For drivers of electric vehicles, winter temperatures mean considering more than just frozen doors and frosty windshields. According to Jesse Caron, automotive analyst at CAA-Quebec, the optimal temperature window for electric vehicles is between 15 and 25 degrees. Driving in colder temperatures will affect your battery life and reduce the operating range of your car. Today, we’ll be sharing some insights to help you get the most out of your electric vehicle in winter.
Keep your battery charged
Planning and preparation are always important with electric vehicles, especially in winter. Because the cold inhibits the chemical process in the battery, your vehicle won’t hold a charge like it does in the spring. It also takes longer to charge your battery in cold weather. To accommodate for this, try and keep your vehicle plugged in and charging up until you’re ready to use it.
So how much does cold weather affect the range of your car? A study by AAA that tested a wide range of EVs in -6°C found that, when no heaters were turned on, the average range fell by 12%. When cabin heaters were on, driving range dropped by a staggering average of 41%.
Because cabin heaters require so much energy, and kill your battery faster as a result, it’s best to preheat your vehicle before you unplug. Fortunately, many EV apps make this easy, giving you remote climate control of your car so you can heat it beforehand with the push of a button. Once you’re on the road, switch off your cabin heating and turn your seat warmer on to prolong the life of your battery and the warmth in your car.
Keep your tires inflated
This advice doesn’t just apply to electric vehicles — properly-inflated tires are equally important whether you’re trying to prolong your battery or save on gas in a motorized vehicle. Here’s why: cold weather causes the air in tires to contract, causing the pressure to drop which leads to increased resistance. As a result, your car uses more energy to cover the same amount of ground at the same speed. To remedy this, check your tires frequently in the winter by following these steps, and swap out your summer tires for winter ones between October 1st and March 31st.
Use eco mode
Finally, make sure you’re driving with eco mode turned on. With just a switch, this is the easiest way to reduce your power consumption and boost the longevity of your battery.
Whether you’re driving an EV or gas-powered vehicle, no one is immune from the possibility of facing a flat tire or extreme weather on the road. Always drive with a winter emergency kit, packed with these essential items, in case you get stuck. For more winter driving tips, try these DIY cold weather car hacks.