Despite the hope that electric cars might help reduce auto accidents, many drivers are unaware of the responsibility they will come with.
According to a 2019 Consumer Reports survey, 63 percent of U.S. consumers thinking of buying a vehicle are interested in electric cars, and 31 percent are considering buying one soon. Denver even has its own roadmap to reducing Colorado auto accidents with the help of electric cars.
Driving an electric vehicle saves money on fuel and maintenance. But if you are a prospective buyer, keep in mind that EV owners have certain responsibilities that owners of gas-powered vehicles do not have.
- You need to make sure your electric vehicle is noisy.
By default, electric vehicles are extremely quiet, which can make accidents and injuries more likely in the vicinity of pedestrians and bicyclists — especially if a pedestrian or bicyclist happens to be visually impaired. The federal government now requires that a high-pitched sound be emitted when electric vehicles are traveling at low speed “so they don’t sneak up and kill us,” as The Verge puts it.
- You need to use a suitable charging cable and a capable electrical system.
Some EV drivers charge their vehicles by plugging them into an extension cord that is then connected to a normal wall socket or a public charging station. But this practice is considered dangerous. Avoid using a multi-socket extension cord rather than just a standard charging cable, and make sure that if you charge your vehicle overnight at home, your home electrical system can handle it.
- You need to get compatible tires.
Some EVs require special tires to save energy and enhance charging capacity. Although these tires can be harder to find and cost more than generic tires, you should use them if the EV maker requires them.
- You need to be patient when charging your electric vehicle.
When using a public charging station, you won’t be able to charge the electric car battery as quickly as you could fill a regular car tank with gas. Many EV models have batteries that can charge to 80 percent in about half an hour. If the charging station is slow, though, the job may take several hours. This is where audiobooks, Tetris, and phone calls to garrulous friends come in handy.
- You need to practice your driving again.
Every time you take your foot off the accelerator of an electric vehicle, its regeneration system will slow down in order to maximize efficiency. In order to reduce range anxiety — the fear of running out of power before reaching a charging station — it’s best to drive using only one pedal, braking only in emergencies.
- You need to turn off the air conditioning whenever possible.
Most cars come with air conditioning to keep you comfortable on even the hottest days. But air conditioning drains EV batteries very fast. For short trips, that’s not usually a problem. If you’re going on a long trip, though, you should consider the weather and plan accordingly.
- You need to top off your battery and then top it off some more.
Charging your battery overnight, even when it still has a fair amount of power, is a good habit to get into. Certain models can even be programmed to start charging at a certain time.
- You need to maintain your electric vehicle.
EVs are not maintenance-free. It’s true that, according to the My EV site, electric vehicles:
eliminate over two-dozen mechanical components that would normally require periodic service. An EV owner avoids having to pay for things like tune-ups, oil changes, cooling system flushes, and transmission servicing, and replacing the air filter, spark plugs and drive belts. Sources suggest electric vehicle owners spend roughly a third of what conventionally powered auto owners do for regular service.
But electric autos can still be expensive to maintain and repair. To further complicate matters, many licensed mechanics have no experience working on them. So owners must often turn to vehicle manufacturers when their vehicle needs maintenance.