Electric car range in winter: tips for driving in freezing temperatures

How to get more range out of electric cars in the freezing cold

Electric car drivers should handle the car especially in arctic temperatures. Because e-cars lose range in cold temperatures. With these tips you will get ahead in winter.

A.Batteries do not last as long in the cold as in warm outside temperatures. This applies to smartphones as well as to Electric cars. Currently, the winter has parts of Germany under control with bitter cold. The main problem is with this not that the batteries discharge faster in cold temperaturesbut there are the numerous auxiliary units and consumersthat nibble massively at the range. The most important thing is to preheat the electric car before driving. Here are tips that can be used to counteract the loss of range:

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Tips for driving an e-car in winter

How to heat up the electric car before driving

If the batteries and interior are appropriately tempered, the range of an electric car does not drop extremely because the on-board battery is not loaded with the heating output. Tip: Preheating or cooling the car while it is still attached to the plug – this can usually be controlled via an app or pre-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 it is not possible to preheat the car, it is best to “warm it up” before charging.

How to plan for the drop in temperature

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 makes the range melt away.

What does parking the e-car in a garage bring?

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 the defrosting of the windows and the heating of the interior space with the stationary air conditioning does not take so long – that saves energy from the on-board battery.

Why heated seats are better than heated cars

Automatic air conditioning, the heating for the seats, steering wheel, exterior mirrors and windows – in the cold season of the year you are only too happy to turn on everything that heats the inside of the car or ensures a good view. But: The more energy consumers you switch on, the more the range of the electric car is reduced. Finally, the car draws all the energy from the battery pack. In the case of a car that still has a range of 150 kilometers displayed 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, preferably in air circulation mode.

How to 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 hunger for energy.

That is how much electric cars lost in the AAA test

In the test of the American Automobile Association (“AAA” for short, US counterpart to the ADAC), electric cars suffer in the winter up to 41 percent of the Range. In the test of 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 proved themselves on a roller dynamometer at different winter temperatures. At minus seven centigrade the decreasing capacity was particularly evident.

Range killer on-board heating

Nissan Leaf

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

© Daimler AG

Test result: Since the Waste heat from an internal combustion engine missing after the start, must Heat pump and electric auxiliary heater When it is cold, make energy-consuming efforts to warm up the interior for the occupants. At Temperatures below zero the electric range in the AAA test decreased an average of twelve percentif the interior heating was not switched on. With activated heating it shrank down 41 percent on average! 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.


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