Written by Robyn Keet
In line with our commitment to the Belgian Alliance for Climate Action, BrightWolves is tackling the biggest contributor to its GHG footprint: our fleet. While we are rolling out our mobility arrangements for the whole company, our junior Wolves received a Volkswagen ID3 in April 2021. With this article, we want to offer you some fun facts on the ID3 and electric vehicles in general while leaving you with some tips & tricks for your own EV journey.
Did you know EV’s exist for almost 200 years already?
You might think that electric vehicles are a brand new thing, but the first electric vehicle was invented in 1832. In the early 1900s, electric and hybrid vehicles were more popular than pure fuel ones. However, technological improvements in fuel cars left the EVs behind until fuel cars nearly reached market monopoly. Today the odds are changing as significant developments in battery technology have allowed EVs to make a comeback. In 2020, most car manufacturers saw their sales drop, yet sales for EVs and hybrids increased. The market for new cars contracted by 24% while the European sales of electrically-chargeable vehicles increased by 143%.
How does driving an EV work? Tips & tricks on the range, charging and maintenance.
Facts and tips for improving your range and battery lifetime.
As with fuel cars, the way you drive your vehicle has an important impact on how far you can go before fueling it again. For electric cars, more than just a light foot, other elements can also influence how far you can go. Here are some tips & tricks to increase your range:
1. Slow down and drive smoothly
Driving at high speeds will increase your battery usage, as will frequent acceleration. Why not try to use the cruise control feature to help you drive economically? For the ID3, the ideal highway speed is 120km/h. Additionally, the ID3 lets you recover part of the energy by using ‘driving mode B’ through regenerative braking.
2. Beware of the temperature
Excessive heating in winter or cooling in the summer will use up energy and reduce your range. When cooling/heating is necessary, adjust the temperature before leaving while your car is still connected to the energy grid. For the ID3, VW offers you an app where you can follow the charging speed and pre-heat or pre-cool your car.
In terms of battery lifetime, try to store your car somewhere you would enjoy the temperature as well. High and low temperatures are bad for the battery, even when it is not in use. Try to park your car in the shade during summer and in a garage during winter.
3. Choose an EV that is suited to your needs
Do you frequently drive a short distance, to and from work for example? In that case, the range of your car might be less important than for someone who regularly travels long distances. Pick a vehicle type that suits your day-to-day needs, rather than the need for that one long-distance trip you make in the summer.
Tips for charging your EV.
1. Plan your charging moment: charge soon enough and not too much
Keeping your car plugged in can reduce your battery lifespan. Indeed, the more time a battery spends at its full charge capacity, the quicker it will deteriorate. Therefore, try to only charge your car up to 80% if your daily travels allow it. Next, be careful not to let the battery go to 0% either. Lastly, avoid using fast chargers when possible, as they also decrease the lifespan of your battery. When you can spare the extra 10 min charging time, use a medium charging station and leave the fast chargers for emergencies.
2. Plan your trip and benefit optimally from your charging time
When traveling long distances, plan where you want to stop. Use this stop to recharge both your car’s batteries as well as your own batteries. Grab a bite or a coffee, call a friend or family member, read the news or stretch your legs for a few minutes.
3. Use apps to find the best charging locations
On busy days, you will want to be sure that you can easily find a charging station. Luckily, many apps to locate charging stations exist. A few good apps in Europe are PlugShare, Chargemap, Chargepoint, NextCharge, and Greenlots. Make sure your charging card connects to the charging station, which depends on the collaboration between the different charging station platform. If you want a charging card that can be used at any station, pick EVBox, ICU, NewMotion or Plugsurfing. Finally, make sure to check the type of outlet. In Europe, most cars and thus most charging stations will have a type 2 outlet, whereas American and Japanese cars will have type 1 sockets.
4. Charging your EV at home is always cheaper
Depending on your energy provider, you will be able to charge your EV at about 0.2-0.3 €/kWh. At a public charger, the prices start around 0.30€/kWh and can go up to 0.7€/kWh for fast-chargers5. However, be careful when charging at home, as it requires a separate charging cable that does not overheat your circuits.
Facts about maintenance and repair
Electric motors are much more efficient than diesel and gasoline cars. Cars with a combustion engine manage to use around 22% of the energy present in the fuel, while in EVs 70% of the energy in the battery is transferred directly to power the car. As this is all performed with minimal moving parts, less maintenance to the engine is required. Even the breaks get worn out more slowly as regenerative braking can be used to slow down while recharging the battery.
Fun fact about this efficiency: it makes an EV very silent. This means that you do not hear the car when it approaches or even when you turn it on, and that can be disturbing! Therefore, some car manufacturers are considering adding a bit of noise to the car for safety reasons.
Finally, some fun facts on our ID3’s
Volkswagen uniquely reduces the footprint of its ID3 by looking at the whole product life cycle.
It seems logical that the use-phase of an EV produces fewer greenhouse gasses than an internal combustion car, especially when the car is charged with sustainably-sourced energy. When assessing the total impact of both car types, however, their whole life cycle is essential: production and recycling after use need to be incorporated as well. Polestar made this very clear, showing that while the battery production for an EV makes its manufacturing phase a bit more polluting, choosing the right electricity sources to charge your car will reduce its total life cycle footprint by 50% compared to a fuel car .
Like Polestar, Volkswagen is making a strong move towards a more environmental friendly car industry. The ID3 is the first Volkswagen with a carbon-neutral manufacturing process. They reduce the CO2 emissions wherever possible by using 100% of green energy in the vehicle production, promoting 100% green energy in the manufacturing of their battery cells and compensating the areas of their supply chain where emissions are unavoidable. During the use phase, VW is promoting their partner, Elli, who supplies green energy for everyone looking to recharge their ID3. Finally, VW is investing in the recycling of the cars after their use to close the loop.
It ticks all the boxes of a good EV, while adding some fun features for its user
To conclude this article, we want to mention a few fun trinkets we have noticed about our ID3 cars. For starters, when you open the ID3, it says ‘Hello’ by flickering its lights. Inside the car, another light feature called ID-light helps you navigate by showing you in which direction to turn at a crossroads. The ID3 also analyses your driving behavior and uses this information to tell you how far you can still drive with your current battery capacity. The navigation system will even show you the area on the map which you can still reach. Finally, the WeConnect app connects you to your car at any moment, allowing you to follow its charging status, temperature, etc .
Do you want to know more about fleet electrification or how the wolves are enjoying their new ID3, feel free to reach out!