How to Drive and Quickly Charge Your Electric Cars During Winter?

How to Drive and Quickly Charge Your Electrical Cars During Winter

It is possible that the driving range of an electric vehicle’s (EV) battery and the capacity of an EV’s battery to be charged are two of the most crucial aspects of owning an EV.

Range anxiety, often known as the fear that your electric vehicle’s battery may run out of power before getting to your destination, is a significant issue for those considering purchasing an electric car.

Despite the fact that more and more EVs chargers are being built all across the nation, it is a sad reality that they function at less than their peak in cold weather, which may imply that the battery life will be cut shorter.

This drop in performance may be attributed to several factors, but fortunately, there are techniques to compensate for those factors.

In the following sections, we’ll go over what you should know about driving an electric car in the winter, how you may help lessen the effect of the cold, and whether or not this should be a big issue.

What Happens to Electrical Cars in Winters?

How to Drive and Quickly Charge Your Electrical Cars During Winter

Electric vehicles and each form of the car are also less efficient as the temperature drops.

Nevertheless, it is often more apparent with an electric car, and it is of particular significance to drivers of all-electric vehicles who need to know whether or not their vehicles have sufficient range to reach their destinations.

Keeping the inside of the car warm throughout the winter is often the single most considerable drain on the range of an electric vehicle, particularly when outside temperatures drop below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because lithium-ion batteries, which are used in electric vehicles, do not operate as well in freezing conditions, the range of these vehicles may be reduced even more.

The team of researchers from the fleet analytics business Geotab examined thousands of electric vehicles (EVs) operating in various environments and collected detailed data on the projected losses in EV range while driving in colder temperatures.

According to their results, drivers of an average EV may experience around half of the manufacturer’s advertised range when the temperature is -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The numbers may change entirely depending on the model, model settings, and how information is stored and used.

Users can examine the potential performance of individual models in cold weather with the help of their online electric vehicle temperature tool. 

Outdoor temps affect electric vehicle batteries since the batteries suffer a significant beating when the mercury drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months.

According to the findings of research conducted by the AAA, the range of your electric vehicle might momentarily be reduced by as much as 41 per cent if you use the heater while driving in freezing conditions.

The research indicated that extreme heat and cold had a significant impact on the range of EVs.

The same study showed that when you leave your vehicle running for prolonged periods, the battery will lose capacity, meaning less range.

When you turn on the heating system, you are drawing power from your battery, affecting its ability to provide adequate control.

Additionally, these electric motors also create heat, which can affect the life of your battery.

This is why it is even more essential to keep your battery cool at all times because you can extend the life of your battery by keeping it in a location that is not exposed to extreme temperatures.

If you live in a certain area with harsh winters, you might want to invest in a battery heater.

These devices are designed to keep your battery from getting too hot. They also help extend the life of your battery and prevent it from losing capacity.

Though heatwave may reduce the range, an electric vehicle’s battery can provide, but not nearly to the same extent as cold weather.

When temperatures are more bearable, for example, between 70 and 80 degrees, driving distance returns to normal.

Charging Your EVs in Cold Weather

Charging Your EVs in Cold Weather

First, always make sure that your battery has at least a 20 per cent charge at all times.

You’re going to need that reserve to warm up the inside of the automobile and the batteries.

Take advantage of the power reserve that is available to you while your electric vehicle is still plugged in so that you may start the engine and heat the car when the temperatures drop.

You’ll want to be ready for cold weather conditions, so make sure that your battery is fully charged when it’s time to go out and drive.

You can do this by using a charger with a boost mode or simply plugging the vehicle into a regular outlet when you’re ready to leave.

You may also want to consider buying a battery warming mat.

These mats work by creating an additional heat source in your car to help your battery warm up quickly and evenly.

They are generally easy to install, will only cost a few dollars each, and helps with pre-conditioning the vehicle before using it.

When your electric vehicle is not being used, it is best to store it in a protected environment such as a heated garage, if at all feasible.

If you will be away from home for a while, it is best to park the automobile in the sun whenever possible.

Don’t leave anything inside the car that could get wet or cause a fire.

Never leave any ignition on when you aren’t around, including the keyless remote control for your vehicle.

If your automobile battery dies, you must immediately jump start it by turning the ignition key to the “on” button position and cranking the engine for about three minutes.

The starter motor will then engage, and the battery will be recharged. Be sure to replace the charging plug after jumping-start your vehicle.

Keeping plugging your car when you are away from means making sure it always has a full charge.

Many electric vehicles’ “pre-conditioning” functions may be activated using a corresponding app on a smartphone.

This will heat both the inside of the car and the battery when it is hooked into the charger.

As a result, the battery capacity may increase by up to 20 per cent, and the time it takes to charge a vehicle from zero to 80 per cent may drop from 12 hours to eight hours. 

Use this to get your vehicle prepared for driving on the road.

How to Drive Your Electric Cars When During Winter

Keep in mind that increasing the speed also decreases the battery life.

The quicker you move, the more your charge will be used by the speed itself.

Take your foot off the gas to increase the battery’s range.

The amount of aerodynamic drag an automobile experience rises with increasing speed, necessitating an increase in the amount of power used to combat it.

As a result, it is essential to reduce the car’s speed when travelling over long distances or in heavy traffic.

