Why electric cars are great in the winter!

Tesla Model 3 in snow

With the colder months quickly creeping in, here is your round up as to why you should hire an electric car this winter season. Electric cars can offer many benefits when dealing with harsh and challenging weather, such as their ability to precondition the cabin before you set off. 

I’ll admit, at our head office in the Southeast of England, we don’t typically experience the same kind of winters as some regions of Scotland do. However, we do get a fair amount of ice and rain from November to April. Whilst the temperature stays in the low 0-10 °C during this time of year, we often experience the odd below freezing mornings and nights. These cold weather tips can be applied to all electric cars in just about any cold-weather region.

Cold weather and range

As with any vehicle they dislike the cold just as much as you do. Cold weather range is becoming less of an issue though with the rapid advancement of battery technology in electric cars. Every year, ranges get increased to be capable of further distances. If you’re looking to hire an electric car, may we suggest our longest range vehicles which include the Tesla Model S P100D, Model 3 Long Range, Jaguar I-Pace and Kia e-Niro

Top tips to get the best out of electric cars this winter 

Charging

You know the saying that your parents told you ‘you wont feel the benefit when you go out in the cold’? It’s exactly the same as electric cars. Cold batteries aren’t capable of accepting as much energy as warm ones will, so expect longer charge times. 

Tesla charging in snow

A quick top up of your battery should not be much of a problem as during the day temperatures tend to rise, however we recommend overnight charging during the winter. With a long term hire of an electric car from EVision, it will significantly benefit you during summer but more so in the winter as for any hire of a Tesla, Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace of 3 months or more, EVision will install a charge point at your home or work address.

We also offer a free home charger with any hire of a BMW, Renault ZOE and Kia e-Niro of 12 months or more. As well as with any electric car rental of a Tesla, Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace of 12 months or more, we will install an industrial power charge point. 

Cost

When you hire an electric car it is so much more affordable to drive and power. Even in the colder months, with savings of over 40%. That gives you plenty more money for the festive season and family days out whilst the children are off. There is also the added opportunity to power your drive with renewable energy. 

The battery 

The battery inside electric cars play a huge part as when the temperature drops, the electrolyte fluid inside the battery cells becomes more sluggish. While an internal combustion engine (ICE) can generate its own heat, to warm the engine and passengers. Electric cars have to find that warmth somewhere else, which means there’s less power available to move the wheels. 

With our previous suggestion in mind about charging, it is quite important that you don’t let the battery get too low. Make sure you always have around 20 percent charge or so. If you want to power up in below freezing temperatures, the car may need that reserve to warm the battery enough to start the process.

Another tip which may seem like a small thing but when possible park in your garage, especially if it is heated. If you have to park outside for an extended period, such as during work time, try to find a parking space that will be in direct sunlight. By parking in direct sunlight you’ll have a warmer cabin and battery when you return to your car. Every little bit helps, and direct sunlight is free and your friend, so use it!

Acceleration

Whilst a benefit of electric cars is their super fast 0-60 rate. The fast acceleration when pulling away at lights and on the motorway in winter weather will not be your buddy. We know that speedy launches are definitely fun, but they also consume a lot of energy which will impact your experienced range.

It’s very simple and somewhat obvious but try driving and accelerating a little slower. This is the best way to extend your range as well as your safety. This fact is true regardless of the outside temperature. However, during the winter months driving a little slower can help counteract some of the range you lose to the cold. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it will make.

Under inflated tyres

As temperatures drop in the UK, the air in your tyres contracts and the tyre pressure falls.

Tyre chart

Nitrogen-filled tyres will hold their pressure better than air-filled, but they are still affected by the cold. Under-inflated tyres create more road friction which will reduce the EVs efficiency. 

This is probably the most overlooked ways to increase the electric cars range in the colder months. When hiring short term this is not a problem as our friendly team will check this prior to the hire. However, for long term EV rentals it is important that you make sure to check your tire pressure frequently during the winter, as temperatures can significantly fluctuate. Having properly inflated tires is an easy way to help maximize the EVs range.

Heating

The best part of electric cars for the wintertime is their fast heating system. Some EVs such as the Jaguar I-Pace have a heat pump heating system. This works like the traditional AC, but in reverse. This system is incredibly fast in heating up the car. If there is heat generated in the electric motor, this is used to heat either the interior, the battery, or both. Transferring the heat in this way means that the battery is used less for heating and improves the range. 

Another amazing feature is their preheating. Many electric cars have a preheating function, which allows you to set the interior temperature. That way you can be set and ready to go and the EV will be waiting with a warm interior, hot seat, and even a hot steering wheel if enabled. No more need for gloves, it will be nice and toasty inside. Many of our lovely customers say that this feature makes a nice way to start their daily commute to work. Another perk is that you can do this anywhere you want with your phone app. Whether you are getting ready to come home from a hard days work or preparing for a road trip, the only thing you have to do is to take your phone and tell your EV to heat up.

Driving in snow and ice

Driving in snow is difficult even for an experienced driver.

Electric cars typically come with a variety of driving modes. With one of the options called “eco mode” or something very similar. Whilst every EV implements eco mode differently, this mode generally reduces the amount of power supplied to the drive motor and energy consuming features.

Black Tesla in snow - Electric Cars

However the largest benefit from this mode when driving in snow is that by reducing the power to the motor, the car accelerates slower. Helping to reduce the possibility of wheel spinning on snow and ice. Therefore, even if range isn’t an issue for you, it’s probably a good idea to use eco mode whenever driving on icy or snowy roads.

Electric cars are also fun to drive in the winter. Batteries make them a little heavier than traditional cars and this improves the traction. Controlling the EV in slippery conditions is very easy.

So don’t fear the cold! Yes, it takes a little more preparation, but by taking some simple steps you can easily become an EVision winter-warrior. 

Find out more information

Still need to hire an electric car this winter? Contact our friendly team today for an affordable quote. 

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