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Maximizing EV Range in Cold Weather

If you want to retain as much range in your electric vehicle as possible in the cold winter months this article is for you! Cold temperatures slow chemical reactions within the battery and wet, snowy roads make it harder to move forward, but there are many ways to reduce the impact of winter conditions on your EV’s mileage range.

1. Precondition the car before driving

Starting your EV and turning on climate control while the car is still plugged in means that energy to heat the car is being drawn from the power grid instead of the battery. Additionally, the battery is also warmed while the EV is plugged in which allows the battery to be utilized at its ideal operating temperature, where it can function most efficiently, thereby maximizing the mileage range.

Note for Tesla drivers: Cold temperatures also slow charging speed. While not an issue for overnight charging, this can turn into a slight delay while traveling. Tesla’s Supercharging V3 update heats up the battery while the driver is approaching a Supercharger. This function ensures the battery will be at the optimal temperature for charging upon arrival at a Tesla Supercharger.

2. Use seat and steering wheel heaters

Seat and steering wheel heaters don’t use nearly as much energy as cabin heating does, yet having these features enabled provides a surprising boost of warmth for the driver and passengers. Heating the entire cabin is one of the biggest energy draws on an electric vehicle’s battery in the winter; reducing climate control while staying warm will make for a comfortable ride with maximum mileage.

3. Tire conditions make a difference

Using winter tires in good condition provides traction to propel the vehicle which relieves the battery of some work. Keeping optimal tire pressure is also important in reducing the amount of energy required from the battery. Tires can lose 1-2% air pressure every month with additional pressure lost in dropping temperatures. Monitoring tires in winter months is especially useful for getting the most out of each charge.

4. Aerodynamics

Brushing off any snow that has accumulated is always a good idea but particularly helpful for electric vehicles. Battery powered vehicles don’t produce heat from an engine so any snow that has settled on the hood won’t automatically melt and fly off once the vehicle is in motion. Driving a car without snow or debris piled on top maintains the designed aerodynamics for optimal energy conservation.

5. General practices still apply

Don’t forget about general range preserving practices, they still apply in the cold months! Use eco-driving techniques such as minimizing hard starts, reducing traveling speed, and maximizing regenerative braking when possible. Minimizing vehicle weight also helps to reduce the energy needed to propel the vehicle, so remove any extra heavy items you don’t need in your car.

Do you know of other ways to maximize electric vehicle mileage range in cold weather? Let us know by commenting below!