Despite all of their sophistication, electric automobiles are nevertheless very similar to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles because they are susceptible to losing control on icy and snowy surfaces in the same way that traditional vehicles are.

They can be charged either by plugging them into a wall socket or a charging station.

The charging stations usually require the electric vehicle owner to pay a fee for the electricity used by the car while it is being charged.

Some electric cars can be charged wirelessly by connecting them to a charging point.

Not to mention plugging in an electric vehicle takes more time than a conventional gasoline-powered car.

The “Eco mode” found on many electric vehicles reduces the amount of power used by the vehicle to extend the battery’s range.

Using Eco mode will help you go farther between refills when driving in cold weather.

Additionally, the regenerative braking capability of many EVs may be adjusted according to the driver’s preferences.

If your vehicle is equipped with regenerative braking, you may increase the amount of power returned to the battery.

This will not only help extend your range but also reduce fuel consumption. 

Several cars have Eco modes that adjust the engine’s operation, usually limiting the maximum RPM, while other vehicles allow the driver to choose from several settings.

These Eco modes can be found on many modern gasoline-powered vehicles, too, as well as in some hybrid models.

The regenerative braking system in EVs automatically slows the vehicle down when the driver releases the accelerator. So instead of braking the wheels, the energy used to slow down the car is stored in the battery.

This reduces fuel consumption and extends the vehicle’s range.

When driving in cold weather, the more you use the heater, the less range you will have. The less you use the heater, the more range you will have.

Adjusting the temperature to a lower setting can assist in maintaining your range. The heater in many electric vehicles is replaced with heated seats and even heated steering wheels, which use far less power than the traditional heater.

According to the research mentioned above by the AAA, the electric cars that were tested saw a loss of range of around 12 per cent less in the cold when their heaters were turned off, compared to a loss of range of 41 per cent when the temperature control was engaged.

It is essential to get a rapid charge in the event that you want one when you drive and about in chilly weather.

Make sure you are familiar with the locations of public charging stations close to your place of residence and the places you shop and work.

It is crucial to keep in mind that DC fast-charging stations may get your battery back up to 80 per cent in only 30 to 45 minutes, even when the weather is below freezing.

Purchase Considerations for EVs in Terms of Winter Range

It all starts with finding the perfect electric car for your requirements and making sure you can go through the winter in it.

Most modern all-electric vehicles have an official range of more than 200 miles, so many EV drivers are not affected even in the cold.

For those who don’t know about winter range decreases before buying, older used EV vehicles may have a range of fewer than 100 miles, posing a big obstacle.

All-electric vehicles with a more excellent range or plug-in hybrids that can operate on gasoline are recommended if you have a lengthy commute or go on winter road trips.

In the case of long-distance e-vehicles, Tesla’s fast-charging network and navigation tools make route planning much more straightforward.

States and manufacturers are expanding the number of fast-charging stations other than Tesla’s along major highways, but Tesla is well ahead of the pack.

We also strongly advocate choosing EVs with cold-weather accessories, such as heated seats and steering wheels, available from several OEMs.

Instead of operating the cabin heaters, these are significantly more energy-efficient options.

Battery warmers may also be included in specific electric vehicle models to maintain the battery pack at the ideal temperature.

There are some automakers that provide more efficient heat pump heating systems that may reduce cabin heating efficiency by roughly 15° F.

The Key Takeaways

One of the notorious problems with electric cars is convincing purchasers that they can accomplish almost everything that most conventional vehicles do.

While driving in the winter, one needs to consider several factors: slush and slushy roads, salt, ice, and various types of snow.

There is no way about it: electric vehicles’ range is reduced in the cold.

The loss might be as much as 40% on freezing days, mainly if the heater is on.

There is decreased range when the battery is cold when you use the heater and when driving in snow and slush.

In cold weather, your electric car’s batteries are less efficient than in hot weather, although the impact isn’t nearly as noticeable.

But there’s still hope! Driving your EVs during Winter is possible while retaining some of that range, and here are some notes we’d like you to take

  • Always make sure to pre-condition your car battery
  • Take advantage of the Eco Mode setting
  • Take your steering wheels and seat heaters with you
  • Never go over 65 mph. 

At highway speeds, aerodynamic drag rises dramatically, resulting in a significant increase in energy consumption.

There is a point where moving 2 tons of metal requires as much energy as pushing the wind away.

  • Use the regenerative braking when you can.

The automobile is slowed down using regenerative braking rather than friction brakes, which squander energy by converting to heat and dissipating it into the environment.

However, it’s crucial to note that regeneration also returns some energy to the battery.

When it’s cold outside, it’s much more critical.

Using the car’s regen correctly may enhance the vehicle’s range by 10% to 15%.

I’ll dial up the heat on lengthy downhill rides while the battery is slowly recharging to use the extra power. It may take some practice, but it will become second nature to you once you get the hang of it.

Should you steer clear of an EV in light of these issues?

Nope!

No matter how bad your winters feel right now, electric cars still bring you that confidence in knowing you may drive them every day and be sure that you’re getting the greatest, cleanest, most pleasurable mode of transportation out there.

Joe Siregar

Hi! I'm a mini solar-powered globetrotter. Stressed, blessed, and coffee obsessed.