How does COLD WEATHER affect ELECTRIC CAR performance?

cold weather electric car performance

The all-electric range is a factor that decides how the vehicle would be accepted by the customers. The performance of electric vehicles would be affected highly by the weather. How does cold weather affect electric car performance?

Today, we discuss the performance of EVs during the winter season. The advantages and disadvantages of using an EV in winter will be discussed.

If you are new to this blog, you may check some interesting posts about electric vehicles here.

Why is an electric car great in cold weather?

Compared to IC engine vehicles, there are some good reasons to use EVs in winter. The following are the factors that in favor to drive an electric car in cold weather.

#1 Fast heating system

#2 Preheating system

#3 Affordable to drive

#4 The fun to drive factor

Electric Cars in Winter [Video]

#1 Fast heating system

Many electric cars have a heat pump heating system that works like the traditional AC but in reverse. This system is incredibly fast in heating up the car. [Reference]

#2 Preheating system

The electric vehicle preheating system is a great feature that helps you out in winter. The pre-heat system in the EVs does not result in smokes or any other exhaust gases as in the IC engine vehicle.

The preheater system warms the interior, seat, and steering wheel even before the driver enters the car.

The smartphone control of the heating system would help to heat the car using the power from the power grid so that we can save the energy stored in the battery.

#3 Affordable to drive

All the vehicle consume more energy during winter. Electricity cost is much less than that of fossil fuel used in a vehicle. You may read more: Economics of electric vehicle

#4 The fun to drive factor

The electric vehicle is fun to drive. Unlike the internal combustion engine, the electric motor could provide high torque at starting itself. The electric all drive features would add more controllability to the electric vehicles.

Even though electric cars are great in winter to drive, there are a few things to note while driving in winter.  Let’s check what to be taken care of winter driving of an electric car.

electric car cold weather performance

How to drive an electric car in cold weather effectively?

Let’s expect a reduced range for electric vehicles during winter. It’s a fact that all the vehicle will have reduced performance during winter.

IC engine vehicles will have a reduced range due to the energy consumption for warming the interior.

How to overcome the reduced range of EVs? The following are a few practices that help to get the maximum from the electric cars during cold weather.

#1 Keep the vehicle plugged is as far as possible

To keep the battery fully charged and get maximum range try to charge the vehicle whenever possible. The possibility of range anxiety would be more during winter.

Be aware of the charge in the battery and try to plug in as far as possible. The vehicle range might reduce about 40% during cold weather.

#2 Use preconditioning feature of the car

If the car comes with a preconditioning feature that allows you to adjust the temperature of the vehicle using a smartphone, try to make use of it.

This preconditioning feature heat both interior and battery pack of the electric vehicle prior to driving the vehicle.

The vehicle then uses the energy from the charging station itself instead of the energy stored in the battery.

The preconditioning feature of an electric car is better than that of an internal combustion engine vehicle. Since EVs can use the power from the charging station itself for the warming up, the range of the vehicle would not be affected much.

#3 Try to park the vehicle at hot places

If your garage is warm try to keep the electric vehicle there. The effect of cold weather shall be avoided and the temperature of the battery, interior, etc. can be kept at a reasonable level by keeping the car at hot places during winter.

You can park the vehicle at sunlight if possible. The heat from sun rays would also help to get a little warm inside and outside the electric car.

#4 Try to use ‘Eco’ mode

If the car has an Eco mode of operation that increases the range, try to use the mode during winter. The eco-mode ultimately aims to minimize the energy consumption of the vehicle.

The energy used in the air conditioner, the torque request by the driver, etc. will be limited in the eco mode of operation.

#5 Try to use regenerative braking feature

The regenerative braking feature stores the energy back to the battery while braking the vehicle. You may read more about regenerative braking here.

During winter, it’s always better to use the regenerative braking feature at its maximum capability.

#6 Minimize the use of the car heater

A study of the American Automobile Association shows that the car heater results in a reduction of electric vehicle range up to 41%.

They had studied the performance of the car during winter (climate control on and off) and the range reduction was around 12% for cars with climate control.

Try to use the winter clothes inside the car and minimize the use of heater so that to increase the range of electric cars.


The pros and cons of using an electric car in winter are described here. Why an EV is great in winter, what to note while driving an electric car in winter, etc. were discussed.

Do you like the article about the performance of electric cars in cold weather?

Don’t forget to share the post with your friends and follow us on FacebookLinkedInTwitterInstagramand YouTube!

Key points

  • Electric cars are great to drive in winter
  • You must take care of the battery charge, use of regenerative braking etc. for winter driving

You may also like