Navigating the Chill: Tips for Using Your Electric Vehicle in Winter
By Integra Tire Canada
Winter brings unique challenges for all vehicle owners, but for electric vehicle (EV) owners, the cold weather can significantly impact performance. Understanding how to optimize your EV during these frosty months is crucial for maintaining efficiency, range, and safety.
- Precondition Your Vehicle
Why it’s important: In cold weather, batteries can lose efficiency. Preconditioning your EV while it’s still plugged in warms the battery, ensuring better performance and range. Most modern EVs come with a feature that allows you to schedule preconditioning. You can set a time for your car to start warming up each morning. This feature is particularly handy for those with a regular routine.
Tip: Set a schedule using your vehicle’s app or onboard system to start warming up while it’s still connected to the charger. You may also want to consider installing a Level 2 home charger. This higher-powered charger will make the preconditioning process faster and more effective, ensuring your EV is ready to face the frosty outdoors with minimal fuss.
- Optimize Your Driving Style
Eco-Friendly Driving: In winter, it’s even more vital to drive smoothly. Aggressive acceleration and hard braking are major energy zappers for EVs. They force the battery to deliver large amounts of power quickly or, conversely, to absorb energy rapidly during regenerative braking, which is less effective in cold temperatures. This can drastically reduce your vehicle’s range.
Tip: Accelerate gently, coast to decelerate, and use regenerative braking features to maximize efficiency. Many EVs have an ECO mode that can help you drive smoother. This not only ensures a more enjoyable driving experience but also maximizes the environmental and economic benefits of owning an EV in Canada’s winter. (Note: This driving style is effective for saving fuel in a conventional vehicle as well!)
- Keep Your Battery Charged
Battery Management: Cold weather can reduce your EV’s range by up to 40%. Lithium-ion batteries, which power most EVs, have optimal operating temperatures. When the mercury drops, these batteries can’t deliver the same range as they do in milder conditions. It’s not unusual to experience up to a 40% reduction in range in extreme cold.
Tip: Keep your battery level between 20% and 80% to maintain optimal battery health and range. Consistently charging to full capacity or draining to very low levels can strain the battery, especially in cold conditions. Some EVs provide information on battery health. Keep an eye on this and book an appointment with your local Integra Tire dealer if you notice significant changes.
- Use Climate Control Wisely
Heating Systems: The heating system in EVs can be a significant energy drain. The way you use the climate control system in your electric vehicle can have a significant impact on your battery’s range, especially in the frigid temperatures of Canadian winters. Heating the interior of a vehicle requires a considerable amount of energy, and in an EV, this energy comes directly from the battery that also powers the vehicle.
Tip: Pre-heat your car while it’s plugged in. Once on the road, use heated seats and steering wheels instead of the cabin heater to conserve energy. Ensure that your vehicle’s heating system is well-maintained. A poorly functioning system can drain the battery faster. With the right strategies, you can stay warm and comfortable without compromising on your EV’s performance in the Canadian winter.
- Pay Attention to Tire Pressure
Why It Matters: Low tire pressure can reduce range and efficiency. Cold air reduces tire pressure, so regular checks are essential. This becomes even more important for electric vehicles during Canadian winters. Cold temperatures can significantly affect tire pressure, leading to decreased efficiency and safety.
Tip: Check and adjust your tire pressure regularly to ensure it matches the manufacturer’s recommended levels. Maintaining the correct tire pressure is a simple yet effective way to enhance the performance of your EV in winter. Not only does it help in conserving battery life and extending your driving range, but it also ensures your safety on slippery winter roads.
Regular checks and adjustments are key to keeping your electric journey smooth and efficient. For the best care of your EV this winter, book an appointment with your local Integra Tire. Our expertise in tire maintenance will ensure your vehicle is well-prepared to handle the rigors of Canadian winter driving.
Questions? Our Advisors are Happy to Help!If you have questions about anything you've read in this resource page, contact your nearest Integra Tire dealer for more information. We are passionate in assisting our customers make the best choices to keep their vehicles in tip-top shape and keep their families safe.
About UsIntegra Tire is a network of independent tire, automotive, and maintenance dealers across Canada.