Back in the day the following scene on a cold morning in the UK was typical. Some people would be out in their thick coats and gloves defrosting their cars with a scraper. Others would be tipping boiling water on the windscreen from the kettle, while others would simply start their car and let it idle for a few minutes.
For owners of EVs though there are other things to check – such as whether your vehicle has fully charged. Generally speaking EVs are easier to maintain than older cars but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need any attention at all. Here are some winter care tips for your EV.
Defrosting an EV
The majority of EVs come with an app for your smartphone. This will often allow you to control the defrosting of your car without having to step a single foot outside in the cold. If you’re fortunate enough to have this feature on your EV then read the manual to see how much power this feature uses. You’ll need to know if your EV didn’t charge fully overnight for any reason. If you’re EV doesn’t have this feature or you’re driving a petrol or diesel car then you can get portable defrosters.
Most EVs come with a prewarming feature. This feature is lovely to have as you’ll always be stepping into a warm vehicle regardless of the conditions outside. However this feature also uses battery capacity. If you can, pre-warm your EV while it is still plugged in and charging.
And when it comes to heating it’s always more energy-efficient to heat the occupants rather than the car itself. Heated seats can use as much as 10% of the battery capacity so it’s far better point the warm air vents at the passengers. Wearing additional layers is also a good way to save energy and keep warm. It’s also a great idea to have adequate clothing with you anyway in case of a breakdown.
Cold weather and EV range
In an older car fuel is burned. In an EV this isn’t the case When batteries are colder then they are less effective. This can cause a large deduction in range on any electric vehicle. This range shouldn’t be more than the low double-digits, but it’s worth bearing in mind. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that you maintain a charge of between 40% and 50%. This will ensure plenty of battery capacity for the car’s management system to warm the battery so that it works at its most efficient.
Colder batteries are also less efficient at charging. This means that your EV may take longer to charge than usual. If you plug your EV in overnight at home then you probably won’t notice this at all. However you may find that charging in public takes longer than expected. Allow this extra time if you are planning a long journey.
If you have access to a sheltered location when charging or parking your EV, then try to use it. Less exposure to the cold will prevent the above problems from arising.
Check your settings
Many EVs come with a large number of gimmicks and gadgets. Check whether yours has options for colder weather. Such options can configure the car to consider the lower battery range, increased charge time etc. Some EVs may even have cold weather features that assist you with driving in such conditions. For example, with the increased likelihood of ice being present on the roads.
Check tyre pressure
Something that all motorists need to do is check their tyre pressures. It doesn’t matter how your car is powered. Tyres run at the correct pressure will have a lower rolling resistance than those that are underinflated. This means that less energy will be required to get the vehicle moving. You will use less petrol, diesel or battery capacity if you make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. We are often advised to check tyre pressures every week as well as before longer journeys.
For the most part you’ll be able to drive your EV as normal. Particularly in a mild climate like the UK. So don’t worry too much about preparing for the colder months. It’s worth considering all of the points above but don’t worry too much about them. That way you can enjoy the benefits that your EV has to offer throughout the year.
Can I use my EV in the snow?
EVs are just as capable in the snow as petrol and diesel powered cars. Fortunately in the UK the climate is mild so snow is rarely an issue
Will my EV range drop in the winter?
As batteries are less efficient when working from cold, you can expect to see a lower mileage range when using your EV in the colder months. The difference is negligible though
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Our experts continually monitor motor industry news & research, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
- 22nd November 2023
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- 22nd November 2023
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