5 tips for EV driving in winter
We all know that cold weather can reduce an electric car's range. In fact, low temperatures and bad weather reduce the range of any car. Snow driving, starting and driving in cold temperatures also reduce the range of fuel-engine cars, by up to 30 percent even, but not as much attention is paid to that.
In very low temperatures, combustion engine cars use some of the heat from the engine to heat the interior of the car. Although electric vehicles are inherently more efficient, we often forget that electrical energy is needed to heat the car and its occupants. Accessories such as the heater run on electricity and consume power when they are running. If you turn up the temperature, you will find that your EV's estimated range decreases.
Five tips for efficient electric driving in winter
Here are five tips to increase your electric car's range and make winter driving more comfortable.
Tires are an important part of your car's handling all year round, but in winter they are doubly important. For better traction in colder climates or areas with lots of snow, winter tires give you extra traction and control, but at the expense of range because of the softer rubber compound and the extra friction they generate. So that's a trade-off for a while. It's also important to check that your tires are at the correct inflation pressure in winter.
Use the 'Eco' setting of the climate control system
Besides the power supply of the car itself, the climate system is the biggest power consumer. By turning on the 'Eco' setting, if available, you activate a program to reduce power consumption, usually turning off the climate system when you are stationary and turning it back on when you start driving.
Preheat the car while connected to the charger
In almost all electric cars, you can program the heater and other accessories to work while the car is plugged in to the charging station, so that the interior has a comfortable temperature when you get in. By using this feature, you won't use extra electricity to heat the car during the first few miles. In some cars, you can even program fixed departure times so that the car is preheated every morning until the right temperature is reached. The preheating also heats the battery so that it is at the ideal operating temperature when you drive off, further increasing the range.
Use seat heating and steering wheel heating
Heating the seats, steering wheel and, in some cars, even the armrests is much closer to your body than heated air. Such comfort provides more efficient heat, warms you up faster and saves range.
Use the navigation system, too, to plan charging stops
When you need to charge, batteries work best when they are "preconditioned," meaning they have been brought up to temperature so they can draw electrons at the highest possible speed. Many EVs have a manual preconditioning function via a button or touchscreen menu; the more luxurious models will automatically precondition the battery when you've programmed a charging station as a destination in the navigation system. Especially if you have a long drive ahead of you, preconditioning the battery will significantly reduce charging time so you can get on the road faster.