Bringing our first all-electric vehicle home in frigid winter conditions went smoothly for us in 2011. Our dealer was just one suburb away, and our Nissan Leaf hatchback’s limited range didn’t dent our euphoria, especially as my wife hadn’t yet ever driven a pure electric car. But we did need some pre-planning to ensure our giddy, new vehicle enthusiasm wasn’t dashed by that dreaded EV range anxiety.
A key part about owning a BEV is learning how much it lies to you. Or more charitably, how well it estimates how far it can travel given different scenarios and factors – including temperature, distance and terrain. That’s why many owners call the expected range a “guess-ometer.” It’s also why many BEV buyers will look for a vehicle that offers a battery range double the true distance they think they will need, especially in winter.
You will want to consider a few things before you head to the dealership to pick up your vehicle and drive it home. Are you picking it up during a cold snap (- 10 C or lower) or a snowstorm? How far away is the dealership and is there a major elevation change? Are you bringing the kids or the whole family along with you?
While some of these factors have nothing to do with the performance of the BEV, they can potentially decrease the number of kilometres your BEV can travel. Add to that the fact the vehicle might not be at full charge when you take ownership, and you aren’t off to a good start. This happens with new EVs more than you think. Even the battery in high-range vehicles automobile journalists get to test drive are not always fully charged when picked up.
It may seem simple, and perhaps unnecessary, but a quick phone call to your dealer to plug in your new BEV well before you arrive may be all the planning you need to ensure a super smooth and stress-free initial drive home.
Michael Bettencourt bought his first EV in late 2011 and has followed the Canadian EV scene ever since. Follow him on Twitter @MCBet10court