Electric cars are considered to be expensive toys on which you can conquer the streets of the capital, but not the roads of cities with a cold climate. The harsh climate for such delicate electric cars is completely unsuitable. Electric cars and severe frosts are incompatible things. At least that's what many think. This corrosive myth completely in vain stops the inhabitants of the northern regions from buying an electric car. In low temperatures, owners will indeed face several challenges, but they can be overcome.
If you take your phone out of your pocket in cold weather, its battery will run out faster. The same thing happens with the battery of an electric car. It uses up more power in low temperatures because of both the electric vehicle and the phone use lithium-ion batteries. During charging, lithium ions are incorporated into the crystal lattice of the cathode (graphite), and when discharged, they move back to the anode. Low temperatures cause disturbances in this electrochemical process. Many electric car owners have complained that the battery loses its charge at an astonishing rate in cold weather.
Ultimately, experts from the American Automobile Association conducted a study and determined that at temperatures below –7 ° C, a car can travel 41% less distance than under normal conditions. And this is when the interior heating system is running. For the purity of the experiment, it was turned off, but this did not significantly affect the situation. This problem arises not only in the cold. Temperatures that are too high will also drain the battery quickly. This rule is not selective for any specific models of electric cars. The researchers used five cars of different brands for experiments (Chevrolet Bolt EV, Volkswagen e-Golf, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3s, Tesla Model S). For all cars, the result was almost the same, which means that the problem of operating an electric car at low temperatures is global.
So, the key problem of operating electric cars in cold weather has been found. The battery capacity decreases and the car quickly loses its range. A combination of the following factors affects the rate of battery discharge:
- Air temperature. This is a key aspect. The lower it is, the faster the electric car will stall. The critical point is –7 ° C.
- Interior heating. As you already understood earlier, turning off the heating will not significantly affect the situation, but it still helps to save grains of energy.
- Car storage place. Where is your electric car parked? Does the swallow spend the night in a heated garage or is it hardened in the cold? This factor also plays an important role.
In cold conditions, even the driver's driving style is of great importance.
In winter, driving an electric car becomes more dangerous not only because of icy conditions or snow blockages on the road. No one wants to suddenly get stuck somewhere in the middle of the road in their car, the battery of which ordered to live long. What should be done to avoid such unpleasant situations? Do not ride in winter at all? This is not an option, the ride will be safe if the driver simply heeds some recommendations.
The electric car should be parked in a heated garage where the temperature is maintained. If the room is warm, the battery does not discharge as quickly. It will take less time to charge your car in the garage, which will help reduce energy costs.
In winter, the battery not only discharges faster but also recharges more slowly. It will take longer to fully charge the battery in low-temperature conditions than in summer. Owners of electric cars need to use every opportunity and connect the car to the network, even if there is enough charge in it. If you have stopped by a gas station where there is a special charging station for electric cars, then it is better to connect to it while you are resting and drinking coffee.
Modern models have remote control functions through special gadgets in mobile phones. How does it usually work? Before driving, the driver turns on the heating and waits for the temperature in the car to rise. Only after that, he goes on the road. Using the remote control, you can turn on the interior heating in advance 10-15 minutes before leaving your home or office, while the car is charging.
Friction brakes consume energy. In winter it is recommended to use regenerative braking. The vehicle will slow down without using the brakes. Many owners of electric cars note that regenerative braking allows you to save up to 10-15% of the battery charge.
Many EV manufacturers offer battery heating systems. Although it is freezing outside, they maintain a stable temperature of the battery and prevent it from freezing, which has a positive effect on energy consumption.
Heating the interior increases battery consumption, but getting cold in your car during the trip is not an attractive option. The climate system uses more energy to heat the entire passenger compartment than for individual zones. To save power, try to turn on only the heated seats and steering wheel.
If energy-saving modes are added to the functionality of your electric car, then try to use them more often. We are talking about driving at low speeds because recklessness on winter roads is still not welcome.
If you arrive at the parking lot, try to choose a place where the car will bask in the sun while you go about your business.
During maintenance, special attention should be paid to the condition of the wheels. Due to poor tread, the braking force increases, which consumes more energy. If the tires are not inflated enough, this will make the vehicle heavier. In this case, the electric car will also draw more energy while driving.