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As pioneers in the EV landscape, we have empowered hundreds of businesses and thousands of individuals over the years to make informed choices about the transition to electric vehicles and the most common question we get asked is how, when, and where to charge your EV.
And there’s a tonne of information out there about every aspect of charging. It’s a topic we’ve previously discussed in various articles and webinars. Everything you need to know about the different types of chargers, how long cars take to charge, whether you should fast or slow charge and many more topics are covered in depth.
But what about the stuff they don’t tell you about driving an EV? As many of us have found at Greenarc Vehicles, when you take delivery of your first EV, you begin a voyage of discovery with all the features you didn’t know about or expect. And the best thing is that they’re all awesome, innovative additions to make your driving experience a dream.
So, we’ve compiled some of the things nobody told you to expect about your first EV.
One of the most popular features you’ll find in electric vehicles is regenerative braking. The more technical explanation is that it works by using the car’s own kinetic energy (like an F1 car’s KERS system, if you’re into that kind of thing) as it slows down to recharge its battery, thus extending the car’s range.
Simply put, whenever you brake, you charge your battery a bit. It also helps reduce wear and tear on the car’s brakes, making them last longer than a traditional combustion engine. It can actually become a bit of a game as, at the end of your journey, you get an on-screen display showing how much you gained.
Taking regenerative braking a step further is the e-pedal which allows you to press down on the accelerator pedal to accelerate and release it to slow down or stop completely. All EVs have a separate accelerator and brake pedal, like a standard automatic ICE car. But you can turn your accelerator into an e-pedal by simply switching on the feature. While activated, you only use the one pedal to stop or go. It takes a little getting used to, but once you’re familiar with it, you won’t want to go back.
Heated Steering Wheel and Seats
Automakers usually provide heated steering wheels and seats in their EVs. They’re beneficial during cold winter when it’s hard enough to get out of bed, let alone get into a cold car. But there is another purpose, specifically with EVs in mind.
As we all know, the heating system in an ICE car uses the heat generated from the engine to pump warm air into the cabin. However, an EV can’t do that as there’s no engine to heat up, and creating warm air from cold using electric systems is a drain on the battery.
So the clever bods in the EV design teams worked out that all people want is a warm body. Therefore, let’s focus on that rather than heating the entire cabin, where most of it will be wasted. As such, the heated seats and steering wheel give you all the warmth you need to be comfortable without draining the battery too much.
Single Screen Display
One of the biggest surprises from stepping into a Tesla is the sparsity of the dashboard. We’re so used to mountains of switches and dials that the sight of a single screen is odd.
But it’s not just the Tesla. Most modern electric cars have all their systems run from one central screen located on the dashboard or centre console.
Everything you need, including navigation, climate control settings, audio settings and other controls that would usually be scattered around multiple knobs or buttons inside the cabin of a traditional ICE-powered vehicle, is on that single display.
No Paper Manual
It might seem like a silly point, but there is often no hard copy manual supplied with an EV. Everything is online or in an accompanying smartphone app. It kind of makes sense that it’s easier to search through an app to find out how to turn the windscreen wipers on, but there’s something reassuring about that folder you always get with a manual and spare key. Speaking of which…
Yep. Apparently, drivers don’t need keys anymore – they use cards or phones instead! With this feature, simply walk up with your key fob or phone near the door handle, and it will unlock automatically as long as it’s close enough. It’s weird at first and takes away that special moment when the dealer hands you the keys to your new car. But, again, you get used to it quickly and realise it’s perfect for those times when your hands are full carrying shopping bags or luggage.
Electric vehicle manufacturers seem to have a minor obsession with cameras. Hit reverse in a Tesla, and you can see practically every inch of your car in high-definition. Joking apart, they are a serious benefit for your safety and other road users. Blind spots are a thing of the past, and the multiple sensors warn you of any potential collision. Put it this way, there are definitely no excuses for reversing into a bollard any more. You’d have to actively try to hit something in an EV.
Over The Air Software Updates
This feature comes as a real surprise. Most models come with over-the-air software updates, which allow them to receive new features automatically through their onboard Wi-Fi connection without having anything installed by hand. So it’s a bit odd when you park your car up and plug it in at home one evening, then, the following day, you have new features all setup and ready to go. But it’s a pleasant surprise when it happens.
Remote Starting To Preheat Or Cool The Car Interior
Remote starting technology has been around since before electric vehicles, but now manufacturers have enabled drivers to start their cars remotely using apps on their smartphones. This means that drivers can preheat or cool down their interior before they even set foot inside – perfect for those cold mornings when all you want to do is jump into a nice cosy car after stepping out into freezing temperatures outside.
EVs are quiet. Dead quiet. With no engine, the only thing you hear is the tyres on the road. And in the cabin, it can feel eerily quiet sometimes. So, some cars have options to select the noise level heard inside the car while driving so drivers can choose between quiet mode, total silence or simulated engine noises.
Interestingly, a lot of development is being conducted into creating immersive soundscapes for EV interiors, so it’ll be fascinating to see what happens. Fingers crossed for some Star Wars sound effects.
Electric vehicles are masterpieces of modern technology and will only become more tech-heavy as they evolve. Already the standard features overshadow the top-end ICE car and bring a new level of enjoyment to driving. With the experience becoming more like driving a computer, we can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.
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