When winter draws nearer and nearer, electric vehicle owners start to think about how to prepare their cars for the weather.
A seasoned driver may know what to expect and do while charging and driving, but for those who recently joined the EV fleet, what do they need to know?
Once you’ve stocked your vehicle’s trunks with ice melt and scrapers, here are some key tips for keeping your EVs running smoothly once the winter drops, as per Green Fleet Magazine.
Expect less mileage and slower charge times
Winter weather could change how we drive, but it also impacts the vehicle itself.
In EVs, you’ll likely notice this in the lithium-ion battery that powers your vehicles. Cold temperatures affect the chemical and physical reactions that drive the batteries to work, which results in longer charging times.
One study showed that at 32°F, an EV battery absorbs 36% less energy than when it was charged for the same amount of time at 77°F.
Cold weather also reduces an electric vehicle’s driving range since it will have to use energy to regulate battery and cabin temperatures.
If drivers make long-distance travel, it is crucial to be aware of the EV’s battery range and, if necessary, where they can access public charging stations on their route.
In addition, it will also be helpful to plan longer charge times, whether they are replenishing at home, at the roadside, or elsewhere.
Use preconditioning features
Preconditioning can be done for the battery and the cabin. Most electric vehicles present preconditioning features that optimize battery life in extreme temperatures and help keep drivers comfortable.
Cabin preconditioning lets drivers pre-cool or pre-heat the vehicle’s interior to an optimum temperature before hitting the road.
Instead of getting in the car and waiting for the cabin to heat up and the windows to defrost, drivers can start the preconditioning process ahead of time.
If this process is started when the EV is still plugged in, the driver could start their route on a full battery. Additionally, since the cabin will be at a comfortable temperature, it will take less energy on the journey as well.
Some EVs have a battery preconditioning feature that regulates the battery’s temperature for optimum charging by the end of the trip.
Proper battery preconditioning could extend the EV’s range in colder months and preserves the batteries for long-term use. However, not all vehicles will automatically do it.
There are some EVs that will require drivers to start the preconditioning process through an application or manual system, so it is essential to double-check how this works on your EV.
Optimize wearable parts
One thing that displays the convenience of EVs is that they have about 30% fewer parts than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. This generally results in less maintenance, less cost of ownership, and less winter prep work.
However, while fewer moving parts and systems require regular maintenance, drivers should still keep in mind to check and replace the standard “wearable” pieces of their vehicles before cold weather arrives.
Tires can make a difference in driving through winter, so ensure that your tires are inflated properly (which provides less rolling resistance and extend EV range) and have enough tread.
Depending on your location, you may also consider swapping all-purpose tires for a version suitable for winter.
It is also a good idea to check all headlight bulbs and windshield wipers are working properly, which can be invaluable when you drive through snow and sleet.
Driving through the winter season is hardly a great time. Still, with a thorough understanding of EV performance and preparation, you can be sure that your vehicle is well-equipped to handle cold temperatures and snowy roads efficiently and safely.