Driving tips to improve electric vehicle (EV) efficiency and save you money

A research study from Kia UK and the independent automotive training organisation, Motiv8, has shown that the average electric vehicle (EV) driver could save money by making simple changes to their driving style. 

The study reveals how drivers with no previous training can quickly adapt their driving style to increase the efficiency of an EV, improving range by up to a third. For the average festive season journey of 311 miles (500km), this could equate to a saving of between £7 and £16, depending on the charging location.

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Kia’s EV efficiency study was implemented following its comprehensive new research of 1,200 UK drivers which identified key concerns related to the cost-of-living crisis. 

It revealed that while 7 in 10 drivers agree that owning an EV has helped reduce the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on their household, with 52 per cent wishing they were more aware of ways they could adapt their driving style to minimise expenditure.

David Taylor, Director at Motiv8 International, said: “Kia has some of the most advanced EVs available on the market today, so were the perfect partner to test our efficiency methods. 

“The results speak for themselves; by changing simple inputs, drivers can easily optimise their vehicle’s efficiency and go further on a charge, save on recharging costs and reducing their energy use.

“This is Kia’s gift to EV drivers this festive season – easy techniques that anyone can apply to save money, as well as reduce demand on the national grid. With the average driver travelling 311 miles (500km) to visit friends and family, now is the perfect time to follow Kia’s tips and start saving.”

EV Efficiency Training

Kia selected the all-new fully electric Niro for the EV efficiency skills session because of its 285-mile range, two-wheel drive electrified powertrain, low drag co-efficient and smart regenerative braking system.

With batteries at 100 per cent and the available range noted, the independent drivers were invited to drive a route which included winding country roads, town driving and stretches of motorway. 

During the first cycle, they were free to drive in their usual style under the instructor’s observation. On return to the training centre, figures from Niro’s intuitive instrument cluster were recorded to indicate driving efficiency and available range for later comparison.

Motiv8 experts then analysed each driver’s habits and style for potential areas of improvement. Its tailored advice was given to maximising gains in efficiency before repeating the same route under detailed instruction. 

On completion of the second cycle, range and efficiency data were compared to reveal an average improvement of 33 per cent greater electric range across all participants.

Taylor added: “With the average home charge costing around 3p/kWh and public rapid charging at around 7p/kWh, it is easy to see where savings can be made. If you take the average improvement in the Kia study and extrapolate that over the UK average of 9,435 electric miles (115,184km) a year, an EV driver could save between £220 and £500 per annum.”

EV Driving Tips to Improve Efficiency

As a result of the training, Kia has compiled a list of the top five most helpful efficiency tips to help EV drivers save money:

  1. Go easy with the right foot – The instant torque of an EV is exhilarating, but it comes at a price. Up to 50 per cent of the energy powering a car goes into acceleration, so aggressive driving uses more energy.
  2. Lighten the load – Take the roof box off if you’re not using it and unload any unnecessary clutter.
  3. Momentum – Careful route planning to avoid jams will keep you moving. Sometimes the fastest way is not the most efficient way.
  4. Anticipate – Anticipating the traffic situation ahead will keep the car moving at a steady pace and use less energy than heavy slowing and acceleration
  5. Go slow and wham on the radio – Cutting your speed from 60mph to 50mph can improve efficiency by up to 15 per cent. 

These are simple tips that will help electric vehicle drivers save money and get the most from their zero emissions cars. 

Voice of the Customer

In Kia’s recent consumer survey, over 7 in 10 (71 per cent) respondents who already drive an electric or hybrid car agree that owning an electrified vehicle has helped them reduce the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on their household, with over a third (34 per cent) strongly agreeing. A significant 86 per cent of Londoners said the same.

The survey found 52 per cent said they wished they were aware of more ways to adapt their driving style to reduce battery consumption. Interestingly, this decreased with respondent age. 

Perhaps a reflection of the greater impact of the cost-of-living crisis on younger people, the 18 to 24 age group came out as those most likely to spend less on non-essentials so they can keep using their car as they always have.

As part of the survey, Kia asked if respondents would be interested in a service which offers discounts for access to multiple public charge-point providers, such as via a subscription charging solution. 

Three-quarters (75 per cent) replied positively to the concept, with a third (33 per cent) being very interested in such a scheme. It found 100 per cent of those polled in the North West were very interested, followed by 58 per cent of Londoners. This starkly contrasted with those in the South West, who responded as not very interested (47 per cent).

Earlier in the year, a Kia survey found UK driving behaviours are changing with a sway towards electrified vehicles due to the cost of living crisis. With the cost of fuel so high and environmental factors at the forefront of many people’s minds, more UK drivers are considering switching to electrified and all-electric vehicles. The survey found 37 per cent are now using their car less for short urban journeys and 37 per cent have instead taken to walking or cycling where possible.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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