Does cold weather affect an EV’s range?



Just like a fuel-powered car benefits from a little extra attention in the colder months, your EV will also need some added help through the winter. If, instead of being electricians in Toronto, we were electricians in Florida, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue, but our Canadian winter temperatures will usually cause your EV to have a slightly smaller range.

Now, before you picture yourself stranded on the side of the road in -20° weather because your EV battery died, take a look at these tips recently published about maximizing your EV range during the winter!

“The biggest favor you can do for your hybrid or electric car during winter months is to provide it with a garage. A garage will almost always keep the vehicle’s batteries and passenger compartment warmer than if it sits outside, exposed to frigid winds, ice and snow. Of course, if you have a heated garage already, then all the better. However, you may want to give a second thought to heating an existing garage simply to keep your car warmer because it probably isn’t going to be the more energy efficient choice.

The next biggest favor you can do is to pre-warm or pre-condition your vehicle’s passenger compartment while it is still plugged into your charging station, allowing the car to use direct electric power to get that cabin cozy warm rather than draining battery power to do it once you’ve headed down the street. The heater for the passenger compartment in most late model hybrids and EVs can be operated while the vehicle remains plugged in, allowing you to gain some warmth without depleting the charge from your car’s battery pack. (Of course, the same principle can be applied during the heat of summer in cooling your vehicle via the air conditioning controls.)This sort of pre-driving conditioning during cold months will both warm up the vehicle cabin as well as warming up the battery to optimal temperature.

Other ways to improve your vehicle’s range during winter months includes the use of seat heaters if your car has them. Generally, they will keep you comfortably warm without the energy needed to reach the same comfort zone by heating the entire cabin. Your defroster can also be a big drain, so use it only as long as necessary and then rely on your heater to keep your windows clear. Finally, pay attention to how warm you let the passenger compartment become. Just as it is energy-wise to set your home thermostat on 67 rather than 72 in your house, you can improve energy efficiency of your EV or hybrid by not blasting the heat beyond what is truly necessary.”

Read the entire article (including tips for jump starting an EV or hybrid!).

If you’re interested in more information about EV performance in colder weather, check out our post “Your EV Can Make it Through a Canadian Winter”

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