Top tips for driving an EV in winter
Electric vehicles are soring in popularity, with more than a quarter of a million drivers having made the switch this year alone.
Whether you’re a seasoned driver who likes to think they’re prepared for the challenges of winter, those new to EVs might want to consider some specific pointers that’ll help them stay safe on the roads.
We teamed up with our partner LeasePlan and made a list of some top tips for EV drivers over the winter months.
Turn off your regenerative braking system
Single-pedal driving becomes second nature when you’re driving an EV. It’s also one of the reasons they can be so relaxing and easy to drive. However, in icy and snowy weather, it’s often advisable to limit the force of your regenerative braking system – or even turn it off completely.
This is because on slippery roads, the braking force on the wheels can cause a loss of grip, reducing the tyre’s ability to steer the vehicle. This can result in the vehicle becoming uncontrollable, and can even cause a dangerous skid.
Most EVs let you turn off or turn down the regen braking, so be sure you know how to do this before you take your EV on a cold, wintery journey.
Keep your tyres inflated
With an EV, it’s more important than ever to ensure your tyres are properly inflated. This might sound like an obvious point, but EVs are heavier than petrol and diesel vehicles so put more strain on the tyres when stationary.
Your EV should tell you via a warning light or message if your tyre pressure are low, but it’s always good to check yourself using a tyre pressure gauge at home or at the service station.
Keep the battery in top condition
Research has shown that while the range drop isn’t as dramatic as some people make out, EVs don’t respond well to very cold temperatures. On average, an EV’s range will drop between 10 and 30% in really cold weather.
They can often take a little longer to charge than normal too. If possible, it’s a great idea to keep your EV in a garage – you’re less likely to notice a drop in range if you keep it in a temperature-controlled area. It’s also worth ensuring you plug your EV in via your home charger every night, too.
Remember to use preconditioning functions
Another great way to minimise a drop in range is to use your EV’s preheating features. This allows you to warm up your car and defrost the windscreen while it is still charging. This means the battery will be warm and have a full charge before you set off.
There’s the added bonus of being able to jump straight into a toasty warm car – there’s nothing more luxurious than stepping into a fully defrosted and warm car on a cold winter’s morning.
Take advantage of eco modes
EVs often feature a number of driving modes, one of which being an “eco” function. This is designed to maximise your range and squeeze out an extra few miles. It might make your EV a little slower too, but in snowy and icy conditions that can be considered a plus.
The reduced urgency and torque will give you an advantage when you lack traction and minimises the risk of skidding and slipping.
Everything else still applies
Ok, so the above might be specific advice for drivers that are new to EVs. But other common winter tips apply too. Remember to keep your car well lit and use your headlights and fog lights appropriately and maintain safe braking distances! You can read some more winter driving tips here.
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