Six Tips For Driving Your EV in Winter - We Power Your Car
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Six Tips For Driving Your EV in Winter

Six tips for driving your EV in winter

It’s no secret; most cars don’t perform well in winter. Whether you own an electric, petrol or diesel car, cold weather has a negative impact on us all.

And while electric vehicles generally perform just as well or even better than gas-powered cars during the winter, many factors, including cold temperatures, icy roads, and snow, can affect how well your electric car will function.

Decreased range (fewer miles out of a full charge on your electric car) is an unfortunate outcome of this winter weather.

But try not to stress. We have some useful tips on how you can take care of your electric vehicle in the winter, with a focus on maximising range.

Why do electric cars have less range in winter?

It’s all to do with lithium-ion batteries inside EVs. Why? Because in a similar manner to mobile phones, when the temperature plummets, it affects the battery chemistry, decreasing its efficiency. This drop in efficiency correlates to a drop in EV range.

For example, the Tesla Model 3’s official range is 374 miles. However, when tested in winter, its range fell short by 24.8%, totalling 281 miles.

If you are one to suffer from range anxiety, you could opt to invest in a heat pump to help maintain your EV’s range in the colder months. But there are also cheaper ways to maximise your EV range, including keeping your car light and taking advantage of regenerative braking.

But try not to worry too much. Norway is the leading country for EV adoption, and with severe winters being prevalent in the country, there should be minimal cause for concern when driving your EV in the UK during the winter months.

1. Use The ECO MODE Setting

Eco-mode is an useful feature that reduces power output in electric and hybrid cars, and it’s hugely beneficial during the winter months. It’ll help you maintain lower speeds, extend your battery range, and save you money.

Every EV has a slightly different function to their eco mode, but generally, they all work to reduce power consumption and increase mileage by reducing the energy supply to the drive motor and high energy consumption features such as cabin heaters.

Eco modes can make your car safer to drive in winter too. By reducing the power to the motor, the vehicle accelerates slower, which reduces the possibility of wheel spin on ice or snow-covered roads.

2. Use indoor parking facilities where possible

Try to keep your electric vehicle garaged or in an enclosed parking space to ensure your EV battery doesn’t get even colder than it needs to be.

A super-chilled battery won’t perform as well or take as much charge as a warmer one, so if you drive your EV in seriously cold climates, it will help performance to keep your car parked in a garage. If you can’t do that, try to park in a spot in direct sunlight during the day. You’ll have a warmer battery and cabin when you get back in your car later – for free!

3. Check your tyre pressure

Tyre pressure drops as the in-car temperature falls, leading to greater rolling resistance and reduced mileage range. It’s good practice to check your tyres every month anyhow (including tyre pressure and tread depth), but it’s particularly important when the outside temperatures change considerably with the seasons. You could preserve your EV range by doing so!

Alternatively, you could invest in specialist winter tyres. Despite your four-wheel drive, EVs can still be susceptible to skidding. This is where winter tyres come in. With more grooves, traction is increased, allowing your EV to have more grip on snow and ice!

4. Precondition

You may be wondering – how do you heat an electric car in winter?

Preconditioning is the answer.

A unique only-to-EVs feature, preconditioning allows you to conserve energy and heat both the interior and the battery with a scheduled “start” time from the car’s control/charging setting when your EV is plugged in.

Your car will therefore be at the right temp when you start your drive without using your battery capacity. It’s super convenient to do this right in your garage. Take advantage of being plugged in at home, work or around town. Most modern EVs let you use an app or your key fob to start heating the car before you get in.

When you precondition your EV, you won’t have to heat the vehicle using your battery’s reserves, so your EV will operate more efficiently, which means you’ll get back some of those miles. Not to mention how the inside of your car will be warm and ready whenever you decide to leave for your trip (so you won’t have to worry about getting into a chilly car during those cold winter mornings).

In some situations, you might not have the option to plug in your EV and precondition, so it’s essential to check the total range before leaving and leave an extra cushion for your trips.

Many EVs come fitted with a pre-timed heating system that can be programmed to come on while the battery is still charging, just before starting your journey. This will warm the battery for optimal performance (known as preconditioning) and make the car nice and toasty so that you don’t need to blast out the heating while driving. Preconditioning prior to departure is a great way to preserve your range.

5. Be smart when heating your car

Using the car’s heater is a pretty inefficient use of your car’s electricity. And if you forget to precondition your EV before a journey, our advice is to try and heat yourself rather than the empty space around you to preserve energy.

By this, we mean you’re better off turning down the car’s main heater and cranking the heated seats and steering wheel up if you have them. Likewise, if you have a heated windscreen – use that rather than the blower to defrost.

Make the most of these convenient accessories to keep toasty and save range in the winter.

6. Drive Conservatively

Avoid sudden acceleration and braking, and don’t drive at excessive speeds. All these factors affect the range of your EV, but more importantly, this is just good practice when driving any car in inclement weather.

In the wintertime, reduce energy loss by driving conservatively and limiting energy use in the cabin. This helps with range and efficiency all year round, but even more so during colder months. Drive at moderate speeds, in addition to limiting frequent and rapid acceleration and deceleration.

Purchasing a smart home EV charger is crucial to ensure your car performs optimally over winter. This will allow you to schedule charges when the electricity is cheaper. The best thing – you’ll be able to schedule charges from the comfort and warmth of your home via an app. Having a smart EV charger installed at your home will enable you to easily precondition your car whilst plugged in each morning without draining your battery and range.

Our expert advisers are standing by to take your calls on 03333 44 96 99. Alternatively, you can access our webchat service on our contact page or email us at [email protected]. 

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Tethered charger

This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.

Socketed charger

This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.

Spread over a 60 month period.

Tenants and homeowners are eligible for finance.

You decide the amount of months.

Minimum of £1000.

We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 13.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.

Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.

Underground cable

We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.

Overhead cable

We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.

Standard Installation
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.

Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.

Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.

A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation. 

What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.

If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.

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