An (Actual) Idiot’s Guide To Driving An Electric Car

As Car Throttle's resident non-car person, I've had all sorts of stupid questions to ask about EVs. Here they all are, plus the answers
An (Actual) Idiot’s Guide To Driving An Electric Car

I’ve been driving the Skoda Enyaq iV 80 82 kWh SportLine for the last few months, replacing the Karoq I ran previously. Before this, I hadn’t really driven an electric car and I certainly hadn’t lived with one. I felt pretty overwhelmed when I first took it in, and seemed to have an endless amount of questions for any poor soul I spoke to who happen to have an EV.

Thankfully, electric car drivers seem to be awfully helpful, and Google certainly helps fill in a few blanks. But so you don’t have to go through the same thing, here are all of the ridiculous questions I came up with and the answers I found, so you don’t have to ask them yourself.

How do you plug an electric car in?

When I first got the Enyaq - my biggest concern was how will I charge it. I thought it was going to be a relatively complex task. But, of course, I’m an idiot. You open a flap, take the charger from its holder, and plug it in. That’s it.

That said, some charge points can have some overly-complicated payment system and it’s frustrating how many different electricity suppliers there are.

An (Actual) Idiot’s Guide To Driving An Electric Car

Is the Skoda Enyaq quicker off the line?

Definitely - the torque delivery is instantaneous and particularly with the Enyaq vRS I had for a week, it genuinely is very enjoyable to drive. More on that in a future update.

Can you charge off mains power?

I have charged off the mains but for me, it takes about eight hours to get 20 per cent of charge and it’s generally not recommended to charge from a domestic socket. The cable that comes with is about a metre short of going straight to my nearest mains power point so I’ve used an extension lead on the odd occasion I’ve charged at home. Really, if you’re buying an electric car, you should invest in a wallbox as well.

What’s the danger zone (percentage-wise) before you want to find a charging point?

It’s definitely a learning curve. When I’ve hit 20 per cent I’m on the lookout for chargers, and the lowest I’ve taken it to is 10 per cent, but I was relatively comfortable doing that.

An (Actual) Idiot’s Guide To Driving An Electric Car

Should you aim for big services to charge?

Generally, the big services seem to have the faster chargers but sometimes you do have to wait, and that’s where I’ve had to learn about the electric car charging etiquette. (More on that in a future update). Pease Pottage is one I’ve visited often and usually, I get a space quite quickly and the Enyaq can charge much much faster.

How can you find charge points?

The Zap-Map app is extremely useful. I don’t find it’s up to date with chargers being in use but it shows local chargers and how many charge points there are.

Can you see the level of the charge if the car isn’t near you?

The MySkoda app is great and means you can be away from the car and check in to see how long left you have to charge.

An (Actual) Idiot’s Guide To Driving An Electric Car

Do you add time to your journey if you know you’re going somewhere a bit further?

Generally, yes. As I don’t have a wallbox and if I’m going 75+ miles I’ll add another 45 minutes to an hour onto my journey at the beginning to charge at a fast charger before I set off on my journey. If I’m just pootling around town, then no. On that subject, the Enyaq is great to drive around town, thanks largely to the regenerative braking.

Does the weather affect the battery?

Big time. In the summer months, I’ve probably been getting around 20-30 per cent more range on the longer, 100-mile journeys I’ve been making.

An (Actual) Idiot’s Guide To Driving An Electric Car

Is range anxiety a thing?

For me, I don’t think so. I’m never worried that I’m going to run out of battery in the Enyaq, but I have become more mindful, perhaps, and maybe check the remaining mileage more so than if I was driving a petrol car.

Worst-case scenario, what happens if you run out? Can roadside recovery charge you back up?

I don’t think I want to learn what happens if you run out of charge. I would say, if you get to 20 per cent charge remaining, start looking for a charge point. It should be possible to be recovered to the nearest charge point, but only by a recovery vehicle that can get all four of the car’s wheels off the ground. In any case, it doesn’t seem worth risking leaving the charge getting too low.

There you have it - everything you need to know about driving an electric car. Stay tuned on for more updates with my Skoda Enyaq longtermer!


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