Torque Shop: Making sense of an electric car's trip meter

An electric vehicle's trip computer determines the remaining range based on a number of factors. PHOTO: UNSPLASH

What does it mean when an electric car's trip meter shows a remaining range of, say, 200km? How different is this compared with a car with a petrol or diesel engine?

It means you can drive for around 200km more before the battery goes flat. Some combustion engine cars provide this information too, and it means the same thing - that you have whatever kilometres remaining before the fuel tank is empty.

An electric vehicle's (EV) trip computer determines the remaining range based on a number of factors.

Other than the battery charge, the computer also calculates average consumption based on driving style. Hard acceleration and high cruising speeds will quickly deplete the battery.

Efficient use of regenerative braking helps extend range. Hence, switching to increased regeneration when approaching slower traffic makes a measurable difference.

The air-conditioner also consumes energy. You will notice that some EVs will switch off the air-con when range falls below 15km or so. To preserve range, set the temperature no lower than 22 deg C.

If an EV's range goes to zero, it has to be towed to an available charger. Mobile charging services are also available, though not widely.

Should a combustion engine car run out of fuel, the driver can hitch a ride to the nearest petrol kiosk for a jerry can of fuel.

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