Winter Weather and your EV Range

EV Range Winter Weather

With winter here we thought it’s a great time to talk about cold weather and the (very real) battery limitations impacting EV’s.

Drivers in colder climates certainly have to deal with more problems during the long winter; limited visibility, icy roads, snow drifts, whiteouts, dead batteries, etc. However, EV owners face an extra challenge:  limited driving range. 

To start, one of the significant yet most obvious reasons why EVs suffer in the cold is due to the fact that heating your cabin consumes electricity, but you gotta keep warm, right?

Now, that being said some electric cars handle better in frigid conditions than others. According to research by Recurrent Energy, they looked at data from thousands of EVs and determined the drop in range in a 70 degree day versus 20-30 degree day. Some models provided a "verified winter range" while others came up with an estimated figure. 

All the models studied dealt with some loss of range in cold temperatures. As earlier noted this is due primarily to the fact an electric car relies on its battery to heat its cabin and passengers. This is  energy being spent that could otherwise extend a vehicle's range, while a standard gas engine generates heat as a byproduct. Also noteworthy is that chemical processes within the battery also typically slow down in cold weather, further limiting range somewhat. 

Of course, not all cars can be expected to perform equally. The Tesla Model Y and Model X SUVs experienced a 15% drop in range while the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4 had a considerably higher 30% drop.

Now, there are a few ways to make your EV ownership a little easier during the winter months according to Recurrent.  Leveraging such features as the preconditioning option can significantly help.  This refers to the heating (or cooling) of your EV's interior while charging. Preconditioning your car before a drive will ensure that your EV's stored battery energy will not be used. In other words, it will pull the energy from the charger/grid to warm your car, not your battery. Leaving your battery charging levels intact, and more available range. Additionally, in lieu of blasting your heat on full, leverage your seat and steering wheel warmers as well. These will use less battery and help to keep you toasty warm during those long drives when every mile counts and alleviate any range anxiety you may have.

Got any other winter driving tips?  We’d love to learn them!!! Email us at info@ecokruz and let us know! 

*Photo courtesy of Popular mechanics, Crisara, 1/13/22.

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