Eco Safe Driving Increases EV Range

Eco Safe Driver training in electric car

Driving style has a big affect on EV range as well as fuel economy in a fossil fuelled car. Eco safe driving techniques can increase range showing an average improvement of over 11% with eco safe driver training.

As I sit writing this in Lockdown through the winter of late 2020 and early 2021, and unable to teach, I realise I’ve not been able to asses the true winter range of my 40kW Nissan Leaf as this would be it’s first winter with me.

I was reminded of some eco safe driver training I did for a large organisation last winter as social media has many EV users saying how much their range has dropped in the cold weather. This article has a summary of the results of that training showing how a few eco safe driving tricks can increase range.

Eco Safe Training

Eco safe driver training in an automatic electric car.

The training took place from November 2019 to March 2020 for a large organisation which had two 30kW Leafs as pool cars, which very few people used because they didn’t understand them. A lot of the trainees had never driven an automatic car which was a further barrier to acceptance of the EVs. Eco safe driving sessions based on The energy Savings Trust ecodriving techniques were used to introduce each of the trainees to EVs.

The training consisted of introducing the trainees to unplugging the car from the charger, a briefing about the car and automatic driving if they’d not encountered it before. Then a 4 mile drive incorporating urban roads and a stretch of motorway. We recorded the data from this run then introduced some eco safe driving concepts. Repeating the same 4 mile drive and recording the results to see if there was improvement. Finally the Leaf was plugged back into one of the onsite Pod Point chargers.

Eco Safe Driving Results

A total of 98 people were trained. These are the results showing the miles per kW achieved on the drives before and after the eco safe training.

 1st DriveEco Drive
Lowest Miles kW3.43.5
Highest Miles kW5.75.8
Average Miles kW4.24.7

Even on the first drive where most of the drivers hadn’t driven an EV before there was a large difference between the lowest and highest miles kW achieved. The highest being 5.7 miles kW in a Leaf in winter was remarkable, however, I could see this trainee had very good eco driving habits on the first drive. They still managed to increase it to 5.8 miles kW on the second drive.

All but one trainee increased their driving efficiency. The one that didn’t went from 5.4 mile kW to 5.0 miles kW. Even 5 miles kW is very efficient driving in a Leaf in winter.

For those of you reading this used to fossil fuelled cars, in EVs we measure the miles travelled for each kW of electricity much the same as miles per gallon in a fossil car.

For each of the trainees I did an exercise of comparing the saving to fuel costs in their own fossil cars.

 % Fuel savingAnnual Fuel CostsAnnual Fuel Saving
Lowest Fuel Saving-7.4
Greatest Fuel Saving31.7
Average Fuel11.811,200137

This organisation has a large fleet and asks staff to use pool cars rather than their own cars for work related journeys. An average saving of 11.81% by drivers changing driving habits would save them a lot of money. Driving the 30kW Leaf would result in another 10 to 15 miles range.

The greatest improvement was from 4.1 miles kW to 5.4 miles kW, 31.71%. This would give significant extra range in the Leaf if that driver was to use it.

Simply Increasing EV Range

These results show a few simple techniques can increase EV range significantly. When I train learners I teach eco safe driving from the start. Well, really it’s safe driving as safe driving is also economical driving, hence eco safe. My own driving habits are also eco safe. This has resulted in achieving a high range from both my previous 30kW Leaf and current 40kW Leaf. Even in December before Lockdown when the cold weather was taking hold my 40kW leaf was still indicating 165 mile range and achieving 4.4 miles kW.

Follow me on the social medias to look out for my next article about some eco safe driving tips and an accompanying video.