It’s a great time to drive electric. From Tesla to the Nissan LEAF, there are many great car options available. And if trucks are more your speed, Rivian recently debuted the R1S and R1T at the LA Auto Show. But if you’re considering buying an electric vehicle (EV) and live in an area that’s cold and/or snowy, you may be wondering if electric vehicles and winter weather go together. Here are four tips from the experts to consider.
EV batteries and the cold
Have you ever noticed that your cell phone battery dies faster when you’re out in the cold? The same can be true for EV batteries in extreme cold. However, cold weather also impacts fuel economy in gas-powered vehicles so don’t worry too much. With EV vehicles, avoid range anxiety by keeping an eye on the temperature and be aware of the distance you plan on driving. If the temperature is below freezing and you’re driving a long distance, map out charging stations along your route. There are many resources available to find charging stations such as PlugShare, Plug In America and ChargeHub to name a few.
Precondition your battery for winter
The majority of EVs on the market today offer a feature called battery preconditioning. Preconditioning or “warming up” allows an EV owner to schedule a departing time while the vehicle is still plugged in. The vehicle then heats the battery before you depart which helps increase the range. Some EV models preheat the cabin in addition to preheating the vehicle’s battery. Check with your favorite EV manufacturer for specific details.
Drive in Eco mode
Generally speaking, Eco mode enables the vehicle to operate more efficiently. This feature can be found in gas-powered vehicles as well as electric vehicles. It’s similar to using the low battery setting on your cell phone. Eco mode cuts back on unnecessary energy usage in areas such as acceleration in order to conserve battery power. Your EV’s ride may feel slower due to lower energy usage, but it will extend your battery’s life and alleviate your range anxiety.
Use caution when driving in winter conditions
No matter if your car is gas-powered or electric, conserve energy by driving at a modest pace and avoid power-thirsty bouts of acceleration. Less throttle equates to less power used to propel the vehicle. Likewise, the slower a car is traveling the less wind resistance it faces. When driving in wintry conditions be aware of your vehicle’s drivetrain. Some higher-end EVs have dual motor all-wheel-drive, but most have single gear rear wheel drive to propel the vehicle so use winter tires when traveling in winter conditions, plan for slippery terrain while driving, and use your vehicle’s Eco mode.
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