At What Speed Is An Electric Car Most Efficient?

by Emily Nicholls | Posted On: May 6th, 2022
Silver-Tesla-Model-S

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If you have read up about electric cars, the chance is that you will know about range too. Many YouTube video and forum topic discusses in depth the best and worst conditions for range. However, there are other factors too that can measure an electric car’s efficiency. 

Electric cars generally run the most efficiently at 60mph which is the optimal point between conserving power whilst still maintaining speed.

How does the car’s condition effects efficiency?

There are also factors that come into play, though, that affect a car’s efficiency regardless of speed. Knowing the best conditions to maintain range can be an important consideration, as well as, how you drive the vehicle.

Keeping your car well maintained will also mean that it remains efficient even when it is not possible to go 60mph. Making use of the vehicle’s technologies can also help get the most out of your vehicle. 

Tesla Model S and X
Photo by Raymond Wambsgans licensed under CC BY 2.0

Range And How To Maximize It

Depending on the type of road and the speed limit, electric vehicles tend to find their balance between conserving power while maintaining speed at about 60mph. Obviously the faster the car is going, the more power it will use to maintain the speed, therefore, depleting your battery sooner. 

It can be quite surprising just how much range can be lost from driving faster. Driving at 75mph could see a drop of 5-10% in range and at 80mph 10-15% less than at 70mph. Driving at slower speeds will also mean fewer stops for charging so overall it’s something worth bearing in mind. 

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Switching to Eco mode can help conserve energy, as the power to features like the heater and accelerator are restricted. Similarly, staying away from sports mode will also help make your car more efficient and have a longer range. 

Braking & Acceleration

Moderate braking and acceleration will also help maximize range, and one of the benefits of more gentle deceleration is that some of the energy will be put back into the battery with regenerative braking. 

Weather also affects range and although it cannot always be helped, it is something to consider. Electric vehicles’ optimal conditions are in warm climates. Both extreme heat and cold can make it more difficult for the battery to stay at the optimal temperature meaning that more power is spent optimizing the temperature rather than on other functions.

The AC and heater will also drain the battery quicker, meaning the range will decrease. 

A Well-maintained Car Is A Happy Car

Black Tesla Model 3
Photo by Mike Fonseca licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

While it is not always possible to stick to a steady 60mph, making sure you maintain your car properly can help you get the most out of your vehicle. One important factor in maintaining your vehicle is tire pressure, which can have a substantial impact on efficiency. Under-inflated tires increase drag which will increase power consumption but can also lead to an increase in tread-wear or uneven tread-wear. It is also important to consider the effect weather has on tires, so if you are in particularly cold weather it is best to check that your tires are at the right level.  

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20-80% Efficiency Range

Managing your battery can also help to keep your car as efficient as possible. Some of the ways to keep your battery in tip-top shape are to avoid using rapid charging instead of slower charging methods. It is also recommended not to let your power levels get below 20%, ideally, you want your battery to be between 20% and 80% at all times. This will ensure you get the optimal range but it will also help preserve the battery. 

Carrying unnecessary weight can also decrease electric vehicles’ efficiency. Try to remove any unnecessary accessories that will increase the car’s weight as this will eat into the car’s power. Whilst this cannot always be avoided, consider removing any bike or roof racks, surfboards, or grille guards that are not necessary. 

Make Use Of The Technologies In Electric Vehicles

Charging-Tesla-Model-3
Photo by Marco Verch licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is no secret that electric vehicles are loaded with new innovative technologies that aim to optimize vehicle performance and help drivers get the most out of it. Although efficient driving does help to maintain vehicle efficiency, choosing the right routes can also have an impact.

Wherever possible, drivers should try to choose long stretches of the uninterrupted road rather than ones where there will be a lot of starting and stopping. This is where the in-cabin navigation systems can help to send you on the most efficient routes so that you get the most out of your vehicle on journeys. 

Charging On Road Trips

Tesla’s navigation system does all the usual things a navigation system does like calculate time and distance to destination; however, it also indicates where you will need to Supercharge on the way and how much battery charge you would have at each destination.

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These times obviously change depending on your real-time driving and the amount of power you are using. Tesla’s intelligent navigation system also costs in other factors to give its drivers accurate information to optimize their driving and journey. 

Tesla-in-valley
Photo by Mike Ambrose licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lucid has also just recently launched the electric vehicle with the highest range on the market right now, with efficiency a top priority. The Lucid Air Dream Edition R packs in 520 miles in a single charge, making it the first electric vehicle to get more than 500 miles. The company boasts about its obsession with efficiency looking to get the most range with the least amount of battery. 

While it is not always possible to maintain a steady 60mph for optimal speed and efficiency, there are many ways that electric vehicle drivers can maximize their cars’ efficiency. Careful driving without harsh acceleration or braking is preferable, wherever possible, and switching on eco mode can help as well.

Making sure your car is well maintained can also keep your vehicle in tip-top condition ensuring you get the most out of it. Utilizing electric cars’ intelligent technology systems will also make sure your car is at its most efficient. 

Rechargd was founded in 2020. We're passionate about electric cars, renewable technology and the future of the automotive industry. We’re here to help you sort the fact from fiction and stay up to date in the world of EV's.