How EVs handle hot and cold weather
Electric cars in hot weather
As electric vehicle batteries don’t deliver the same range as conventional cars, their performance can be compromised in extreme weather. Warm temperatures can put a strain on battery and cause it to lose power which results in the car covering less ground.
How to use your electric car in hot weather
- Air condition the car while it’s still charging, so it keeps cool and doesn’t use excess battery.
- Leave the window open to let cool air in – as long as it’s safe to do so.
- Accelerate and brake smoothly. Maintain a certain speed on the power gauge and without accelerating above it: this can also help to preserve engine life.
- Park in the shade whenever possible, to minimise the electric car’s automatic thermal management system being a drain on the battery.
Electric cars in cold weather
Cold weather can affect all cars – diesel, petrol, hybrid and electric. In terms of EVs, their batteries can become less efficient in cold conditions, because temperatures directly impact on the electric motor, which struggles to convert electricity into motion. Bear in mind that this also happens to petrol-fuelled cars: when engine oil gets colder, it influences the vehicle’s fuel economy.
As a result, the range of an electric car may drop along with the thermometer. Studies in Northern America and Canada saw EV ranges decline, with batteries covering just 50-60 miles in cold weather, compared to the normal 80-mile range. But that should be fine for short range commutes and daily city use, especially if you run your car effectively.
How to use your electric car in cold weather
- Heat your car while it is charging on grid energy. Also known as preconditioning, this can be done with apps for some models of EV.
- Accelerate and brake smoothly. As with hot weather, accelerating, speeding and braking too quickly are all great ways to drain your battery.
- Get heated seats. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to look at heated seating options, as they’re more energy efficient than heating your car’s whole cabin.
- Wrap up warm. Old school but effective, the best way to protect your battery and stay warm is layer your clothing and wear a hat, scarf and driving gloves.
- Park in an enclosed or heated space. Bonus tip: your battery will also charge faster in a warmer location.
Ultimately, with a little care and consideration, your electric vehicle will safely take you all the places a liquid fuelled car can. And it’s easy enough to keep your EV in roadworthy shape.