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How to get the best winter EV range

Discover how to get the best electric car range in winter and cold conditions. Contact the Sandicliffe team for expert advice.

Jan 31, 2022

How to get the best winter EV range

How to get the best electric car range in winter

If you drive an electric car, you want to be getting the best range from your battery all year round. The temperature of your battery can have a noticeable impact on your driving range. If the temperature is particularly low, your battery could charge slower and may not be capable of taking you the same distances. 

It’s completely normal for electric car drivers to see a reduction in range when driving in cold conditions. So, if you have an EV, don’t worry if the cold affects your car. However, By taking a few easy measures like storing your electric vehicle in a garage and managing the use of your onboard electrical devices, you can balance put the negative effects. 

Visit your local Sandicliffe dealership to discover our range of incredible new, nearly new, and used vehicles. With a range of industry-leading brands in stock including Mazda, Ford and Nissan, you are sure to find the perfect car for you. Or, if you’d like to learn more about hybrid driving, contact the experts at Sandicliffe today. 

Why does cold impact electric car range?

Cold affects your electric car range because the chemistry of your car battery responds to temperature. Temperatures that are lower than 4ºC cause the electrolyte fluid found in your car’s battery to move slower, and become less responsive. In cold conditions, your battery collects and withdraws energy less efficiently. This impacts your charging speed and driving range. 

Driving in extreme temperatures can put additional pressure on your battery through increased demand for power. When driving in adverse conditions, it is natural to become more reliant on heated seats, air conditioning, heated windscreens and other cold-conquering measures. This puts a higher demand on your battery and lowers your total range as a result. 

Main factors affecting electric car range

Of course, it isn’t just the climate that can have an impact on your electric car driving range. Depending on how you’re driving and the style of electric car you own, your battery could perform differently from the listed specifications. Three of the biggest factors that could affect the range of your vehicle include: 

High-speed driving

The faster you drive, the more power you will need to meet your needs. Accelerating quickly or maintaining a high speed for a long period of time can lower your total range. However, this is equally true for conventional combustion engines. 

Regenerative braking

Many electric vehicles use regenerative braking to recharge their batteries while you are on the go. Regenerative braking uses the energy generated during deceleration to provide your battery with more power. This can vastly increase your driving range. 

Extreme temperatures

As we have previously mentioned, extreme climates and particularly cold weather can alter your battery range and capacity. In very cold conditions, your battery can perform sluggishly, leading to longer charging times and lower driving range. 

Tips for getting the best electric car range in winter

There are several measures you can take to get the best out of your electric car battery. The expert team at Sandicliffe has put together some top tips to help you get the best range from your electric car during the winter. Our top five tips are:

Protected parking spaces

If it is possible, parking your car undercover or in a garage can help you maintain battery performance. Keeping the vehicle protected from the elements will lower the chance of the battery temperature dropping too low. 

If this isn’t possible, we recommend that you try to find a parking space where the vehicle will be exposed to direct sunlight. This will improve the battery temperature. Wherever you can, plug your electric vehicle in when it is parked. This will keep the battery functioning, even in low temperatures. 

Heating and ventilation management

By managing your heating solutions and understanding how they could affect your electric car, you can lengthen your driving range. If your vehicle has heated seats or a heated steering wheel, using these options as your primary heat source can save battery energy. 

This is because they consume less energy than your heating and ventilation. Additionally, if you are using climate control to manage your temperature, is more efficient to maintain a constant temperature and usage, rather than turning it on and off. 

Monitor tyre pressure

Maintaining the correct pressure in your tyres is another useful way to maintain your battery efficiency. If your tyres are underinflated you could experience a greater degree of road resistance and drag. 

With more forces holding the car back, your battery will have to work harder to keep you moving. Your harder working battery will consume more energy, and lower your range significantly. Having the wrong pressure in your tyres can also impact your grip and performance in icy and cold conditions. 

Preheating the vehicle

Preheating your vehicle can protect your battery from the adverse effects of cold weather. Also known as “preconditioning”, this process involves heating up your cabin and batteries before you set off on your journey. 

By allowing your car and battery to reach a comfortable ambient temperature before you leave, you don’t have to rely on the battery to heat up the vehicle while you’re driving. This will save you power, and elongate your range. Also, with the battery warm enough for top performance, you eliminate many of the drawbacks of cold weather electric car driving. 

Utilise Eco mode

To minimise the demand on your car battery you should use Eco mode as much as possible. These settings ensure that your car is using less energy, allowing your battery to conserve more power. 

It will make your car slightly slower, but it will maximise your driving range. In snowy or icy conditions, the reduced speed can actually be beneficial, as it also offers an increase in handling. However, not all vehicles have an eco mode available. As a result, not all electric car drivers will be able to make the most of this option. 

The advantages of hybrid vehicles

Plug-in hybrids and mild hybrid vehicles like the Ford Fiesta Hybrid can be a practical solution to the drawbacks of cold weather electric car driving. With a combustion engine coupled with an electric battery, hybrids offer greater flexibility and practicality. By using regenerative braking to charge the battery when the engine is running, you can lower your carbon emissions and lessen the need for regular plug-in charging. 

These vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why. The combustion engine is perfect for long-range driving, while the battery alone is powerful enough for getting from A to B. They can also act as the perfect stepping stone to getting a fully electric car. 

Visit your local Sandicliffe dealership to find the ideal electric or hybrid car for you. 

Ready to find the perfect electric car for you? Contact the award-winning Sandicliffe team for expert advice and recommendations. 

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