E-car range in winter: tips for driving in freezing temperatures

Batteries do not last as long in the cold as in warm outside temperatures. This applies to smartphones as well as to Electric cars. Winter currently has parts of Germany under control with snow and ice.

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The main problem is not that the batteries of electric cars discharge faster in cold temperatures; but they are the numerous auxiliary units and consumersthat nibble massively at the range. The most important thing is to preheat the e-car before driving.

That’s how much range e-cars lost in the winter AAA test

In the test of the American Automobile Association (“AAA” for short, the US counterpart to the ADAC), electric cars are penalized in the winter up to 41 percent of the Range a. In the test with five cars the AAA calculated the average of the loss of range in 2019. BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt (in this country Opel Ampera-e), Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S 75D and VW e-Golf had to prove themselves on a roller dynamometer at different winter temperatures. at minus seven centigrade the decreasing capacity was particularly evident.
Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf performed best in the test. It lost 31 percent of its range in sub-zero temperatures.

Range killer on-board heating

Test result: Since the Waste heat from an internal combustion engine missing after the start, must Heat pump and electric auxiliary heater Use energy-sapping force in the cold to warm up the interior for the occupants. at Temperatures below zero the electric range fell in the AAA test an average of twelve percentif the interior heating was not switched on. With activated heating it shrank on the cut 41 percent! in the comparison the BMW lost the most range, at around minus seven degrees Celsius and switched on heating he only got half as far (50 percent). Best cut Nissan Leaf and VW e-Golf who lost only 31 and 36 percent respectively. Here are tips with which e-car drivers can counteract the loss of range:

How do you heat up the electric car before driving?


If the batteries and the interior are warmed up while hanging on the cable before starting the journey, heating does not reduce the range of an electric car too much because the on-board battery is not burdened with the heating output. Tip: Preheating or cooling the car while it is still attached to the plug – this can usually be controlled via app or programming. The car then gets the energy it needs from the power grid. In addition, the battery cells absorb energy better when they are at the optimal operating temperature. This also applies to fast charging. If there is no possibility of preheating, the best thing to do is to warm up the car before charging.

How do you charge in freezing temperatures?


The electric car should be charged in the evening hours during the cold season – even if the on-board computer shows a remaining range at the end of the day that is sufficient for the route the next morning. Because the outside temperature can drop well below zero during the night. And the high energy requirement that is needed in the morning to achieve stationary air conditioning also causes the range to melt away.

Why should you park e-cars in a garage?


If you can, you should park your e-car in a protected place during the cold season, then it may not freeze at all or at least not as much. This in turn means that defrosting the windows and heating the interior space with the stationary air conditioning does not take so long – that saves energy from the on-board battery.

Why is seat heating better than car heating?


Automatic air conditioning, the heating for the seats, steering wheel, exterior mirrors and windows – in the cold season of the year people are only too happy to turn on everything that heats the inside of the car or ensures a good view. But: The more consumers you switch on, the more the range of the e-car is reduced. After all, the car draws most of its power from the traction battery. In the case of a car that still shows a range of 150 kilometers in the evening, it is quickly only 100 kilometers or less after successful air conditioning. Tip: If you drive alone, it is better to only activate the steering wheel heating and seat heating instead of turning the car heater on. An internal temperature of 19 degrees is sufficient. If the car heater is used, it is best to use air circulation mode.

How do you save energy with the eco mode?


When driving, especially in winter, the load on the battery due to energy consumption should be kept as low as possible. tip: The Eco driving mode is best suited for this, because the lower engine output reduces consumption. In addition, the control systems do not have to intervene as often, which also reduces the car’s hunger for energy.

Picture gallery


That is how large the range of e-cars is

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