Getting the best out of your EV during the winter

EV Charging

The winter season has arrived with cold weather and icy roads. However, this can affect your electric vehicle (EV) in a negative way. It is even more important during the winter season to maintain your vehicle, if you want your car and batteries in top condition for high performance winter driving. 

1. The cold affects your battery 

The majority of EVs are equipped with two batteries - the main high voltage lithium-ion battery that’s used to drive the motor, and a back-up 12V battery to maintain the vehicle’s systems like heaters, air conditioning, electric windows, and heated seats.  

The freezing weather affects both of the batteries and slows down the chemical reactions in the battery, thus reducing battery performance. This can result in reduced driving range. Although, many modern EVs are equipped with a heat pump to improve the range in winter conditions.  

2. Better performance with a preheated car 

Nothing is better than a preheated car when you get out in the cold. If you plug in your car to charge, you are able to preheat your car without even draining the batteries! This will warm up your batteries for a better battery performance as well as making the car ride a more pleasant journey. Most of the modern EVs have a remote app that lets you do this from the cosiness of your home.  

3. If possible, use a garage 

Not everyone has the luxury of storing their car in a garage, but if you do, use it! If your car is stored inside instead of out in the cold, the battery performance will be improved. This is because the heat in your garage makes your car charge faster and ensures that the charge of the battery lasts longer. If you have the choice, you should always choose the garage!  

4. Have the right amount of power in your battery  

For faster charging and a better range when you begin your journey, some cars can preheat it’s battery cells. But in order for the car to preheat the battery, a certain amount of battery capacity is required. It is not a problem when your car is plugged in, but something to think about when you are parking without being able to charge. The % required for preheating your battery varies but generally about 20% and above. CTEK recommends as well to not always charge your EV to 100%, because this can damage your battery, to charge about 90% is recommended. But if you are going on a longer trip, you can of course charge your battery to 100%.  

5. Use the eco mode 

The eco mode in all EVs has the same purpose – to provide better range by using less energy. If you limit the energy supply to the drive motor and the heating elements in the car, you can save a lot of energy. This can maximise your battery efficiency when it is cold outside. You should also know that when you are driving in eco mode, your car is accelerating a little slower, making your car journey safer when the roads are icy.  

6. Observe the regeneration 

If the roads are slippery, it is wise to lower the regeneration of your car. If you drive at the highest level and let off the accelerator, there is a risk that the car will lose grip due to heavy regeneration. If you have different modes of regeneration, choose the lowest or the middle one during wintertime. By regeneration are you able to get some more energy to the battery, but you should not compromise your safety by maximising the battery all year. 

7. Charge your battery a little extra  

You should always make sure that your car has a little extra power in the battery, if something unexpected would happen. If you are going for a shorter trip charge your battery up to 90% and for a longer journey, charge it up to 100%. You never know if it is going to be a road closure, an accident or anything else that will get you stuck out in the cold.  

8. Tyre pressure is important  

When you are switching to winter tyres, make sure that you also check the tyre pressure. If you have the right tyre pressure, it will improve the range while maximising grip and minimizing wear. If you are not sure what tyre pressure your car should have, check your car's manual, or look for a small sticker that is often visible when the driver's door is opened. 

To drive and charge an EV in freezing conditions is therefore no problem, just keep these tips in mind for a worry-free motoring this winter.