How Cold Weather Affects Electric Vehicles
It’s normal to consider winter’s impact on conventional gas-fueled vehicles. You might not have considered its effect on electric vehicles (EVs), however. Here are just a couple ways that chilly weather affects EVs — and some helpful tips for optimizing your vehicle’s range during the winter.
How EVs lose in cold weather
Recently, Idaho National Laboratory researchers completed research for a comprehensive EV Project, analyzing 10 million miles of data from EVs. The researchers found that cold weather can result in a 25-percent or more reduction of range for electric plug-in vehicles. In particular, this group found that Chevy Volts operating in Chicago winters experienced a 29-percent lower range than those driven in the same location in spring.
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How to maximize your EV’s range
EV manufacturers are starting to refine and implement temperature-control technology like battery heaters to improve these model’s efficiency in cold temperatures. But what if you don’t have a model equipped with this feature? There are still some practical steps you can take to help improve your vehicle’s range.
Precondition your EV
One of the best ways to help increase range is to heat the cabin and/or battery before unplugging your EV. Some vehicle models even let you do this via a smartphone or watch app, per the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Take advantage of economy mode
Many electric models come with an economy mode that helps boost fuel economy. It’s a great way to help your EV conserve energy in the winter.
Take it slow
Avoid speeding, as well as hard braking. Both driving behaviors can take a toll on your auto’s range.
Use accessories the smart way
Per Energy.gov, use seat warmers in lieu of the cabin heater, to help conserve energy while increasing range. It’s also a good idea to limit utilizing other accessories like the AC, heating, and entertainment technology since these features drain the EV’s power.
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Whitney Russell is a current resident of Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming on Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not adventuring through the exciting world of car news, she can be found hiking with her husband and their Labrador, motorcycling, reorganizing and/or decorating some corner of the world (most likely in yellow), researching random things, hanging out with her hoard of cute nephews and nieces, and escaping into a great movie or story. See more articles by Whitney.