Winter’s here and wind chills have teeth chattering all over the northern hemisphere, but contrary to popular belief that doesn’t mean you’ve got to park your EV for the season.
Though we’re not all lucky enough to live in climates where the temperature never dips below freezing, GreenCarReports.com says that even if you live in the coldest parts of Canada —if you follow these simple tips–you should be able to drive your electric car all winter long.
Keep the Battery Warm
Though it goes without saying, first and foremost, always keep your EV parked in a garage when one’s available. Your EV’s battery is programed to remain at a precise temperature, and if it’s ever under that temperature—it will use electricity to warm itself up.
Plus, the warmer you keep your EV’s battery, the less energy it will take to get the car started.
In addition to parking your car inside, another thing you can do to keep your battery warm is to leave your car plugged in even when it is fully charged. While it’s true that might cost you a few extra cents, those cents will eventually turn into a longer winter range.
Use the Heat Strategically
You’re probably not going to like this if you’re sitting at your computer in Saskatchewan, but there’s nothing that will burn up your EV’s battery quite like running the heat. We know better than to tell you to go without it, however, but we will ask you to put some thought into how you use it. For example, instead of using the heat during your entire trip, think about blasting it to warm up the cabin before you unplug the car from its power source. Then, once you’re nice and toasty, turn the heat off and turn on the heated seats for the rest of the trip.
If you have them, seat heaters use much less energy than running the heat. Plus, if you’re properly bundled up—they should be enough to keep you warm until you reach your destination—especially if you’ve followed our advice and warmed the car up before you unplugged.
Check Your Tire Pressure
As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires. And when your tire pressure drops, your engine has to work a lot harder to keep your car moving. We’re assuming you know what that means—less range.
So next time you come home, fill up your tires before you bring your car into the warm garage. If you don’t want to stand out in the cold though—and how could we blame you? —fill up in your garage, but go a little higher than your owner’s manual recommends to account for a loss of pressure at lower temperatures.
This article was originally published in January 2013.