Operating a car requires energy, regardless of whether your engine is powered by gasoline, electricity, or a combination of the two. Thus, some important practices for making your hybrid or electric vehicle more efficient are the same as those you would use for any other type of car.
Some such practices include reading the manual, reducing drag, and braking gradually. However, the reason for braking gradually in a hybrid car is not the same as the reason for braking gradually in a gas-powered car. When you brake in a hybrid car, the car can collect the energy that would have been used to keep you moving forward. This energy can be used to help power the car.
There are also some fuel-saving methods specific to hybrid and electric cars, including:
Using Economy Mode
Your hybrid or electric car may have a button that changes the way you're using your car in order to reduce the amount of energy the car is using. The economy modes in different types of cars may affect your car's function in different ways - in some cars, pressing the eco button may affect your car's acceleration or heating and cooling systems, for instance - but the overall effect is an improvement in the car's fuel economy.
Keeping The Battery Charged
If your electric or hybrid car plugs in, it's good to try to keep its battery charged to the level recommended by your car's manufacturer (check your car's owner's manual to see what percentage of battery charge they recommend as optimal for the car).
Having a charged battery generally leads to increased fuel efficiency, so you won't have to stop to charge your electric car as frequently or, in the case of hybrids, have to rely as strongly on your gasoline supply, thus saving you money, according to fueleconomy.gov.
Using Heating and Cooling Systems Wisely
As with gas-powered cars, using the heating and air conditioning systems in hybrid and electric cars often impacts the fuel efficiency of the car.
Again, any time you tell your car to do something, it will need to use more energy to do it, whether that means using the battery or using gasoline.
Thus, it is a good idea to try to conserve energy when you can, sometimes rolling down the windows to cool the car, sometimes using the air conditioner (it's often a good idea to use the air conditioner when you're traveling on the highway, to reduce drag).
However, for cars that you plug in to recharge, it can be a good idea to cool the car down before you unplug and depart. Doing so will help you conserve your car's energy while you're on the road, so you won't have to recharge too soon.
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