How Fast Do In-Car Gadgets Drain EV Batteries?

Vanarama has conducted a study to find out which in-car features drain an EV battery the most so you can get the most miles from your EV. To help, they also provided top tips for conserving EV range. It’s an interesting point because many EV buyers aren’t really sure how far their pure EV cars will travel for in real world driving conditions – lights on, aircon or heating, radio, phone plugged in on charge etc.

Vanarama tested the battery drainage of 3 EV models (Hyundai Kona, VW ID.3, and Tesla Model 3) to determine how much the average EV battery drains when using different in-car features.

Testing for each feature was carried out individually at 70mph on a maximum setting, on a fully charged vehicle to see how much faster the EV battery drained when the feature was switched on. Therefore, these results show the maximum amount the average EVs battery could be drained by in-car features. 

Key findings:

  • Heating drains an EV battery faster than any other in-car feature increasing battery drain speed by 17%
  • Windscreen wipers and heated seats drain an EV battery 15% faster each
  • Satellite navigation drains the average EVs battery the slowest at only 5% faster
  • Driving at 70mph drains the average EV battery 68% faster than 30mph

5 Tips To Conserve EV Range

While the features we take for granted do impact on an EV’s battery showed by our findings – there’s nothing so dramatic that it should put anyone off taking their first steps into electric motoring.

1.       Drive slower – speed will affect EV range more than any car feature.

2.       Use heated seats instead of the cabin heater – EVs don’t get free waste heat from the engine so running heated seats should use less energy than the cabin heater.

3.       Utilise regenerative braking rather than friction braking – This uses the electric motor as a generator to send energy to the battery every time you lift off the accelerator or touch the brakes.

4.       Pre-plan your route – Driving at high speed for a long amount of time will drain your battery quicker. Instead, look for the most economical route on your satnav.

5.       Pre-condition the cabin temperature – When your EV is charging it is a good time to pre-condition the temperature of the cabin, so that all it has to do when you’re driving is maintain a set temperature.


Interesting to learn that in winter an EV battery pack will drain ultra fast with the heating on max, lights n wipers going full-tilt etc. Then there’s the question of battery lifespan. Anyone with a smartphone knows that after a few years your phone takes longer to charge up and it goes flatter faster. To the point where the phone is dead after a few hours use.

The same laws of physics underpin every car battery pack. The battery cannot keep building up the same 100% charge as it had when the car was new. The 80% charge will also drain quicker after say 5 years. What then, new battery pack for £3000? Who disposes of the old battery packs, what effect to the dumped rare minerals have on the environment long term? How do we generate extra electricity to the National Grid on a dead calm, wind-free winter day, to charge up 10 million vehicles for three hours, and who mines the cobalt, lithium and other minerals used to make the battery packs – slaves, child labour?

None of these questions are being answered by politicians or green activists with any credibility. But they do represent the TRUE cost in resources and human lives as the developed world embraces electric cars.

About alastair walker 12131 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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