Electric Car Performance In Cold Weather
No matter if you’re drawn to their groundbreaking efficiency, exhilarating power delivery, or cutting-edge technology – it’s easy to understand why electric vehicles continue to skyrocket in terms of popularity. As you begin your search for the ultimate EV for your lifestyle, one of the most common questions asked by potential EV buyers is exactly how electric vehicles perform in cold weather.
Similar to a traditional gas-powered vehicle, there are a handful of simple tips and tricks that you can use to maximize your EV’s performance when the temperatures drop below freezing. Our team at the Germain Motor Company is standing by to arm you with all the information you need to know regarding how electric vehicles operate in cold temperatures. Let’s get started!
How Are Electric Cars Affected By Cold Weather?
No matter if your vehicle is powered by electricity, gasoline, or diesel fuel – the simple fact is that cold temperatures can have a negative impact on performance and fuel economy. Drivers in colder climates are likely familiar with the concept of starting a gasoline-powered car’s engine a few minutes before you head out in order to let the engine warm up. Once you make the switch to an all-electric vehicle, there are several similar steps you can take to maximize both power and driving range.
- Research has indicated that electric car batteries can suffer from reduced driving range in below-freezing temperatures. Some studies have even shown that total driving range can drop by as much as 12% below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and as much as 41% when the heater is switched on. To combat this drop in range, use features like heated seats or a heated steering wheel instead of running the heat itself. Remember, you might need to make an extra effort to charge your EV more frequently than normal in cold temperatures.
- It’s no secret that most of the energy lost in cold temperatures is wasted warming the vehicle up to the recommended operating temperature. Instead, keep your vehicle parked inside a garage (preferably heated) and out of the elements. Certain models also come equipped with a specialized “pre-conditioning” feature that can heat both the battery and the interior while the vehicle is plugged-in and charging. This maximizes battery capacity and keeps your vehicle ready to hit the streets in the colder months.
- Speed remains one of the biggest factors responsible for excessive battery drain. Driving economically can maximize battery life and also helps keep you safer on the road. Even with their cutting-edge technology, EVs are just as susceptible to traction loss and excessive speed-related accidents as traditional vehicles.
- Whenever possible, plan your trips accordingly based on available charging stations and the most efficient routes. Colder temperatures make it even more important to ensure your vehicle is fully charged and ready to get you where you need to be. Take advantage of the in-vehicle route planning options and other online resources to be prepared. Always have a backup plan if unexpected winter weather causes delays and other inconveniences.
- Install a set of winter tires on your EV to improve traction and performance in winter weather. These tires use specialized rubber compounds that offer greater stability, control, and traction to keep your EV safe when the roads turn icy or slippery. Having the right set of tires can go a long way toward staying safe and confident even in freezing winter weather conditions.