How to get the most out of your Electrique
The range quoted of 60 miles
for the Berlingo Electrique is, I assume, what you might get in a perfect world!
It is very interesting to note that the manual for the Peugeot Partner Electrique recently purchased by Phil (see guestbook) now quotes only 40 miles per charge!! Perhaps they are being ultra-cautious, fearing 'USA style' legal action if you run out of charge in the third lane of a busy motorway!!
Certainly, in my first few days I was getting less than 60 miles before I lost my nerve and recharged it. I now put that short range down to my 'enthusiastic' driving, as I have proven recently that if driven steadily then 60 miles is realistic. However, the last 10 miles or so are often driven within the last 10% or so of charge, with warning lights on and at fairly slow speed.
I generally average from 40 miles to 60 now, depending on driving style, with weather also being a contributing factor. In the coldest part of winter, I am lucky to get 40 miles as the batteries are less efficient at low temperatures. I have been advised that blocking off part of the radiator airflow can increase the winter range, but of course, you need to keep an eye on the battery/control unit temperature (only advisable if you are using one of Evan Tuer's evLite control panels).
There is an
'eco' meter displayed on the instrument console, with the needle showing '0' at rest or when
not accelerating. If acceleration is very steady the needle can be kept in the
'Green' zone, but soon moves into the 'Orange' or 'Red' if you need to
accelerate more quickly or when you encounter a hill. Driving downhill or slowing down will swing the needle to the
left side of the '0' which shows that
the regenerative braking is putting charge back into the batteries.
Keeping the needle in the 'Green' zone all of the time would, I'm sure, give a range greater than 60 miles (I haven't had the restraint yet to test this!). I have been told that someone got 90 miles out of theirs when driven like that!
Probably the best way to drive 'economically' is to increase speed going downhill, and let the speed drop off going uphill.
Tyre pressures affect the
range - it is recommended that the pressures are as high as possible to reduce
the rolling resistance. Tyre tracking would also affect range, as would anything
else which causes drag (binding brakes etc.).
I have mine at 50psi front and rear (mine were marked as 42psi front, 46psi rear on the wheel arches). As the Berlingo is based on the Citroen Xsara floorpan the hard ride that you might expect with high tyre pressures is softened by the excellent French suspension.
Don't expect more than 65mph out of the Berlingo! Although it is quite easy to get up to 60mph on a level road, the design of the motor means that the power is automatically 'tailed off' as you approach 65mph. At that speed, going downhill, the Eco meter hovers at '0' even if you try to accelerate more, and I've even seen it go into the regenerative recharge zone with my foot flat to the floor!
I carry a 30m long, heavy duty extension lead in case I get caught short and have to beg a charge. It has been suggested, more than once, that a pub might be a good place to get stuck!
I also have a solid towbar which
dismantles into three short lengths, which can be used on the 'transit hooks' on
the front and rear of most cars, so could beg a tow if I was really desperate.
I'm considering buying a 3Kw Diesel generator (running on BioDiesel, of course!) which I could put in the back when I might be pushing the limit. It couldn't be used while driving as the charging circuit prevents this, but in an emergency, a quick charge should be enough to get me home.
There is no spare wheel provided with the
Berlingo Electrique. Where it would normally sit (under the rear floor) is taken
up with one of the battery packs.
Instead of a wheel, an aerosol 'TyreWeld' or similar would have been supplied to repair and inflate a punctured tyre.
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