From the outside your electric car will look very similar to any other car on the road, the differences lie under the bonnet. Whereas there are broadly the same to drive you will notice that there are some noticeable differences in the driving experience.
Firstly there is no gearbox in the traditional sense, your accelerator is linked more directly to the speed that your vehicle travels as it links directly to the electric motors which drives the wheels rather than controlling the speed of the engine which via the gearbox translates to the motive power.
It means that driving an electric vehicle will give you a greater freedom when you drive than you may be used to. This is driving in its purest form where you have an instant response, a linear and continuous acceleration and no longer have to worry about revs, clutch or gears!
Regen braking is a phrase you may hear when you start to look at electric vehicles. It relates to the ability for the vehicle to harvest energy when you slow down the vehicle.
Regen braking turns some of the kinetic energy from the wheels movement back into electrical energy which is stored in the battery. It basically turns the motor on the wheel into a dynamo so that it works in reverse with the energy being used top up your battery, this action slows your car without having to apply the full breaks.
The process may seem highly complex, however it is managed automatically by the on-board computer allowing you to add range to your journey even without additional charging. It is just another way in which electric vehicles are so efficient.
Torque, in a petrol or diesel car is the pulling power of your engine and this depends on the engine and gearing. To reach full torque in a traditional vehicle takes time to build up (and often a number of gear changes!).
An electric vehicle has the torque, or the physical pulling power, instantly available. When you push your accelerator the power is there, push it more and you go faster! It gives you a feeling of direct contact with the motor..
City driving is a dream with an electric vehicle, from the obvious benefit of zero emissions to near silent running with instant acceleration when you need to nip into a gap in traffic or easily squeeze into a parking space. The direct acceleration and instant torque make city driving less stressful and tiring.
Range is not an issue in the city as you have shorter driving distances and there will always be a convenient charging point you can use.
You will often hear of the range of your electric vehicle, this is the number of miles you can travel on your battery charge before you have to stop to recharge. You will find that there are charging points across the UK and the number of fast charging points is increasing, however you may need to plan ahead a little more than you would with a traditional vehicle.
Consider having a break about every 150 miles, this will let you top up your charge but will also allow you to take proper rest breaks yourself and arrive more relaxed and less stressed!
Your electric vehicle has a range meter allowing you to always see accurately how much range you have left and there are apps which allow you to find your nearest charging point at motorway service stations, destinations such as shopping malls and supermarkets and car parks.