Renault offers tips to maximize range for electric cars

The Renault ZOE is offered only in Europe, but it is a close cousin to the Nissan LEAF available in the US. Renault has put together an informative video that shows drivers how to maximize range for electric cars.

For many people, maximizing range is not a major concern during daily driving, such as commuting. But for longer trips, it may be important to know how to maximize range in order not to get stuck with a discharged battery along the way.

Most of the tips are the same common sense ideas drilled into us all during driver training, especially avoiding repeated full acceleration starts. The ZOE has a convenient dashboard display that stays green when the driver is conserving electric power but turns yellow when the accelerator pedal is being used to liberally.

The second major piece of advice in the video is to drive at moderate speeds. Wind resistance increases with the square of speed. What does that mean? Simply this. If you double your speed, wind resistance goes up by a factor of 4. In other words, it takes 4 times as much power to push your car through the air at 80 mph than it does at 40.

Third, Renault suggests taking advantage of regenerative braking to put electricity back into the battery while slowing. Many electric car drivers get so good at doing this, they seldom use the brakes at all.

Finally, Renault recommends “preconditioning” your electric car so that the cabin gets heated or cooled to the ideal temperature while the car is still connected to the battery charger. Heating and cooling systems in an electric car sap a lot of the battery’s energy. You can use your smartphone to set the temperature you want it before you begin your trip. That way, you can start off in comfort and with a fully charged battery.

One interesting thing here is that the ZOE now has 149 miles of range. That’s quite a bit more than the LEAF, which only has 88 miles of range. Is that a clue that the LEAF will have more range soon?

Posted by Steve Hanley

Steve Hanley is a car nut and Formula One addict who occasionally drives his Mazda MX-5 on track at HPDE events. He has been known to drive to Nova Scotia just to see the lupins in bloom or to Watkins Glen for a weekend of historic racing. He writes about automobiles, technology and travel from his home in Rhode Island.

  1. Your last paragraph is quite interesting. Is the Zoe battery pack larger than the Leaf or is the difference more a result of the difference in EPA and European range rating tests and vehicle weight? A simple addition of comparing battery size and weight would clarify a lot. Thanks for your article.


    1. I don’t know the answer to your question, Jim, but I was intrigued that the ZOE has so much more range than the LEAF.

      It is hard today to compare range from one car to another or one country to another because there are so many standards of measurement. But I think we can infer that the LEAF will be getting more range soon.

      Thank you for your comment.


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