Winter Driving Tips for Electric Vehicles

Use these easy strategies to get the most out of your electric car this winter.


Wintertime driving of an electric vehicle frequently calls for some planning because the low temperatures can significantly reduce the passage of lithium ions through the anode and electrolyte in the battery. Range is impacted since the pack is unable to store as much energy or generate as much power as it usually can. In fact, as the snow starts to fall, EV drivers could logically expect a 25% to 50% decrease in range. However, you can survive the winter in an electric car provided you are knowledgeable about battery best practices. Don’t stress out or give up on EVs. These hints ought to be useful.


1. When at all possible, park in a garage.


A garage offers some insulation from the cold, not to mention snow and ice, even if it isn’t insulated. That’s critical as winter battery efficiency benefits from warmth to every degree. Additionally, parking inside a building will save you energy by preventing the need to operate a defroster to remove ice buildup on your windshield. The next time you travel downtown and have the choice of parking in an enclosure or on the street, keep this in mind.


2. Plan your trip out.


The car will preheat the cabin and batteries while still plugged in if you just tell it when you want to depart, whether it be in 20 minutes or at a consistent time every weekday. This way, you won’t waste battery power on unnecessary tasks. You can accomplish this via the specialized app or infotainment system.


3. Before fast-charging, prepare the battery.


Usually, planning your departure will help the battery get ready for the drive. Giving the car advance notice is advised if you want to stop for a quick charge while driving; otherwise, you risk plugging into a fast-charging station and receiving a sluggish charge.


This is due to the fact that the battery management system will typically reduce the charge rate to avoid damage if the pack does not have enough time to warm up. Preconditioning, or preheating, the battery on the way to the plug will help you avoid this. Usually, all you need to do to prepare a Tesla is to select a Supercharger station as your destination, and the vehicle will take care of the rest. Other EVs include battery cooling, which takes energy and may reduce range if the driver doesn’t want it.


4. Bake for a little longer to recharge.


As previously indicated, the chemical process that revitalizes a dead or failing battery is slowed down by cold temperatures. A cold EV can need a few more hours on a Level 2 station to achieve its maximum range.


5. Check the pressure in your tires and, if possible, replace them with winter tires.


Many tires are underinflated because cold weather causes air to compress. That’s not ideal for winter driving because an underinflated tire can become more of a plow by sagging slightly and expanding the contact surface, which increases rolling resistance and hurting range. Thus, as the temperature drops, check their pressures and supply air as necessary.


Additionally, winter tires are well worth the expense if you can afford them. They probably won’t improve your range or cabin noise, but in icy circumstances, they’ll stay flexible and grippy, preventing your heavy EV from becoming a tractionless projectile.


6. Drive slowly and in the Eco or Chill mode.


As long as the weather permits, select your vehicle’s most economical and gentle drive mode if range is a concern. To add a few more miles to the range counter, it might lessen the acceleration response, lower horsepower, and/or switch from four to two drive wheels, but it’s still better than getting stuck on the side of the road.


Don’t waste this edge by driving quickly or hammering the pedals. Better still, stay off the highway if you can. If not, think about going 65 mph rather than 70, but be considerate and stay in the right lane when going slower than the posted speed limit.


7. Avoid turning up the heat.


Since warming a person’s body is far more effective than warming the air around them, heated seats are a common feature of electric vehicles. To beat the cold, use them (and a heated steering wheel, if applicable) rather than the air conditioning system.


8. Give up using only one pedal.


Given that the goal of one-pedal driving is to maximize range, this may seem paradoxical, but it does this by causing significant regenerative braking. Usually, this causes a sharp deceleration. You’re inviting catastrophe when you throw in an ice road.


9. Unless the roads are dry and clear, avoid using the cruise control.


The car won’t always do so softly if it has to brake or accelerate in order to keep a predetermined speed. When the tires are gripping well, this isn’t too much of a deal, but on an icy or wet road, a strong steering movement could cause your car to skid. And speaking of which, it may also be advantageous to pursue a longer distance throughout the winter.


10. Maintain a battery charge of more than 20%.


That’s a good general rule of thumb all year round, but it’s especially crucial in cold weather, when range decreases quickly and the battery needs to save some power to stay warm.


11. Take out anything weighty that is unnecessary from the car.


Sand bags, bowling balls, anvils, and such items. The EV can travel farther the less weight it must carry.


12. Store some winter gloves inside the glove box.


Just like Dorothy Levitt meant, to help you stay toasty without the cabin heater! It wouldn’t hurt to include a thermal blanket and some knit hats.


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