying it. The ability to power a car through normal power is fantastic, but there is always room for improvement.

As great as EVs are, they are still vehicles and, as such, still follow many of the normal conventions and engineering principles of traditional transport. So, if you’re looking to improve your EV, why not teach a new dog some old tricks for a change.

Better Mileage

The best thing you can do for an EV is to improve its mileage. These vehicles are still quite new, so the batteries and engines are constantly being developed and refined for longer distances. Still, the less often you have to stop and charge up your EV, the better the overall experience is.

Many of these tricks, then, will look to improve this factor. Fortunately, very little has changed in EVs when it comes to the overall shape, design and wheelbase, so these methods will still work. Specifically, we can look at two key areas: the car’s aerodynamics and its weight.

Aerodynamics

Air resistance is a strong factor in any vehicle travelling at speed. The faster you drive, the more air particles increase the resistance. Generally speaking, most electric vehicles have a very sleek design, so the must you can do is preserve this. Wax and polish help maintain an even surface, as well as protecting the body, so be sure to apply this regularly.

Similarly, any external fixtures will disrupt this aerodynamic design. So, unless you need them for that specific trip, don’t leave roof racks and bicycle racks on the car. This can also apply to your tyres and wheel base. A tyre that is improperly inflated can play havoc with aerodynamics – especially if it’s only on one side of the vehicle – so the correct tyre pressure can make a surprising improvement.

Tesla P100D

Weight

Likewise, the weight of a vehicle also causes more resistance: specifically, a heavier vehicle needs to burn more energy before it can start converting this power into momentum.

Fortunately, again, EVs tend to be rather light designs. The real trick lies in not overloading them. While the car manual will give you a maximum weight allowance, this is a final limit, not a target. Anything below this will still be beneficial.

Tyres And Wheels

With any car, whether it’s powered by an EV motor or an internal combustion engine, the contact area with the road is vital in getting the best performance. It goes without saying, then, that the right tyres make a big difference.

This, also, is where you get to customise a lot of the car’s capabilities. When you’re operating on dry, smooth roads, models with a low rolling resistance will improve your mileage. On the other hand, if you have more varied road conditions, stronger grip may be preferable – especially in the colder months.

Similarly, you may also want to use a tyre and wheel size calculator to find new possible sizes. This will, again, help you adapt the car’s capabilities:

  • Changing to a larger overall diameter will improve your grip and braking distances. On the other hand, this reduces the car’s effectiveness on water and uses more electricity.
  • Changing to a smaller diameter, however, will offer greater comfort and resistance to aquaplaning, but it will not handle corners well and will take longer to brake.

Not every driver chooses to do this, as it goes against the balance established by the vehicle’s design. However, if you feel there are certain parameters that you would like to improve, this is one way of doing so.

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

Driving Comfort

Generally speaking, electric vehicles offer a very high level of driving comfort, thanks to the smooth and quiet nature of their engines. Of course, while the lack of a rattling combustion engine is a huge benefit, the interaction between the road and car itself can still be improved.

We’ve already looked at the tyres and wheels, but what about the springs and absorbers? By improving your car suspension, you can ensure the car handles more smoothly and offers a calmer experience. Your suspension is easy to check and you can often tell by driving, if you’re good at ‘feeling’ the car, when the suspension is unbalanced. Finetuning this system was greatly improve how the car performs around turns, as well as offering smoother braking.

Tesla Model S EV Performance