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The truth about the range of electric cars in winter. Charging stations are also affected

Wednesday, November 09 2022, 12:21 am

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The efficiency of electric cars is affected by very low temperatures: it affects the performance of the battery, so the range is reduced and you will have to charge it more often.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t drive an electric car if the thermometers show negative temperatures. For several years, Norway’s electric car market far outstripped that of any other country, despite the extreme winters. In other words, in countries with a relatively mild climate, the season shouldn’t be a big deal, according to autoexpress.co.uk.

Some manufacturers like Renault, provide online calculators that allow you to find out what range you should expect when temperatures drop. For example, in the case of a Renault Zoe, you can expect a range of 376 kilometers after a full charge at a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius. If the temperature drops to 5 degrees Celsius and you drive with the heater on, the range drops to 300 kilometers, a reduction of 20%, according to Renault. At -5 degrees Celsius, the range drops to 244 kilometers.

Another important aspect is that the larger the battery, the greater the risk of losing range.

Low temperatures negatively affect electric car batteries because they rely on chemical reactions to store and release electricity. Lithium ion batteries, most commonly used in electric and hybrid cars, work when lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode. Cold slows down this process and limits battery performance. The result can be a dramatic loss of usable range.

However, for many drivers, even 244 kilometers will be enough. If you have short car journeys and can recharge your car at work or at home, you can also take advantage of preconditioning: warm up the car, defrost the windows and turn on the heated seats before leaving in the morning.

While there are no additional risks when charging the car in rain or snow, another downside to cold is that the charging speed at public stations can be slower. Tesla admits that extreme weather conditions can lead to slow charging speeds at its Supercharger stations.

Electric cars are generally heavier than petrol or diesel cars, so they can be more difficult to control. However, all drivers should drive with caution in rain or snow, regardless of whether they are behind the wheel of an electric car or not. This disadvantage can be mitigated by a good set of winter tires.

The best tips for maximizing autonomy in winter

Charge and heat the car

If you can, plug the car into the charger in the morning and then warm it up. In this way, the electricity grid is used to heat the car, instead of reducing the range of the car.

Use heated seats only and turn off the heating

The heated seats and steering wheel of an electric car consume far less energy than a fan or air conditioner.

Go slower

Although it goes without saying, it should be noted that, like speed the higher it is, the more the range of the car decreases. Ideally, drive slowly and use the car’s Eco setting.

Use satellite navigation

Satellite navigation systems in most electric vehicles can chart the most efficient route to your destination to cover fewer kilometers and avoid congestion.

Maximize regenerative braking

Increasing the level of regenerative braking in the electric car can help capture energy that would otherwise be lost when slowing or leaning. Be careful, however, in snow or ice conditions, such a system can cause wheel spin. It is ideal for turning it off in extreme weather conditions.

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