Does EV Range in Winter Drop?
The single largest issue EV drivers face is around the range of the vehicle. That is both in the sense of how far can one battery charge take them, availability of charging stations on the road network, speed of charging, as well as others. Here we will take a look at the range of one battery charge and how the seasons can affect it:
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Why Does an EV Lose Range in the Winter?
The primary reason why EVs lose range in cold temperatures is due to the battery. Batteries are essentially chemical devices, and like all chemical reactions, they are affected by temperature. When the temperature drops, the chemical reactions in the battery pack slow down, which can reduce the amount of energy that the battery can provide.
In addition to reducing the battery's energy output, cold temperatures can also affect the battery's internal resistance. When the resistance of the battery increases, it can make it harder for the battery to deliver energy to the motor, which can further reduce the vehicle's range.
It's worth noting that not all EVs are affected equally by cold temperatures. Some EVs have better thermal management systems than others, which can help to keep the battery at a more optimal temperature. Additionally, the type of battery that your EV has can also play a role in how much range you lose in the cold.
But don't worry, there are steps you can take to mitigate the effects of cold temperatures on your EV's range. We'll cover those in more detail in a later section.
In fact, research has shown that an EV's range can be reduced by up to 40% in extremely cold temperatures.
On average, EVs can lose about 1-3% of their range for every 1°C drop in temperature. This means that if you normally get 300 miles of range on a full charge in the summer, you could see your range drop to 210-270 miles in the winter if the temperature drops by 10°C.
Should I Get My EV Checked if it Loses Range in the Winter?
Not necessarily, no. It's normal for EVs to lose some range in the winter, and manufacturers account for this in their range estimates. However, if you notice a significant decrease in range figures, it might be worth getting your vehicle checked just to make sure everything is working properly.
What Difference Can You Expect?
This depends on how cold it gets where you live. If you live in a place with mild winters, which the UK comparatively does have, you may not notice much of a difference in range.
However, if you live in a place with extremely cold temperatures - like Scandinavia, you could see a significant drop in range. For example, if your EV has a range of 300 miles in the summer, you might only be able to go 180 miles on a single charge in the winter.
How Cold Does It Get Before the Range Starts to Dip?
Finally, how cold does it get before the range starts to dip? Well, it depends on a number of factors, including the type of battery your EV has, the age of the battery, and the amount of charge in the battery. In general, however, you can expect to see a reduction in range once the temperature drops below freezing.
Top 3 Things to Do to Prevent the Reduction in Range
Here are the top 3 things you can do to prevent the reduction in range or reduce the chance you will run out of juice:
1 – Keep your battery warm - One of the main reasons why batteries lose performance in the cold is because they become less efficient at converting stored energy into usable energy. To prevent this, try to keep your EV in a garage or covered area to protect it from the cold. You can also use a battery warmer or pre-conditioning system to warm up your battery before you start driving.
For advice on how to insulate your garage to keep it warm, check out our blog:
2 – Plan your route carefully - If you know that your EV's range will be reduced in the winter, plan your route accordingly. Make sure you have access to charging stations along the way so you can recharge if necessary. You can also try to avoid using the heater or other power-hungry features to conserve energy.
3 – Use the eco-mode - Most EVs come with an eco mode that helps to conserve energy. This mode reduces the amount of power used by the HVAC system, limits the vehicle's top speed, and even reduces the amount of regenerative braking. While it might make your drive a little less exciting, it will help you go further on a single charge.
How can I extend the range on my EV?
Range anxiety is becoming increasingly common for owners of electric cars, particularly when driving long distances using an electric motor.
There are a few different methods to extend the range of your electric vehicle. Including Regenerative Braking, Planning your route and Driving smoothly. For more details and other tips, head to our blog:
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Updated 13th Apr 2023
Written 1st Mar 2023
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