Electric car owners warned of driving in cold weather – what to do

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Motoring experts at LeaseElectricCar.co.uk have named five top tips for drivers to look after their electric cars over the winter months to help optimise battery life, improve range and save time. With the battery getting colder quicker, it means drivers cannot use their EVs for as long as they could in the summer months as charging would be required more often.

But the experts also revealed the best tips that electric car owners can follow to keep their battery as warm as possible and ready for driving this winter.

Keeping the car charging overnight or preheating the vehicle will mean the battery doesn’t need to work as hard to get to its optimum temperature.

Motorists should also look to reduce the internal heating of vehicles and use eco-mode for driving to reduce the output of heat and retain it for keeping the battery warm instead.

Tim Alcock from LeaseElectricCar.co.uk said: “Those of us who have an electric car know the difficulties of trying to get the most out of our vehicles when the weather is really cold and the batteries subsequently have a lower range.

“This makes it difficult to plan long journeys home for Christmas as it can mean having to stop several times along the way to charge up the battery.

“But there are several things you can do to help extend the battery range over winter as well as making sure it stays as warm as possible.

“Parking your EV in a garage or under a car cover helps retain some of the heat in and keep in mind that the battery will take longer to reach the optimum temperature.

“Preheating your car and charging it overnight will help ensure the battery is kept warm ready for when you are about to set off.

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“Making your drive home for Christmas can be difficult for electric car owners but hopefully by doing your best to keep the batteries warm and energy consumption lower, then travelling in the colder months in your EV should make the journey a lot easier.”

Here are LeaseElectricCar.co.uk’s best tips to get the most out of electric vehicles this winter:

Keep battery warm

In the winter an EV’s battery will naturally get much colder and drop below the optimum temperature to run at. Keeping the batteries as warm as possible will help preserve their life and will mean less time spent warming up the car.

If possible, it’s a good idea for electric car owners to keep their vehicle in a garage or under a car cover to keep as much heat as possible, especially overnight when temperatures are often at their lowest.

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Charging will take longer

Keep in mind that EV batteries will take longer to charge on a cold wintery day compared to the summer months. EV’s will take longer to charge in the winter when the temperature drops below the optimum temperature for batteries at 15 degrees.

Prepare for a longer charge time and consider charging overnight, as not only is it cheaper, there is more time for the battery to reach its maximum charge.

Keep heating on low

Although it can be tempting to have the internal temperature of a car on high, especially when making a long journey over winter, this can actually damage the battery.

Having the car heating on over winter will degrade the battery and its range, potentially meaning a charge is needed on the way. Try having the heating on at a reduced temperature, or just use heated seats and steering wheel rather than the whole car.

Preheat the battery

Most EV’s give drivers the option to preheat their vehicles. Doing this in winter is a good idea as the EV will prioritise heating up the battery ready for use, reaching the operating temperature ready for setting off.

Using the EV straight after charging in the winter will also ensure that the battery is preheated.

Change driving style

Driving as smoothly as possible in an EV over wintertime will help to optimise the battery life. It’s a good idea to avoid any heavy braking and accelerating which will then help to optimise the energy consumption of the EV.

Driving cautiously will also help motorists to drive safely over winter with the likelihood of ice and snow on the roads. An alternative is to turn on the eco-driving setting which automatically reduces the heat as well as the accelerator pedal impact.

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