You know your drivers can drive, but how often have they started up an unfamiliar vehicle and turned on the wipers instead of indicators? Stalled because they forgot the ute at work has a clutch? Couldn’t find the button to open the boot?
It happens more than we (yes, we do it too) would like to admit, which is why preparing your drivers for electric vehicles is so important. The look and feel of their new vehicle makes for a more pleasant journey, but are your drivers ready?
Train the right stuff
Don’t wait for bad habits to set in - prepare your drivers to succeed!
We have identified the following three aspects of EV training that should be addressed before you introduce new vehicles into your fleet.
• Driving/charging etiquette
• Efficient driving
• Practical driving
All the usual considerate driver traits that apply when driving an internal combustion engine (ICE) apply when driving an EV. However, one major difference is how quiet the ride is. This means drivers should be aware that other road users may not ‘notice’ them when they are out driving – pedestrians especially.
Then there is the basic etiquette around charging stations. From ‘charging, not parking’, to unplugging other people’s vehicles, and apps to help you find charging stations or check on charging progress, this is likely to be new ground for your drivers.
As mentioned in our last blog, range anxiety is a real thing – efficient driving of an EV will help get the best range from any vehicle.
The social, environmental and financial benefits of driving a BEV is a discussion worth having early in process of change, and efficient driving just increases those advantages. All positive reasons the transition to electric vehicles just makes sense!
Learning more about a practical task before undertaking it makes the experience so much more enjoyable, not to mention safer. Teaching someone how to lock the blade on a chainsaw before you send them up the tree helps, as does knowing it is extremely loud for the first part of a skydive. In a more mundane setting, knowing the symbols on the dishwasher means clean dishes, using less water, in the shortest amount of time.
With that in mind, some of the practical driving characteristics to make your drivers aware of before getting into an EV include:
• There is only one gear. Once in ‘drive’ there isn’t a transmission system changing gears to speed up or slow down.
• Accelerating is quick. Because of the ‘no gears’, as soon as the pedal is pressed, the vehicle will accelerate!
• And the reverse of that is as soon as the accelerator is no longer engaged the re-generative (re-gen) braking system kicks in. There is no coasting, the vehicle actively starts to decelerate.
• Following on from that, depending on the vehicle’s settings, brake lights may come on when the accelerator is disengaged as the vehicle is technically ‘braking’.
• Make sure your drivers are aware of what settings the re-gen braking is on. In most BEV’s drivers can choose how heavy or light the re-gen braking is, which affects how the car responds.
• Some EV’s ‘creep’ in drive and reverse, as an ICE does when in first gear. But some don’t. Prevent those slow speed and reversing incidents by making sure your drivers know what their vehicle will do.
One last major shift in thinking when driving a BEV - everything uses power. Running all the extra’s in an ICE vehicle uses battery, while the engine still turns over. Running everything in the BEV uses the same power as the engine… So, consider turning off the air conditioning, open the window and enjoy the safer, quieter, more pleasant journey!
Missed the first blog? Read more on how electrify your journey now!