What Is Eco Mode in Electric Vehicles (EVs) and How Does It Work?

With the arrival of new tax credits, there’s never been a better time to buy an electric vehicle (EV). You can receive a credit of up to $7,500 from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you purchase an eligible EV. When driving an EV, though, you may notice an option to enable eco mode. What is eco mode in EVs exactly, and how does it work?

Eco Mode Explained

Eco mode is a driving mode in certain EVs and hybrid vehicles that’s designed to conserve energy. It’s known as “eco mode” because it’s “economical.”

Whether it’s a combustion gas vehicle or an EV, driving costs money. Combustion gas vehicles consume gas, whereas EVs consume electricity. With eco mode, you can conserve your EV’s energy. Your EV will consume less electricity while in eco mode.

How Eco Mode Works in EVs

When enabled, eco mode will automatically conserve energy. Depending on the particular type of EV, it may use different processes to achieve a more energy-efficient operation. Some EVs automatically lower their torque while in eco mode. Other EVs automatically adjust their climate control systems and lighting while in eco mode.

Tesla’s eco mode is called “range mode.” It works by limiting how much electricity the climate control system receives while also disabling signature lights. You can enable it by pressing Controls > Driving > Range Mode. Your EV will consume less electricity while in range mode, thus allowing you to drive a longer distance.

Keep in mind that some combustion gas vehicles feature eco mode as well. It’s used for the same purpose of conserving energy. Eco mode in combustion gas vehicles, however, reduces the consumption of gas. Eco mode in EVs, in comparison, reduces the consumption of electricity.

When to Use Eco Mode

You may want to use eco mode when driving long distances. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), EVs have an average driving range of about 234 miles. But that number specifically focuses on the standard driving mode. Enabling eco mode may extend the range of your EV so that you can drive for a longer distance.

There are charging stations throughout the country. Some reports suggest that there are tens of thousands of charging stations in the United States — with new stations popping up each month. If there’s no charging station in or near your driving route, though, you may want to use eco mode.

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