Some of the Biggest things to get used to when switching from an internal combustion-driven car to an electric car


Definitely range is the biggest thing to get used to.

But I’ll start with some of the smaller things.

  1. EVs are very quiet: I think a driver would have to be more careful manouvering around pedestrians, simply because the vehicle is so quiet. You have a fairly high chance of hitting squirrels who don’t hear you coming, hahahaha  yeah right. But modern insulation is good enough that ICEVs are not that loud in the passenger compartment either. Plus at higher speeds, the road noise is comparable.
  2. Instant acceleration: This is immensely enjoyable but you get used to it pretty quick. So much so that switching to an ICEV is really strange because you miss it.
  3. Charging time. In an ICEV, you worry whether you have enough fuel to get home, or whether you can afford the time to fill up on your way to work, or whether the price will go up (or down, causing binge line-ups). In an electric car, you plug it in when you get home and it’s full in the morning. You might look for charge stations everywhere for the first couple of months, but you really only need to do that on long trips, and 98% of typical city driving is short trips. Going in one would have guessed that this would be the biggest issue, but in reality, it’s mostly a non issue. Most of our daily travel is well within the range limit of our cars and charging overnight takes care of that. The exception is the unexpected trip. For instance, one evening you  have to drive into town to pick up your daughter. You’ve  already had a day of commuting and shopping and the EV was charging on it’s Level 1 EVSE but it would take 12 hours to fully recharge. You have enough juice to get into town, but You had to find a charger to get back. You can find a local charging station that often have free chargers so you can charge up . You decided to buy a super charger or even a  Level 2 EVSE and to avoid situations like this, since a full recharge is usually only 1–2 hours.
  4. Range Anxiety: It does exist but it’s manageable. In the beginning, you are unsure if the car *really* has the range to get to where you want to go. After awhile, you have enough experience to what is or is not possible and the anxiety disappears. You tend to drive safer because that extends range and you tend to charge when you can. Instead of going through a drive thru, you are more likely to stop at a place where you can eat in while recharging. Malls are good for this.
  5. Regenerative braking. You could ignore this and simply brake like an ICEV, but why not regenerate some energy and save your brake linings while doing it? With regen, you typically are paying more attention to traffic so you can apply it sooner. It won’t stop you as fast as friction brakes can, so applying it sooner for longer is the way to go.

Which brings me to the biggest thing to get used to:  The effect of highway driving on range.

This is the hardest because it is contrary to a lifetime of driving. In an ICEV, highway mileage is ALWAYS better than city mileage. This is because the engine has a powerband that is most efficient at a fairly high rpm and the transmission and engine work together to get the most out of that power band which tends to mean the car is most efficient at highway speeds. Plus in the city, you have lights and heavy traffic which causes you to waste kinetic energy by braking all the time.

In contrast, an EV has a much simpler power band. So much so that it doesn’t even need a transmission. The efficiency is roughly the same at any rpm. But at higher speeds, you have much more load caused by friction and air resistance. Air resistance increases as the SQUARE of the velocity so it can get pretty significant at high speeds. Thus the equation is turned on its head and the EV gets better mileage in the CITY than the HIGHWAY. In the city, you are going slower so almost no air resistance plus the stop and go driving that is the bane of an ICEV is less of an issue because your regenerative brakes take up some of that otherwise lost energy. In some edge cases, you will take a slower side road rather than a highway in order to get where you’re going with sufficient range to get there. But mostly, keeping a bit under the highway limit is sufficient.


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