The Do’s and Don’ts of Driving an Electric Vehicle

Electric Vehicles (EVs) have taken the automotive industry – and the larger public’s attention – by storm. Discussions around, advertisements for, and references to EVs can be found all across news sites and channels, commercials, social media sites, and more.

Most recently, Ford released that it would build $11.4 billion worth of mega campuses just for EV production, and General Motors announced it would open a Michigan-based Innovation Center that will work to slash EV battery costs. On top of that, five Midwestern governors across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin just agreed to create a new EV charging network.

But even as automakers and lawmakers alike get behind the push for an EV revolution, drivers themselves are still getting acquainted with how best to take care of these vehicles. There are several key factors drivers must follow when it comes to EV care and maintenance, charging practices, battery life, and more.

Electric Vehicle Do’s


DO make sure you charge your EV for the range you need.

While it’s not recommended to regularly charge your EV to full capacity, if you’re going on a longer drive or a road trip where you need long-range, it’s okay to charge the battery to full. Most days, you won’t need 100% of your EV’s battery range anyway.

It’s best to try and stay between 20-80% charging capacity, except when you need the full driving range of your vehicle.

DO have a charging plan for your EV.

It’s crucial to have a game plan when it comes to charging your EV, as public charging stations are more prevalent in urban areas currently. Anyone who buys an EV for personal use should also invest in a 240-volt home charger, which is both efficient and cost-effective. If you have this type of charger installed at home, you’ll add anywhere from 10 to 60 miles of range each hour to your EV.

If you need faster charging or a backup plan for longer trips, public fast-chargers can be useful – but only certain EVs can accept this type of charging, and fast-charging should be done infrequently since it is hard on batteries. No matter what, EV drivers must understand the limitations of their particular vehicles when it comes to charging.

DO take care of your EV’s battery.

Both keeping the battery at zero charge and repeatedly charging the battery to full will cause it to degrade more quickly. Most EVs have settings that allow drivers to choose when they’d like the battery to start charging and how fully they’d like to charge it. Make sure to protect your EV from too much heat or cold, as well, as both can impact the battery.

DO make sure you take advantage of any applicable EV tax credits.

New EV buyers have the most to gain from tax-credit opportunities. At filing time, brand-new EV buyers can get a one-time tax break that ranges anywhere from $2,500-7,500, depending on the gross battery capacity.

However, there are some catches when it comes to these tax credits – for example, if your taxes don’t exceed the amount your EV qualifies for, you won’t qualify for a check that makes up the difference.

Additionally, for companies with commercial fleets, there are subsidies available for those who invest in charging stations.

Electric Vehicle Don’ts

Plug-In Electric Vehicle

DON’T wait until the last minute to charge your EV.

Unlike more traditional fuel-based vehicles, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to fuel up – or rather, charge up – your electric car. In fact, you shouldn’t, as an EV battery with a very low charge can cause the vehicle to have less available power to draw from.

At that point, the driver usually receives an alert to find a charging station or pull over.

DON’T forget about maintenance.

While electric motors don’t require oil changes like those in fuel-based vehicles, it’s still crucial to give your EV regular checks, ensure that brake pads are working, follow proper battery maintenance, and get tire checks and rotations per usual.

It’s important to note that EVs do have a thermal-management system like other vehicles, which means they still need coolant. Brake fluid and wiper fluid are both required, as well.

DON’T leave your EV in extreme heat or cold for too long.

EV batteries don’t do well when in extreme hot or cold weather. Heat can degrade the car battery, while the cold will reduce your EV range. It’s best to keep EVs out of the hot sun for multiple hours, or if it’s cold outside, keep your EV stored in a garage if possible.

DON’T ignore anything that seems off.

If something seems off about your EV, don’t ignore it! Take the vehicle to an EV-specialized technician, or straight to the manufacturer, for more thorough checks or any necessary repairs.

Photo Attribution

Steve Cooper

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