Road safety and electric vehicles

In the context of road safety in driving electric vehicles, Enedis invited AVEM to a presentation at its facilities in Saint Raphaël (Var). Two teams took turns giving advice on using electric vehicles and allowing future drivers to try an electric vehicle.

What is the benefit of specific road safety for electric vehicles?

The electric vehicle has many advantages, but to drive safely it is necessary to know and take into account the particularities that distinguish it from driving an electric vehicle.

The silence
The electric car moves silently and this can be a problem in parking lots where you can often find pedestrians who are used to relying on noise to identify nearby cars. With an electric car, you have to be extra careful with pedestrians. In addition, with little noise in the cabin, driving is more relaxed, which can lead to a loss of vigilance and cause the driver to doze off more quickly.

Electric cars are often equipped with the latest driver assistance technologies and this can sometimes lead the driver to rely too much on the technique. However, this should not be the case, the technique is not 100% reliable. Technology does not replace the driver, we must remain very vigilant. Driving aids should be used with extreme caution.

the gearbox
Driving an electric vehicle is similar to driving a thermal car equipped with an automatic gearbox. Therefore, care must be taken to keep the left foot on the left side, away from the pedals (that is, purely technically, an electric car does not have a gearbox).

The electric motor is more dynamic than the engine of a thermal car. It is possible to be surprised at the speed of acceleration that can quickly bring the driver closer to the vehicle in front. For example, to overtake you must first disengage and then accelerate, contrary to what you could do with a thermal car. Wheels can also slip on slippery surfaces, so it is recommended not to press the accelerator suddenly in rainy or snowy weather.

An electric car can be heavier than a thermal car as the batteries are quite large. Therefore, it is recommended to pay attention to braking distances and descents in curves.

An electric car recovers electrical energy when the driver releases the accelerator. The engine turns into an alternator when the driver releases the accelerator pedal. Depending on the engine power, electric braking can be quite strong and over time there is a risk that you will no longer get used to using the classic foot brake. It is therefore recommended to remain vigilant in this area.

It is also prudent to pay attention to autonomy. Lithium-ion batteries are very temperature sensitive. In cold weather, the range can be greatly reduced. Therefore, it is advisable to prepare your navigation and your route well according to the weather conditions to avoid the unpleasant surprise of running out of energy before reaching the next charging station.

The electrical energy needed to recharge a car is considerable and a faulty cable can become dangerous if it is in poor condition. It is imperative to take care of charging cables and avoid storing them anywhere and anyway.

the traveling oven
An electric car is like a walking oven, it takes many kilowatt-hours (kWh) to travel a few kilometers. This is information to keep in mind so as not to be surprised by the sharp increase in your electricity bill after a few recharges at home.

Key findings for new drivers

In conclusion, it is recommended that future users of electric vehicles available in the company’s fleet prepare themselves properly before taking the wheel. In particular, plan your trip identifying the charging stations available, read the user manual, take a guided tour of the vehicle before getting behind the wheel, go through the driving options, namely the braking and assisted driving options, and check whether there really is a working charging cable in the trunk of the vehicle. If necessary, it is always more reassuring to get in touch with the previous driver to find out if the vehicle you are going to borrow does not have any specific problems.

Once the theory was completed, the vehicle tests made it possible to put into practice the knowledge acquired with the training. The feedback is positive and it was a great educational success in the context of road safety at Enedis.

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