Does cold weather affect electric cars? NimbleFins explains.

Cold weather can affect how your electric vehicle (EV) performs. Here, we find out why that’s the case and the steps you can take to minimise draining your EV’s battery.

How does cold weather affect electric vehicles?

EV batteries are sluggish in colder months. This is because cooler temperatures slow down the chemical process that enables the battery to release electricity. The result is a loss in range so if you’re planning a long journey, be mindful that a single charge might not get you as far as you expect.

You may also notice your EV takes slightly longer to charge. Again, this is because the battery is less efficient in colder weather. EV batteries perform at their best between 20°c and 40°c .

Should I worry about poorer EV performance in winter?

Colder temperatures could mean your EV loses about 20% of its usual range. For example, if you would normally achieve 250 miles on a single charge, you may only get 200 miles when the weather is cooler.

Depending on your circumstances and how many miles you drive each day, this loss of range shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Especially if you’re able to charge up at work or have ready access to a charging point. However, don’t forget that if you do have the chance to charge, it might take longer than usual.

How can I maintain EV efficiency in winter?

If your EV has a heat pump, the pump efficiently converts cold air into warm air which quickly raises your car’s ambient temperature. It also means there’s less strain on the battery, helping maintain its performance.

However, if you’ve already got an electric car, here’s how you can minimise range loss over the winter months:

  • Keep your car in a garage – not practical for everyone but if you do have somewhere you can keep your EV overnight, that can help if temperatures plummet.
  • Preheat your car while it’s charging – preheating your electric car while it’s still plugged in and charging, means you won’t compromise on range as you won’t be using stored energy.
  • Focus on what you heat – rather than heating the whole cabin which uses up a lot of energy, consider heating specific items; for example, if you’ve got heated seats or a heated steering wheel.
  • Drive consistently – sudden braking or acceleration takes more effort while consistent driving means you’ll be able to get the most of your EV’s range.
  • Keep tyres properly inflated – deflated tyres increases resistance which means your car needs to use more effort to move, draining its battery.
  • Engage your car’s eco-mode – this will ensure your EV works as efficiently as it can, reducing the energy used in interior features such as heaters.

Eco-mode will also usually lead to slower acceleration, but you’ll use less battery power overall and maximise your range.

It’s worth bearing in mind that not all EVs will experience the same drops in performance. Plus, with improvements in technology, the average range for EVs is likely to keep increasing, offsetting any range loss because of the cold.

For more information about EVs, head to our electric car hub. We’ve put together guides that can help you make an informed decision about whether an EV is right for you, including:


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