Electric Car Winter Care Guide
Before You Drive
Storage & Charging
Electric cars don’t love the cold. Sub zero temperatures can reduce range and your battery’s ability to accept charge. (To be even-handed, it’s worth pointing out that petrol cars’ mileage can also be dramatically affected by the cold!).
Here are a couple of handy tips to reduce the impact of the cold:
- Try to keep the car charged between 40% and 80% while it’s not being used. It’s important not to let the battery drop too low in the cold.
- If you can store the car in a garage, then do so. Otherwise, try to park it in the sun to keep it as warm as possible when not in use.
Look after your car and it will look after you. General maintenance is always a good idea, and during winter one of the most important things to monitor closely is tyre pressure…
Regularly checking tyre pressure is recommended all year round. Most drivers tend to keep their tyre pressure at the PSI level recommended by manufacturers (or even slightly higher) during the summer months. They then let it drop marginally in winter as this can help to improve grip in icy road conditions.
The recommended tyre pressure varies from car to car and can usually be found in the car’s manual. There are several handy online tools that will let you know the optimum tyre pressure when you enter your reg number.
Top Tip: remember to check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold (i.e. the car hasn’t been driven for a few hours) to get an accurate reading.
On The Road
As an EV driver, you probably think about battery efficiency quite a bit! During winter there a few things you can do to maximise performance and range.
Regenerative braking converts the kinetic energy of the car into energy for the battery. You’ll want to tweak the settings on this depending on the road conditions…
If it’s very cold, but the roads are not icy, then you should maximise the regeneration setting to help increase the range of the car.
If road conditions are slippery, you may want to turn off or reduce this setting, in case it impacts handling.
You can check your car’s user manual online to find out how to adjust this setting.
Accelerating harshly uses more power and will eat up your range. In winter conditions, it’s especially important to drive smoothly not only to conserve range when it’s cold, but also in case the road conditions are dangerous.
Heating and Air Con
Having the heating on full blast uses a lot of power. If you’re able to, pre-condition your car before you leave (ideally while the car is charging). If you do need the heating on, then try keeping it on a lower level to help maximise your range. And if possible, use the heated seats and steering wheel rather than the air conditioning, as these will use up less energy.
Winter Safety Checklist
As you can see there are few things to be mindful of to get the most out of your electric car in the winter months.
To keep things simple, we’ve created the checklist below to help you drive as safely as possibly:
- Ask a friend to check while you test all the lights including your fog lights
- Clean the windows (with an ice scraper if needed) and test the wipers before setting out
- Check your tyre pressure using the guide above
- Contact us if you notice any windscreen chips or damage
- Swing by your local garage to check the tyre tread depth – we recommend changing the tyre if the tread reaches 2mm (we cover this!)
- Check for any punctures or sidewall damage on the tyres
If you have an emergency, please follow the advice in our Emergency Guide.