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10 Little-Known Facts About Driving Electric Cars In Winter

By now, every Tesla fan has read the story about Domenick Nati, a radio presenter who couldn’t charge his Tesla Model S in the freezing temperature and had to cancel his Christmas plans. And although some Tesla purists are blaming the radio host for the events, others were quick to point toward similar struggles with EVs during winter months. For instance, two siblings who rented a Tesla and drove it from sunny Orlando all the way to Wichita, Kansas in the dead of winter, told Insider that they frequently had to stop and recharge their car.

“We ended up having to stop every one to 1 ½ hours to charge for an hour, then an hour and a half, then two hours,” Xaviar Steavenson told Insider.

Without a doubt, driving an electric vehicle in the freezing winter months comes with its own set of challenges, but some EVs still perform better than their rivals. So, if you are wondering which is the best electric car for cold weather or the best electric vehicle for snow, keep on reading to find out.

Related: These Are The 10 Best EVs To Drive On Snow

10 You Need To Preheat Your EV In Winter

GMC 2022 MC Hummer EV on winter roadGMC

“EVs get their power from a lithium-ion battery, and batteries work at their best between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature falls below around 40 degrees, the chemical reactions that generate electrons to supply the current of the battery slow down, resulting in the battery producing less current,” says Geotab. In other words, experts recommend preheating your EV when it is freezing cold outside.

9 Cold Temperature Affects The EV’s Driving Range

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 frontScott Murdock

Research by AAA highlights that the average EV driving range drops by 41 percent when the temperature falls to 20 degrees, and the driver uses the vehicle’s HVAC system. However, a different research by the Norway Automobile Association showed that EVs lose 18.5 percent of driving range in harsh winter climates. The 20 vehicles that were put through the Norway Automobile Association’s test were all driven without the cockpit or battery being preheated.

8th EVs are a good choice for snow

Two Tesla Model Xs in snow hd electric car wallpapershuttershock

Electric cars are a great option for driving in the snow, provided you choose the correct model. They are already warmed up when you start driving, so you won’t have to worry about defrosting the cabin or windshield. In addition, they are not releasing any emissions as they warm up.

7 Tesla’s And Rivian’s SUVs Are The Best Electric Cars For Snow

Tesla Model Y Snowflickr

Evidently, the best electric car in the snow 2023 is an SUV because it has the all-wheel drive, the heat pump system, and better driving range. While tastes vary, the mid-size SUV, Tesla Model Y is for us the ideal electric vehicle for snow.

“We have made several updates to improve your driving experience in freezing temperatures including better overall thermal performance, quicker supercharging and improved cabin conditioning,” says Tesla.

Another popular option is the Rivian R1S, that comes with the dual-motor AWD system.

6 Charging Takes Longer In Freezing Weather

Tesla cars charging in thick snowshuttershock

According to the test performed by the Norway Automobile Association, “even if you do everything right and, it can still be difficult to get the battery warm before charging in winter time, it will therefore charge slower than advertised.” The demonstration also highlighted that EVs charge in distinctive manners.

“Most cars need some build-up time to reach their maximum effect, before slowly decreasing the effect towards 80 percent state of charge,” says NAF.

Related: Warming Up Your Electric Car In Winter: Everything You Need To Know

5 EVs Are Not Good Commuters In Cold Winter Weather

White Chevy BoltVia:Chevrolet

Let’s face it, using an electric vehicle in the dead of winter is not practical. You must schedule multiple charging stops, and as Xaviar Steavenson’s example demonstrates, the frigid weather will force you to charge your EV more frequently. Therefore, EVs are not suitable for commuting during the winter.

4 You Need To Buy An EV That Comes With A Heat Pump

via Teslarati.com

It’s a common fallacy that electric vehicles cannot be driven in the harsh winter months. Evidently, you can drive an electric car in winter, but some EVs are better equipped than others for freezing weather. The EVs that come with a heat pump system, like Tesla Model Y, BMW i4 and Kia e-Niro ‘2’ Long Range, are better suited for winter.

3 EVs With All-Wheel Drive Are Better Suited For Winter Driving

2022 Tesla Model X Plaid front third quarter accelerating viewTesla

The all-wheel drive is unquestionably a better option for navigating icy, snowy routes. For those interested in an all-wheel EV, some interesting choices include the 2022 Tesla Model Y, the 2022 Tesla Model 3, the 2022 Tesla Model X, the 2022 Rivian R1S, and the 2022 Polestar 2. On the more affordable end, consumers can select the standard 2023 Hyundai IONIQ5 and the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4.

2 Eco-Driving Is A Smart Solution In Winter

Tesla red carShutterstock

“Some vehicles have eco or economy modes that reduce power to the motors and do other things to increase efficiency,” says Drive Electric Vermont. In a nutshell, eco-driving cut down on power consumption and extended the driving range. Equally important, the eco-mode reduces acceleration and helps you speed up more gently. Of course, this helps with driving in snow or on icy road conditions.

1 Don’t Install Your EV Charger Outdoors If You Live In A Cold Climate

Land Rover PHEV On chargeland rover

This is a no-brainer, but if you live in a cold climate, you should install your EV charger inside the garage where it’s warmer, not outside in the cold weather. Also, you need to make sure that your battery never falls below 20 percent charge during the freezing cold months.


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