It’s cold. Your EV feels it too.
You demand heat, your EV demands power. To keep everyone happy, we have put together a simple guide to help ensure you are getting the most out of your EV’s charge and performance during these colder months.
If you have your very first EV then once you become acquainted with these tips, they will become second – nature in no time.
So, before we list the tips, here is a brief synopsis as to why your EV ‘s range can be affected during the winter. Electric batteries are made of lithium-ion and those little ions find it harder to move around in the cold, thus reducing your range during colder conditions. The cold also has an effect on charging an EV too. To charge efficiently, your car’s battery likes to be within a certain temperature range. The whole process is controlled by the car’s on-board battery management system which is there to protect and optimise the performance of the battery sells.
Here are the tips for getting the most from your EV, we hope you mind them useful:
Keeping your vehicle inside during winter can make a major difference to its battery performance. If you have a garage, then keeping it inside will help hold the battery charge for longer and help it charge more quickly. If you do not have a garage, then try to park in a relatively enclosed space. The same applies for parking when out and about. When given the option of parking in an outdoor space or a multi-story, opt for the indoor option.
Most electric vehicles come with handy apps for your smartphone or tablet which allow you to heat your car from the comfort of your home. If you turn your car’s heating on before you leave the house, it will heat up the cabin to your desired temperature and warm up the battery to aid performance.
When it’s particularly cold, the car’s battery management system likes to reserve a certain percentage of the battery capacity in order to heat the battery up. The reserve percentage is generally about 15 – 20%.
So, if you usually keep your battery charged above 15 – 20% - let’s say a minimum of 50% - then you will always have a nice margin to keep your car’s performance as high as possible.
Since EV’s do not have an internal combustion engine running hot, there’s little additional waste heat that helps warm the passenger cabin, however, blasting the heating all around your cabin when it’s cold can drain your EV’s battery further and reduce its range. It’s best to try to restrict the heat to one designated person, be-it the driver or the front passenger, instead of both. This can either be done by turning the air-vents on or off or by controlling the seat or steering wheel heat settings. It’s a more efficient use of the battery and consumes less electricity than by heating the whole vehicle.
As the temperature drops, the air in your tyres contracts and the pressure falls. Regularly checking your tyres in winter and ensuring they’re properly inflated is a great way to maximise winter range.
Most EV’s have a form of ‘eco-mode’, in which you can boost mileage through reducing power consumption by limiting the energy supply to the driving motor and cabin heaters. You may accelerate more slowly but this can also make driving safer in icy conditions, limiting the chance of wheel spin on icy roads. By reducing acceleration and limiting the power of cabin heaters to a certain extent, you are maximising the battery efficiency during cold weather.
Like any vehicle, winter means planning extra time for your journey and thinking about what your electric vehicle needs before you set off.