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How To Prepare Electric Cars for the Cold

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EV owners have been told how to look after their cars this winter as the colder months are likely to reduce battery life and range significantly.  

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.

It can be challenging for EV owners to look after their cars during wintertime. When the temperatures drop, battery life also significantly decreases as the battery struggles to get up to an optimum temperature.

With the battery getting colder quicker, drivers cannot use their EVs for as long as they could in the summer months as charging would be required more often.

But experts have revealed the best tips electric car owners can do 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 reach its optimum temperature.

Ensuring the battery is kept as warm as possible and preparing for a long charge are tips electric car drivers can follow over the colder months.

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

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 frigid, 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 to charge up the battery.

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

“Parking your electric car in a garage or under a car cover helps retain some of the heat 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 and ready for when you are about to set off.

“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, travelling in the colder months in your EV should make the journey much easier.”  

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

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

  1. Charging Will Take Longer

Remember that EV batteries will take longer to charge on a cold wintery day compared to the summer months. Electric cars 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.

  1. Keep Heating on Low

Although it can be tempting to have a car’s internal temperature on high, especially when making a long journey over winter, this can damage the battery. The car heating on over winter will degrade the battery and its range, potentially requiring a charge. Try having the heating on at a reduced temperature, or use heated seats and steering wheel rather than the whole car.

  1. Preheat the Battery

Most EVs give drivers the option to preheat their vehicles. Doing this in winter is a good idea as the EV will prioritise heating the battery for use, reaching the operating temperature ready for setting off. Using the electric car straight after charging in the winter will also ensure the battery is preheated.

  1. Change Driving Style

Driving as smoothly as possible in an EV over wintertime will help to optimise the battery life. Avoiding heavy braking and accelerating is a good idea, which will help optimise the EV’s energy consumption. 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 and the accelerator pedal impact.

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