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How Does The Cold Weather Affect Electric Vehicles?

In this article we look at whether winter conditions impact an electric vehicles (EVs) efficiency.

Recent motor trade figures report a 14.5% increase in new electric car registrations, motorists do ask if there is a lower mileage range per charge in cold weather as concerns are raised about driving in sub-zero temperatures.

Despite these concerns, motorists can drive EVs in sub-zero temperatures. Norway experiences extreme winters but has one of the highest uptakes of electric vehicles globally, online calculators can work out mileage per full charge when temperatures start to drop.

So how does cold weather impact EV Efficiency?
Batteries rely on chemical reactions to produce and store electricity. The most common batteries for EV and hybrid cars are Lithium-ion batteries. The movement of Lithium ions from the anode to the cathode is slowed down when cold. This can restrict the battery’s performance and lead to a loss of usable range.

Vehicles need to use more electricity to maintain battery temperature, so pre-conditioning a vehicle for the journey by defrosting windows and heating the car before setting off will condition the battery to reduce energy loss.

Warm batteries will limit energy loss and enhance performance; however, a heat pump will probably be necessary for EVs based in low-temperature regions.

There are no dangers charging an EVs in rain or snow, but low temperatures slow down the charging speed from public rapid chargers. Tesla admits slower charging speeds at its supercharging stations due to extreme weather, other networks have similar issues.

EVs are heavier than internal combustion engine vehicles which are generally harder to control on roads during winter months.

As probably stated in your private or motor trade insurance policy supplied by your local insurance broker, regardless of the vehicle, always drive carefully and ensure you have a good set of tyres, keep the vehicle maintained at all times, top up windscreen washer and check tyre pressure regularly.

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Different factors can influence an EVs average range in harsh winter conditions. These factors include battery configuration, the industry model, heated elements within the vehicle, luggage carried and storing the vehicle in a warm place will also help reheat the battery in cold conditions.

Some Insurance brokers maybe able to advise on the best models for cold weather performance, some EV models have an extended range which may be more suitable for winter months.

To help extend vehicle range; EV owners can pre-heat a vehicle while it’s plugged in to utilise power, drivers can also maximize regenerative braking when slowing or coasting to capture energy otherwise vehicles will lose this energy but be cautious in icy conditions. Drive at low speeds and use an eco-setting where possible to improve efficiency.

Finally, plan your journey and use navigation systems like Google maps, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto to find the most efficient routes.