Electric vehicles (EVs) are an outstanding alternative to gas-powered vehicles. They can help with everything from saving money on fuel to being environmentally friendly. However, in the winter months, cold conditions cause EVs to not perform at their peak. Whether it is a hybrid-electric car or a fully electric car, a frigid winter can affect the life of the battery in the vehicle.
Why Do Elective Vehicles Struggle in the Winter?
The reason EVs struggle in winter is because the battery has to work much harder in extreme temperature conditions. Cold temperatures make it harder for your alternator to keep your battery charged, thus decreasing the mileage range.
Another reason cold weather is a huge battery drain on EVs is because they don't have the same heating process as a traditional vehicle. A gas-powered vehicle can generate residual heat from the engine that can help warm up components. Because EVs do not have the same components, they rely heavily on the battery.
Whether using a hybrid or all-electric vehicle, these conditions can tax your mileage range. According to the US Department of Energy, the winter mileage range on EVs can degrade anywhere from 30-40%.
Tips to Improve Battery Life
What can you do differently to maximize the range for your vehicle during the winter months? Below are a few tips to help maximize the battery life of your vehicle.
1. Monitor Your Speed
EV mileage range can heavily rely upon your driving habits. Gradually accelerating instead of getting up to speed quickly can help extend your range. In addition to gradually accelerating, driving even 5 miles per hour slower than your typical speeds can help. Many EVs also have an "Eco Mode." This lets the internal computer dictate how much power is sent to the motor, resulting in a better mileage range.
2. Minimize Accessories Usage
Many current EV models offer a wide variety of features that make them appealing. Keep in mind that many of these accessories use power and can drain the battery. Limiting the usage of accessories such as heated seats or USB-powered chargers to help the cause. Lowering the cabin heat and blower speed can help increase your mileage range as well.
3. Check Your Tire Pressure
During the winter months, pressure on tires can significantly decrease. When the air pressure is not at optimum levels, resistance increases on the tires. This results in the battery using more power to accelerate the vehicle. If your car does not have an automatic pressure sensor, manually check and fill your tires with air often.
4. Warm-up Your Car
While warming up your fuel-powered car can be detrimental to fuel efficiency, allowing your EV to idle for 30 seconds to a few minutes can help your battery efficiency. In hybrid vehicles, the battery is used in addition to the fuel-powered engine to warm up.
If you have an all-electric vehicle, many models have a "pre-condition" function. This particular feature allows you to warm up components in the vehicle before driving. These can be performed while simultaneously charging the car. Paying attention to this can increase greatly increase battery life.
Lastly, parking your car undercover, or in the direct sunlight can help heat the car quicker.
Prepare Your EV for the Winter
Electric cars can struggle mightily in the winter elements. Following these few tips, as well as performing routine maintenance on your vehicle can help maximize your battery life.
One additional thing you can try? Defensive driving. In general, defensive driving habits can translate to better mileage range, and many of the same ideas used in gasoline vehicles can be applied to electric-powered vehicles. Ready to get started? Sign up for your Aceable course today.