EV on the road in winter

All you need to know about driving your EV in the cold

8 minutes

As temperatures drop, it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to take care of your EV and charger in wintertime… 

First things first, EVs can withstand harsh terrains and extreme weather – as long as you take good care of their batteries in icy conditions. Just as we wouldn’t venture out in our flip flops and shorts in the cold, electric vehicles also need extra protection in sub-zero conditions.

Seasoned EV owners will know what to expect, but new drivers may wonder how well their cars will perform during freezing temperatures, and what they can do to prepare as winter approaches.

Here’s all you need to know:

Why is cold weather a challenge for EV drivers?

On average, EV drivers can expect a 20-30% lower range than usual during winter, and there are two main reasons for this: lower battery performance and increased energy consumption.

Firstly, the optimum temperature for an EV’s lithium-ion battery is between 15 and 35 degrees celsius. When the temperature drops much below this, the lithium ions slow down and cannot provide as much power as usual. 

The range is further reduced because drivers need to heat their vehicles more during the winter which requires a lot of energy from a battery that’s already operating with less power. 

Another issue drivers should pay attention to is that an electric car’s regenerative braking is not as effective in the cold. Regenerative braking allows the car to recoup some lost energy during deceleration. In winter, this doesn’t work as well because the battery power is lower. This means the car can feel different to drive in cold weather and that you may need to use manual braking more often.

Tips to get your EV ready for winter

With a little extra planning and preparation, you can still get around and travel wherever you need to in your EV during winter.

Pedro Monsalve, Presales Engineer at Wallbox, shares some great advice for getting EVs ready for winter. “Charge at home more often, and always leave the house with a full battery. During bad weather, make sure your battery is fully charged every day.

To be on the safe side, never let your battery level dip below 20%. To charge in the harsh cold, your car will need a reserve of power to get warmed up and ready.

He further recommends that drivers take advantage of smart charging.

“If you know when you plan to drive, you can schedule the charging session to make sure you heat the car and warm the battery up before you set off. This can also help regenerative braking function better.”

Pedro Monsalve, Presales Engineer at Wallbox

One last tip is to use Power Boost, which will optimize at-home charging based on your energy consumption to ensure that your EV is charged as fast as possible without exceeding your home’s energy capacity. This will also help you to avoid blackouts or hefty electricity bills.

The benefits of a smart, winter-proof EV charger

Investing in a high-quality EV charger is crucial to ensure your car performs well over winter.

Make sure to select a charger that is engineered to help you through cold weather and maximize your car’s range. Look out for solutions that offer fast charging, so your battery will be fully charged and ready to go in less time, and Power Boost, to avoid being charged higher electricity rates while charging at home.

Your charger should also be highly weather-resistant and withstand extreme temperatures, wind, rain, and snow, even if installed outside. Especially, it should enable safe charges in temperatures well below as 0°, so you won’t have to worry about your charger letting you down when the winter freeze starts. 

Finally, you’ll definitely want to get a smart charger. This will allow you to schedule charges when the electricity is cheaper and when you need to plan a trip. The best thing – you’ll be able to schedule charges from the comfort and warmth of your home via an app.

Wallbox has a variety of products that tick all these boxes for safe and powerful charges in winter. Check out our full range of products here to choose the right charger for you.