A side view of a parked VW car

How do you drive an electric car in an eco-friendly way?

Electric mobility offers benefits in terms of your carbon footprint and efficiency. Here, we share with you some interesting ideas and suggestions for energy-saving driving in your electric car.

Electric cars: environmentally conscious mobility

  • About 8 percent of energy is lost in the grid.
  • Electric cars are between 70 and 80 percent efficient.
  • Careful, anticipatory driving can reduce the power consumed when you drive your electric car.

Electric cars are on-trend right now. Climate change, CO2 fleet specifications for cars, and low emission zones in urban areas: switching from a car with a combustion engine to a car with an electric motor is essential. Battery-powered electric cars drive without CO2 emissions, only emit an artificial noise, and offer another crucial benefit: considerably better efficiency.

But how does the power reach the battery? On average, only 8 percent of energy is lost as what is known as transmission losses. This is when energy is transported along power lines and charging stations to the electric car, for instance, due to the power lines heating up. Another 18 percent is lost in the form of friction and heating losses, and also as internal motor air resistance when the electrical energy is converted to drive the electric motor. This means that the efficiency of a battery-powered electric car is between 70 and 80%. This is much better than petrol or diesel engines, which are only between 25 and 40% efficient.

High efficiency: an average of only 8% is lost when transporting power from the site of generation to the electric car.

Good for the carbon footprint

Although approximately 1.5 times as much CO2 is generated in the production of an electric car as in the production of a combustion engine vehicle, Volkswagen electric cars, like the ID.3 or ID.4, are net carbon-neutral when they are handed over to the customer2. How does this work? 100 percent green electricity is used for the production of the battery cells and in the production of all ID. vehicles. CO2 emissions, which nevertheless occur, are offset by climate protection projects. This is good for the carbon footprint3 of a vehicle. If the driver then charges their vehicle with green electricity, they will be further reduce their carbon footprint with every mile driven.

A road sign depicting an electric car
Electric pylons

How do I drive in an eco-friendly way?

We've heard it all before when we were learning to drive: eco-friendly driving means rapidly changing up to a higher gear to then keep the revs as low as possible. These ideas are just as outdated in the age of electric mobility as the idea of switching off your engine when the level crossing barrier is down. But behind the steering wheel, the driver's driving style plays a key role. The energy consumption of an electric car depends on several factors. As well as good aerodynamics, the elimination of unnecessary weight, and intelligent air conditioning, an adapted driving style is the most important. However, the good news is that energy-saving driving can be learned! Saving energy can even be fun with a little practice.

Key ideas and suggestions for energy-saving driving in your electric car:

  1. Use momentum and kinetic energy. If you see an obstacle, like a red traffic light, from afar, take your foot off the accelerator as early as possible! The vehicle can then roll slowly to a standstill without obstructing any traffic behind. This is known as 'coasting' with electric cars. It is pre-set in the D (Drive) mode of Volkswagen electric cars. Coasting also makes sense as you approach a bend or a roundabout. As soon as the driver goes from the accelerator to the brake, or has activated B (Brake) mode, the electric motor acts as a generator converting kinetic energy into electrical energy – and the electric car decelerates. The deceleration energy gained by the recuperation function is fed to the battery, thereby increasing its range. Only when the driver needs to decelerate more quickly does the electric brake servo activate the wheel brakes.
  2. Careful, anticipatory driving, maintaining distance: Careful, anticipatory driving and efficient driving are linked. Instead of being guided by the driving behaviour of the vehicle ahead, every car driver should adopt their driving style in a relaxed manner. Here's an example: if you maintain a sufficient distance from the vehicle ahead, you will not need to apply the brake immediately as soon as the brake lights of the vehicle in front come on briefly. What's more, powerful acceleration and abrupt braking increase energy consumption as well as wear and tear on the car. Volkswagen electric cars all use navigation data and vehicle sensors to regulate energy recuperation and help the driver to drive efficiently and stress-free.
  3. Remove ballast and unused attachments: Let us remember the law of inertia in physics. All weight carried in the car needs to be moved as well and then maintained at that speed. You can easily avoid the additional energy required for this: get rid of unnecessary ballast! Attachments on the vehicle (e.g. roof racks or bike racks) considerably increase the air resistance and should preferably not be driven around when not in use. Another hint for energy-saving driving: open windows and sliding roofs also cause a measurable increase in energy consumption – even at speeds of just 50 mph.
  4. Intelligent (pre)conditioning: The air conditioning system and other comfort consumers, such as heated seats, increase the car's power consumption on the move. Every electric car loves being parked in a garage. To increase range, it is also worth using stationary air conditioning to adjust the interior of the vehicle to your preferred temperature before you set off on hot and on cold days – provided the electric car is connected to the charging station or wall box. This can also be done remotely at your convenience using a relevant smartphone app.
  5. Regularly check your tyre pressure: Not enough air pressure in the tyres massively increases rolling resistance and leads to higher energy consumption. If you note the manufacturer's instructions and check the tyre pressure regularly, you will be doing everything correctly and will use less electricity on every journey.

Do you want to see how eco-friendly your driving can be in real life in an electric car? Our Online ConfiguratorOpens an external link allows you to build your perfect electric car.

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Important information :

^If you are selecting a Volkswagen ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 or ID.7 then prices shown are the MDP (Manufacturer's Direct Price).  This is the price set by Volkswagen which you pay for the vehicle.  Volkswagen ID vehicles are sold by Volkswagen UK, a trading division of Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Limited (please note that you will need to visit an authorised Volkswagen Retailer (acting as agent for Volkswagen UK) to order, purchase and take delivery of your Volkswagen ID vehicle).  The MDP includes delivery to an authorised Volkswagen Retailer (acting as agent for Volkswagen UK), number plates, new vehicle registration fee, the first year's Vehicle Excise Duty and VAT (calculated at 20%).  You can find out more about the Volkswagen model for selling ID vehicles by clicking https://www.volkswagen.co.uk/en/legal/mdp-explained.html.

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