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4 tips for driving your EV in the cold

Posted November 16, 2020 by Roseanne

Our Head of Insights, James McKemey is back with some updated tips on driving your EV in the cold dark wintery months.


Back in 2017 I riffed on those things you should be aware of when driving an EV in winter.

It’s likely more people began driving a full battery electric car in the last 9 months than were driving them in total when that was published. So we thought we’d revisit the topic and add a couple of nuggets.

4 updated tips for driving your EV over winter:

1. Pre-heating

Yes, EV drivers, new and old - this is still awesome. Yes, you are allowed to feel the smugness swarm over you, just like the warm cabin does in the frost. But try to maintain a tolerable outer demeanour when you do.

2. Efficiency loss

Short trips that allow the cabin to cool inbetween are probably the least efficient thing you can do in an EV. In fact if they were 2 times worse they’d be getting towards the kind of clean energy efficiency that both the hydrogen fuel cell cars aspire too. Shudder. But longer trips aren’t so bad - as you maintain temperature, you don’t reheat.

Those short trips do lend themselves to topping up, so make sure you make the most of the ability to charge at your destinations, and with coronavirus lockdown currently in effect those are limited to things like… Tesco. Turns out we kitted them out pretty well since 2017 - and kitting continues. Have at it!

3. Icy roads

EVs certainly do not immunise you from treacherous icy conditions, so for goodness sake drive safely. But electric motors do offer greatly improved traction control, since the precision of their response is far greater than that of internal combustion engine drivetrains.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at some Teslas in Alaska:

4. Puddles

Much to my disappointment, Alaskan-style snowy, bitterly cold days are largely absent in the UK. In fact, extended periods with sub zero temperatures are becoming something of a rarity - thanks to the climate change we are trying to contribute towards mitigating. Instead mild, damp and fully wet days are more what we encounter. And this results in flooded roads, leaving unpassable puddles… for ICE drivers…

Your EV is king of the puddle! So long as you get through with enough clearance/brevity to keep the water from flooding the cabin, the water will not bother your sealed drive train and battery. But do go carefully, as one person responded to the above tweet, hit a deep puddle too hard and that might be the end of your front number plate!

Happy driving!


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