Winter can be tough on the performances of our vehicles, whether petrol, diesel or electric.
EV batteries work best between 5-20 degrees Celsius, so drivers might experience slower charging speeds and reduced range when the temperature drops in the winter.
Whatcar suggests the latest EV batteries are built to be more cold-resistant for the electric car to maintain its standard performance. Since Norway is the biggest EV-adopting country worldwide, despite the harsh temperatures and conditions in the winter, running an EV during the cold season in the UK shouldn’t raise significant concerns.
There are several factors that affect EVs performance during low temperatures. Running the car in cold weather demands higher power. Unlike petrol cars, EVs don’t have an engine to produce heat and warm the car, leaving the EV battery in charge. Sometimes, this leads to overusing the battery and losing its energy.
Autotrader gives us a scientifical explanation. Lithium ions movement usually generates electricity in EV batteries. The cold slows this movement down, lowering the battery temperature and reducing electricity production and battery performance.
When it comes to EV charging, low battery temperature causes slower speed. The EV uses the charger’s energy to raise the battery’s temperature instead of charging the car leading to slower charging times. After the battery reaches the operating temperature, the charging process will occur as usual.
Looking after your EV in the winter is not very different from looking after a petrol or diesel car, it just needs more attention to detail. Here are some tips and tricks to maximise your EV’s range and charging speed during cold weather.
Since heating is guilty of taking up EV energy, if you charge your car at home or near home, try preheating while still plugged in. Not only are you saving energy, but you will also get a warm interior before hitting the road.
Some cars also have the option to preheat their battery before going out for a drive or arriving at the charging station. This way, the battery reaches its optimal operating temperature before charging, avoiding slow charging speed.
This driving advice applies no matter the time or the weather — drive as smoothly as possible. Avoid heavy braking, sudden acceleration, and maintain a constant speed. Aggressive driving increases energy consumption and accidents risks during the winter.
Most EVs use regenerative braking, a valuable feature for full-time drivers. This can help capture energy lost when braking or slowing down. However, the regenerative braking system could cause your wheels to slip when driving through heavy snow or ice. We’d recommend keeping it off and driving cautiously in these conditions.
The heater is one of the main reasons your range drops during cold times. Turn on the heated seats and steering wheel instead if your car has them. They use far less energy than the AC unit. Offering your passengers and yourself a pleasant ride experience is essential, so don’t compromise on comfort and warmth for a few miles of extra range.
If your car has it, use the Eco-driving mode when you’re about to run low on energy. This system sends battery power where it’s most needed and takes it away from heaters, radio or other non-essential gadgets.
Periodical car check-ups are fundamental for your safety as a rideshare driver, even more so before the cold season. Too little air pressure on your tires increases rolling resistance, causing higher energy consumption, so make sure to check it. It also helps to check the windscreen washers and the anti-freeze regularly.
Try not to let your battery fall below 20%, even when you’re near a charging station. The charging process will take longer than usual if the car doesn’t have enough power to warm up the battery.
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