10 Tips For Electric Vehicle Owners This Winter

Precondition the battery

Before heading out in the cold weather, turn on the heat around 30 minutes early, while the car is still plugged in. This warms up the battery so it keeps a better charge, and helps maximize the car’s driving range. But this needs to be done while the car is still charging to ensure no additional energy is used from the battery to warm up the car.

Most electric cars have an app you can use to precondition on command or via a pre-set schedule.

Check your Tyres

Tyres can lose 1 pound per square inch every time the outdoor temperature decreases by 10 degrees. That’s why air pressure needs to be a priority. Also check the tyre tread and if you can, equip your EV with winter tyres.

Keep a tyre inflator handy, so you can check your car’s tyre pressure. It should be obvious when there’s a leak, as your dashboard will show when the tyres aren’t holding enough air. Be sure to fill them with the recommended amount of pressure.

Installing winter tyres automatically implies higher energy consumption. This is due to increased grip because the tyres are made with special compounds that maintain elasticity and flexibility in more severe winter weather conditions. It’s a good idea to change these tyres as soon as the weather gets warmer.

The compounds used for all-season tyres make them less soft than winter tyres, but suppler than summer tyres. They therefore represent a practical, all-purpose alternative, although they cannot be used in some extreme conditions. 

It is very difficult to give precise figures as to energy consumption for each type of tyre. It depends on the vehicle and the make of tyre. Just bear in mind that all-season tyres lead to a slight increase in energy consumption, and winter tyres push that figure up a little more. 

Charge Smart.

It’s easy for electric vehicles to lose their charge when the battery gets cold. Therefore, EV owners should remember to keep them plugged into their power source until they leave the house. Set the overnight charge so that it finishes as close to when you need to leave as possible as opposed to charging it the night before. This can then precondition the battery during the charge cycle. EV owners should remember to keep them plugged into their power source until they leave the house.

Use a garage, where possible.

The best way to stop your car being affected by chilly overnight temperatures is to not leave it outside in the chilly temperatures overnight. So if you have a garage to store your car, keep it in there on winter nights to keep the battery as warm as possible.

If you can’t, cover the windscreen, windows and doors from freezing up.

Eco driving mode.

The eco mode for each Electric Vehicle varies, but they all accomplish a similar goal of boosting mileage through reduced power consumption by limiting the energy supply to the drive motor and cabin heaters. This can help maximize the battery efficiency during cold weather.

Plus, most EVs accelerate slightly slower in eco mode, since power is reduced to the motor. This can make your driving safer by limiting the chances of wheel spins on ice- or snow-covered roads.

The key to eco-driving is a smooth style. This form of driving, primarily focused on preserving your battery, is a must in winter. Avoiding abrupt starts and stops preserves your car’s battery and minimizes the risk of slipping on road surfaces that are often wet and sometimes icy. This winter, don’t worry about hitting the road… just drive gently!

Expect less range.

EV owners should prepare in advance. If you keep your car plugged in between uses, you’ll be able to drive as far as possible. Also map longer journeys that include various charging station options, so you don’t run out of power.

Moderate heating

You should expect to see a drop in range when driving your electric vehicle in winter. They may only go about half as far than usual before requiring a charge. Many of today’s EVs can get up to around 200 miles before they need to be charged. It’s smart to prepare for half that capacity during colder weather.

Turning the heat up too much or keeping it running for too long is the number one battery drainer in winter and can decrease your electric vehicle’s range by up to 30%. To consume less energy while driving, turn on heated seats and heated steering wheel and turn down the HVAC System.

Know where your fast chargers are.

Cold batteries have a greater resistance to charging, meaning that EVs charge slower in low temperatures. Make sure you have a 240V level 2 fast charger available for your main charge – whether that’s overnight, or while you’re at work. And if you’re planning a long winter road trip in your EV then map out where the fast charging stations are.

Drive at a moderate speed.

At higher speeds on the motorway, an electric motor consumes more energy than at lower speeds. A lot of energy can be saved by driving at a moderate speed on the motorway. As an example: the difference in energy consumption between 65 mph or 70 mph can easily increase to 20%.

Also use the cruise control as much as possible. A engine uses the least energy if the car it is driven at a constant speed. The cruise control is the perfect tool for this.

Emergency Package

If you are traveling on longer journeys it is advised to keep your phone charged up and take an emergency kit with you, If you break down, you’ll need to get out of the car to stay safe

Here is a checklist to help you:

Extra clothes and waterproofs

Blanket

Shoes with good grip

A flask of hot drink

Food & Snacks

Hi-vis jacket

Warning triangle

Snow shovel

Torch

First Aid Kit

Tow Rope

Tyre Inflator

You should not travel with excessive items in your electric vehicle as the extra weight will have an impact on range, it would be a good idea to take this into consideration when purchasing the emergency kit.

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