Electric cars are usable all year round in most places on the earth. However, due to the battery, cold weather can impact your daily usage considerably. This is because you will experience noticeable changes in your car’s performance.
What is responsible for these changes in EV performance in cold weather, and what can you do to reduce the impact of cold weather on your electric vehicle? This article answers the question.
What happens to your electric vehicle when the weather is cold?
If you live where the temperature drops considerably at the colder period of the year, you will notice two things related to the battery. The first is it will take longer than usual to charge to 100 percent, especially if you are on a Level 1 charger. If your car had been charging fully overnight, that would not be the case anymore.
The second change you will notice during cold weather is the reduction in driving range. The drop could be up to 30 percent, depending on how cold it gets.
Both effects mentioned above are tied to a single reason; the battery chemistry. When you charge or discharge your battery, it is as a result of the movement of electrons inside. However, when the temperature drops, the rate at which they move reduces. This slowdown causes both charging and discharging to occur at lower speeds.
There are steps you can take as an electric vehicle owner to reduce the effect of cold temperatures on your car. These will be considered next.
If possible, park your EV in the garage during winter, instead of in the driveway or on the street. This could make a lot of difference when you charge because the temperature in the enclosed garage will be higher than out in the open, meaning a warmer battery.
When you drive around, look for opportunities not to park outside either.
Warm up the battery before driving off, so the temperature rises. You can do this by starting the car about 30 minutes before you depart and turning on the heat. However, do this while still plugged in, so you do not lose battery in the process. Some cars allow you to do this remotely through a smartphone app.
With the battery not cold, you will get more range.
Once you start driving, turn off or lower the cabin heat and turn on seat and steering wheel heat instead. This step will save you some battery because getting warmth that way uses less battery. If possible, warm around the driver seat only if you are alone instead of heating the whole cabin.
Check your tire pressure
Cold temperatures affect your car tires too. They contract, causing the pressure to fall. A tire not properly inflated causes the battery level to drop faster because the tire experiences more resistance on the road. This is why it is essential to check the tires and inflate them to the recommended pressure, especially when it is cold.
Use regenerative braking more
Electric vehicles have the advantage of converting the heat generated during braking into energy that can top up the battery. However, this will require you to alter your driving habit so that you produce the most amount of energy during your braking. Some cars have a model you can switch to for maximum regenerative braking.
Switch to eco mode
Speaking of modes, some electric vehicles have eco-driving modes that help you slow down the loss of battery significantly. This may come at the expense of performance, but you will be able to drive longer when the temperature is low, which is the goal.
Pay attention to your charging habits
The trick is to try to charge as much as possible. This could involve plugging in for longer when the temperature goes down because the more you stay plugged in, the more electricity gets into your battery. Try always to connect your car when you get home. Also, take advantage of charging opportunities anywhere you find them; at work or while running errands.
Don’t let your battery level get too low before charging.
While it is true that cold temperature affects your electric vehicle performance, with the steps mentioned above and planning, your EV will continue to serve you all through the year.
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