With wintry weather descending, electric vehicle (EV) owners and fleet managers face a common concern: range anxiety, exacerbated by colder conditions. However, the right approach and our tips and tricks will help minimise anxiety and maximise range during the colder months.
Wintry conditions have a direct impact on EV performance. For example, it can substantially reduce driving range. Informed strategies and adaptations are necessary for individual EV owners and those managing EV fleets to ensure seamless operation and maximised range during the colder part of the year. For owners, understanding these challenges is key to enjoying uninterrupted and efficient EV use. For fleet managers, it is crucial to maintain operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
How winter impacts EV range
Research, including a comprehensive study by Recurrent, has shown that EV range can significantly decrease in winter. Cold temperatures can slow down chemical reactions in EV batteries, reducing available power. EVs also use energy to generate cabin heat, further diminishing range.
To minimise the impacts of such issues, EV owners and EV fleet operators can integrate several adaptions to the weather conditions.
Ten tips for maximising EV range and minimising range anxiety in winter
- Preheat your EV: Warming up your EV while it’s still charging (preconditioning) can save significant energy. One way of doing this is via the True Energy app.
- Adjust your driving speed: Lower speeds are more energy-efficient and can help you extend your range.
- Use heated seat and steering wheel functions: These features use less energy than the cabin heater and can keep you warm while reducing range impacts.
- Use regenerative braking where possible: Increase the level of regenerative braking to capture energy during deceleration. However, be cautious in icy conditions as it may affect traction.
- Use smart charge features: Cold weather can extend charging times, and a cold battery can lower the range. Use a system like True Energy’s smart charge to precondition the battery for optimal charging and ensure your vehicle is ready to use when needed.
- Optimise tire pressure and choices: Properly inflated tires enhance efficiency and range. Tire pressure drops in cold weather, so regular checks are essential. Consider winter tires, which optimise grip – and are mandatory in some countries.
- Use eco mode: Most EVs have an “eco mode” that conserves energy by reducing power to the motor and ancillary devices.
- Plan your route: Use navigation and charge app systems to plot efficient routes and locate charging stations.
- Keep your EV charged and in the best conditions: If possible, park your EV indoors and plugged in with a maximum charge setting of 70-80%. This allows the car to use external power for heating, preserving battery life.
- Prepare for longer trips: For extended journeys, ensure your EV is fully charged, and plan your route with charging stops in mind. You can read more tips for winter holiday trips on the True Energy blog.
Fleet Management in winter
For EV fleet managers, winter can mean additional challenges. On top of the advice above, here are some strategies to ensure optimal running for EV fleets in winter:
- Fleet preconditioning: Implement a schedule for preconditioning fleet vehicles while charging.
- Driver training: Educate drivers on efficient winter driving techniques, such as smooth acceleration and using eco-friendly features.
- Regular maintenance: Ensure all fleet vehicles are checked for optimal tire pressure and battery health.
With these tips and tricks, you should be able to reduce range anxiety while extending your EV’s range.