Live blog: how quickly does an EV battery run down?

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I have a Smart ED on test this week and it has an 88% full battery showing a 50-mile range.

I’m now going to drive up the M6 to Cannock, to pick up a sewing machine for my good lady (as you do).

Cannock is about 14 miles away.

Unless I do something glaringly wrong, there won’t be any range anxiety here (the overtaking lane is very much out of bounds). But just how much energy do you use up when driving an EV in very real-world conditions like this?

Let’s find out.

11:55
Forgot to say. The sewing machine is an Alfa. #WIN.

11:40
The results are in. 27 miles later, I have 32 miles’ range and 48% charge remaining. That means I’ve ‘made’ 9 miles. How much of this is down to the off-motorway driving, though?

I’ll debrief later. Hands are a bit cold at the mo. I’ve got a lovely warm bum, though. Heated seats, it seems, use no miles’ range…

11:20
25.6 miles, 33 miles remaining, 49% battery charge left. Making range in Cannock left me with enough to reach the heady heights of 60mph on the M6. And the Smart ED felt better than the petrol alternative. Much quieter too.

Means there’s actually a pang of regret now. I’d love to drive this a bit harder, so I can enjoy its endearingly sophisticated drivetrain a bit more. But I know I can’t. Driving an EV, it seems there’s an inbuilt restrictor that stops you getting silly and wasteful.

Pity. Because the ED is, partly, a cracker.

10:50
13.8 miles, 39 miles remaining, % battery charge at 63%. Looking good, although it’s clearly better in town – regen can be used, whereas the motorway is a constant 25% power draw (so the dial tells me).

I’m not just focusing on battery status, though. Driving the ED is proving to be a bit of a pleasure, thanks to the beautifully smooth powertrain. It’s like having a tiny, torquey, silent straight six beneath me.

Oh, and I’ve collected the sewing machine. Weighs a tonne. How many miles’ range will THAT cost?

10:20
Done 8.0 miles. 42 miles remaining. On track, then. But… Because it’s raining, the ED’s steaming up. I’m toggling the fan because turning it on instantly cuts range by 3 miles. Lights? Necessary, but a 1 mile range-trade. It’s cold in here: yet to try the heater.

I write from Hilton Park MSA, which I’ve reached after rigidly sticking to 55mph (so that’s why cruise is standard). Might try more speed on the way back. Not yet though.

At least the ECO monitor is impressed with my driving: we started on 50% and it’s already up to 100%. I’ll be watching it like a hawk. Might distract me from staring at the battery charge dial…

10:00
86% charge now, but still a 50-mile range. I’ve zeroed the trip. Just two things to note: one, its raining, so battery-sapping wipers shall be on. Two, its 5deg C: how will this affect battery capacity?

Onwards.

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