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What can impact electric car range?

As of August 2022, there were more than 530,000 battery-electric cars registered in the UK. But the distance an electric vehicles (EV) can cover is sometimes a concern for potential buyers.

What does electric car range mean?

Electric car range means how far an EV can travel on a full battery. While older EVs couldn’t travel far on a single charge, the same can’t be said for the latest models They can usually travel between 150-350 miles on a single charge. And most everyday journeys tend to be much shorter.

There are lots of factors that impact an EV’s range, such as your driving style and weather conditions. Let’s look at some of these in greater detail below. 

Factors that affect car range:


The slower you drive, the longer the EV range. When you accelerate in an electric car, the battery works harder. Driving slowly puts less stress on the battery and improves the electric car’s efficiency. The key is to extend the range, by drivinge smoothly.

Battery condition

The older a battery is, the less effective it is at full charge, as it loses capacity over time. This typically means a brand-new car with a new battery will have a longer range than an older EV with an old battery. Most batteries are covered by manufacturer warranties for up to 8 years and while batteries do degrade, this tends to be minimal.

Car weight

If you’re loading your EV with many passengers or a heavy cargo, you could be lowering your car range. Moving a heavy weight requires more energy from the battery, and increases a vehicle’s rolling resistance – a force that resists forward motion. This is no different to a petrol or diesel car.

Always make sure tyres are correctly inflated, and the electric car is maintained to get the best efficiency, even when carrying cargo.

Driving conditions

Most EV batteries are made from lithium, cobalt and nickel, to make what’s called a lithium-ion battery. When it’s cold and temperatures are low, the ions or atoms in the battery, struggle to move around quickly, which reduces the car’s range.

If you’re driving an EV in winter and need to put the heating on, you’ll be using the battery, and again, reducing your EV range. The same is true when you switch on air-con in summer. 

What happens if an electric car runs out of charge?

If an electric car battery runs out of charge, the vehicle will stop running. However, EVs warn you when the battery is low so you should have enough time to stop and charge. The speed will also reduce to conserve electricity when the battery is almost empty.

To avoid an EV from quickly running out of charge, and to extend its range, there are a few things you can try:

  1. drive smoothly and at a slow pace when suitable
  2. make sure tyres are in good condition
  3. turn on air-con and heating when needed
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