ChargePoint’s tips for maintaining EVs in the winter months

As temperatures fall, maintaining EV range and battery capacity can be determined by how drivers charge and use their cars to achieve the most efficiency

As winter rolls around, drivers are experiencing colder weather conditions and, in some parts of the world, snow is falling at quite an early stage in the season. 

This isn’t a problem that is unique to electric vehicles (EVs) as internal combustion engines (ICEs) can also suffer from the cold and become a pain to defrost in the morning before a trip to work. It’s also worth noting that the colder climates can have a significant effect on efficiency, meaning less miles per gallon (MPGs) and a shorter range per charge. 

Thankfully, the US charging solution provider, ChargePoint has provided some useful tips that we believe can be used by drivers and businesses in general as they plan to keep things moving throughout these uncertain weather conditions. 

Drivers must be conscious of weather conditions

As the weather changes, it’s easy to forget how this affects the condition on an EV. As temperatures, efficiency can be affected if the car is operating cold. Research by Rivus Group suggests that EVs perform best at temperatures ranging from zero degrees to 20 degrees, with efficiency increasing as the temperature rises up the range. 

Meanwhile, ambient temperatures can affect the temperatures inside the car, which influence drivers and passengers to turn on the heating or air conditioning. 

“With temperatures dropping in colder climates over the next couple of months, it is important that electric vehicle drivers know how to care for their car and maximise the range of their battery,” says Tanya Sinclair, Senior Director, Policy, europe, at ChargePoint—who also featured in EV Magazine. 

“With an EV comes the end of cranking the key and flooring the accelerator to start an internal combustion engine, as you watch your breath freeze in front of you. EVs have a big advantage in the cold because they start straight away, usually with the push of a button—your EV could even help to jump start a traditional vehicle this winter.” 

Nevertheless, if you’re driving in the snow or are conscious that your car may be costing you more to drive in the winter, here are ChargePoints tips to care for your EV this winter:

1. Precondition your climate and battery whilst still plugged in so your car is the right temperature when you start your drive, without using your battery capacity.

2. Use heated seats and steering wheels rather than climate control. These are more efficient (because they warm up your body directly) and use less energy than the heater, so using them won’t have as much of an impact on your range.

3. Batteries like consistency, so when possible, avoid running your battery very low or DC fast charging it a lot. Aim to stay between 20 and 80 percent charged whenever you can to maximise battery efficiency and longevity in the cold.

4. Whenever possible, consider parking indoors to further save battery life by maintaining the car (and the battery) at a pleasant temperature.

5. Keeping your tyre pressure at maximum capacity, you can also help to increase range.

“It’s important to note that EVs will function just as well in winter as they did in summer, however, there are certainly ways in which you can maximise their full potential,” says Sinclair. 

“Things like preconditioning the climate while still plugged in will help you to enjoy a comfortable temperature without using your battery’s capacity. Similarly, park indoors when you can to help save battery life by maintaining a pleasant temperature. Provide consistency in terms of the type of charge you give your car, and keep your tyre pressure at maximum capacity to help increase range. Finally, if you can, use heated seats and steering wheel rather than climate control to heat your body directly, instead of the full body of the car, to further increase your range.”

“If your car does happen to run out of charge this winter, the ChargePoint driver app allows you to access the widest charging network available in Europe—so you can always charge when you need to.”

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