It can be tough to be an EV driver if you don’t know much about EVs. Here are some of the awful (but very avoidable) things that a novice EV driver can do wrong:
- Overcharging the battery: EV drivers who overcharge their vehicle’s batteries can reduce their battery life and damage the vehicle’s electrical systems. So, it’s a good idea to charge to 75-90% when possible.
- Running out of battery: New EV drivers may not have a clear understanding of the range of their vehicle and can end up stranded when they run out of power.
- Trusting the onboard range estimator: The range estimate displayed by an EV’s onboard computer can be influenced by several factors, such as driving habits, weather, and terrain. Relying solely on these estimates can lead to running out unexpectedly.
- Not planning their routes: Unlike petrol-powered cars, it is not always easy to find a charging station at the last minute. EV drivers need to plan their routes before setting out to ensure they have enough power to reach their destination. Additionally, factors like terrain and speed must be considered in route planning (usually by software) to avoid problems.
- Using inefficient charging stations: Not all charging stations are the same. Using a Level 2 charging station on a road trip can slow down the charging process and result in unnecessary delays. Some EV infotainment systems aren’t programmed to send you to the fastest charging stations.
Educating new EV drivers about these key factors can help them become more informed and confident drivers, which could ensure the success of their transition to electric vehicles, and the success of the industry at large. So, it’s good to see some recent announcements by Kia America about its educational efforts.
One way Kia America is going to step up its educational efforts is by making a comeback to Electrify Expo, a nationwide tour that brings together industry leaders to discuss the future of mobility. On May 19, the tour will kick off in Long Beach, California, where attendees can test drive Kia’s award-winning EV6 and GT models, along with the highly accoladed Niro EV. Moreover, attendees will get a glimpse of Kia’s first fully dedicated three-row EV SUV, the all-new EV9. Kia is excited to exhibit its innovative electric vehicles at five Electrify Expo 2023 events in Long Beach, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Miami.
“Electrify Expo is the premiere gathering for top companies and executives in electrification to share knowledge and discuss how we’ll continue to work toward a seamless transition to all-electrified vehicles,” said Steven Center, COO & EVP, Kia America. “The 2022 Electrify Expo events were invaluable for our team to learn more about consumer attitudes toward electrification. We look forward to collaborating with our industry colleagues to help chart the best path forward and shape the future of the automotive industry.”
Industry leaders and attendees alike will converge to discuss crucial topics relevant to the electric vehicle industry. Attendees can expect to dive into legislative concerns surrounding EVs, such as range anxiety and sustainability, charging infrastructures, supply chain obstacles, as well as the future of autonomous driving. For more information and a complete list of sessions and presenters, please visit www.electrifyexpo.com.
Another way Kia has stepped up on education is its new EV Education 101 video series. The series breaks down common EV ownership topics, like charging infrastructure, technology, range, maximizing battery life, terminology, and even planning road trips. Kia’s goal is to make EV ownership an easy, stress-free and enjoyable experience for all.
Let’s take a look at the series!
One really good thing the Kia team starts with is the very basics of what an EV even is, along with how it differs from hybrids and plugin hybrids. While brands like Toyota have played games with “Self Charging” EVs in the past, Kia is trying to be fully honest here, so people will know what they’re getting into.
They also get into basic EV terms, like range. Again, these are the very basics that some people might not understand.
In another video, they get into the basics of charging. They start with the levels of EV charging, and they classify them according to the SAE system (Level 1, Level 2, and DCFC). They get into the importance of setting charging times, and the importance of planning ahead. They mention that you might need different apps to charge at different stations. While it’s a little iffy to include this, they explain that regenerative braking is a form of charging.
Several other videos go deeper into home charging, public charging, and the physics of battery packs.
One thing I wanted to make sure they covered was some of the EV charging etiquette at public stations. After explaining how to find stations and be ready to use them, they got into how to start a charge session, but they didn’t explain important things like choosing an appropriate stall or not charging fully to 100% unless you really need to do so.
Trip planning is another area where I think they really dropped the ball. They did mention that luggage and weight can reduce range, but failed to mention the possible effects of terrain, speeds, and weather. They made it sound like you can just find stations along your route, which could leave people thinking you can actually go 310 miles in one of the Kia EVs they show.
Overall, I think this was a great first effort, but it left some key educational things out that could get EV drivers into trouble and inconvenience other drivers who think they’ve learned all that they need to know. So, as EV advocates, we’re going to have to keep up our educational efforts!
It’s also probably a good idea for us to keep reaching out to manufacturers and dealers to make sure they aren’t leaving important things out for new driver training. They might be afraid of overwhelming new drivers with too much information or making EVs sound too hard, but leaving important things out leads to poor expectations that could hinder their efforts regardless.
Featured image provided by Kia.
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