Weather conditions can have an impact on battery performance in an electric vehicle. Check out our Top Tips on how to get the best out of your EV fleet during the winter months.
1. Warm your vehicle whilst it’s still on charge.
An EV Battery works best at temperatures of around 20°C. As ambient temperatures decrease, so too does battery performance, and therefore the range of your EV. Preconditioning your vehicle while still connected to the grid will warm the battery and the cabin to optimum temperature without drawing energy from your battery.
2. Use Eco Mode.
Most EVs will have some form of ‘Eco Mode’, which limits the energy and lowers power to the drive motor when used. In winter, this provides two distinct benefits. Firstly, less power goes to the engine so you maximise battery efficiency and driving range. Secondly, this will lower acceleration, resulting in less wheel spin and improved vehicle stability in icy conditions.
3. Heat yourself, not the vehicle.
Once you have preconditioned the entire cab, you should be at a comfortable temperature when you start your journey. However, EVs do not run as hot as their ICE counterparts, so less “spare” heat is available in the cabin once you set off. If you start to feel cold, try restricting the heating to just yourself. You can do this by turning vents off or heating the wheel and seat if these settings are available. This is less demanding on the battery and will increase range as a result.
4. Be aware that vehicle charging can take longer.
In winter, charging time is considerably longer due to the chemical reaction that happens in the battery where the transfer of energy occurs. The further we stray from the ideal temperature of 20°C, the slower this process will be. Plan your day around this by charging overnight, setting off with a full battery and making sure to allow extra time for a top-up during the day should you need it.
5. Check your Tyres
A lower air temperature can result in lower tyre pressure. Check your tyres regularly in winter to ensure that they’re adequately inflated, as an underinflated tyre will increase drag and use more energy. If the weather is particularly icy or snowy, using winter tyres will improve vehicle safety. However, winter tyres will also increase energy consumption, so it’s essential to be aware that they will affect your range before setting off on a long trip in the snow.
6. Don’t let your battery charge run too low.
Low temperatures can reduce EV battery capacity, again due to the chemical reactions of energy transfer in the battery. One study by Geotab found that at -15°C, some EVs dropped to just 54% of their rated range. Keeping your battery charged above a decent threshold will keep your EV in its peak operating conditions, so try to recharge your battery if it starts to drop below ~25%.
7. Drive Conservatively.
Driving economically is more efficient and much safer in winter conditions. Adopting a smoother driving style with less harsh braking and acceleration can reduce demand on the battery, helping you get the best out of your vehicle range. Driving conservatively also minimises the risk of skidding on wet or icy surfaces in winter.
8. Plan Ahead
Plan your route around charge points, making sure you can charge your vehicle during the trip if necessary. Leave plenty of time for your journey, and if you are going on a long trip, make sure you take additional supplies such as a charged phone, extra warm clothes, hot drinks, and food.