One of the more popular jokes doing the rounds on social media during lockdown is the idea that people who drive fossil-fuelled cars are now getting ‘3 weeks to the gallon'. Whilst funny, there are underlying issues that can affect cars – especially electric ones – during these strange times. The technical experts at electric taxi manufacturer LEVC have produced a guide to ensure peak condition during these difficult times.
Investment of more than £500m from parent company Geely, has allowed LEVC to develop an electrified taxi solution that's proving very popular with black cab drivers. Back in September, sales passed 350 units in a month and the trend seems to be continuing. The company expanded again at the start of 2020 and, since they began selling in January 2018, they have reduced the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere by more than 30,000 tons.
LEVC has just published its accounts for 2019 and revenue has almost doubled to £143m. Specifically UK sales of its TX electric taxi have shot up to the point where they are now opening a European office in Frankfurt. The cherry on the cake will be the launch of the VN5 toward the end of 2020. It has even started to export to Azerbaijan, with its first customer being the Baku Taxi Service.
With regard to the guide, as well as the usual advice about cleaning your car regularly (because of the issues that prolonged exposure to tree sap and bird lime can cause), they also advise regular small trips to prevent brake issues. If your EV has not been driven for a while, be careful when first applying the brakes again as light surface corrosion is normal and can affect performance. You may even hear a scraping sound at the start or feel a vibration. Remember that an EV's brakes are usually hooked up to a recuperation system – which also needs a work out.
LEVC also recommends maintaining the TX1 battery at a level above 75% when not in use. This may not be the same for every vehicle, so if you are concerned about leaving your EV unused for any period of time, it's worth contacting your manufacturer to see what level they recommend. In the past, conventional wisdom dictated that batteries should be stored with a high charge, because it could help build ‘molecular memory' that could prolong the battery's life. However, technologies have changed and vary from company to company.
One last item on LEVC's list is the tyres. Leaving a heavy vehicle stationary for a period of time can create pressure issues for the tyres, so it's a good idea to drive even a small distance every week or so, to even out this effect.