Electric vehicle (EV) batteries charge by moving ions through a liquid electrolyte. As the temperatures outside drop, the electrolyte in lithium ion EV batteries thickens and it becomes more difficult for ions to move through (much like the challenge of walking through snow versus dry pavement). This increased resistance results in less EV battery range as more energy is needed for each ion to move. Fortunately, there are things you can do to stay warm and improve your EV range. Below are four tips to get the most out of your EV battery this winter.
Warm the battery/cabin while your vehicle is still plugged in. By leaving your vehicle plugged in, you use electricity from the grid to get it warmed up, rather than drawing energy from your battery. Once you hit the road, there’s more battery charge left available for driving.
Use your vehicle’s heated accessories. Heated accessories (steering wheel, seats, etc.) use less energy than heating the entire cabin. In addition, the warmth on your backside and fingers can minimize the amount of cabin heat needed to make you and your passengers feel comfortable.
Practice eco-driving. Using eco-driving techniques can help get the most out of your range all year round. Some eco-driving tips include watching your speed, minimizing hard starts, and maximizing your regenerative braking by coasting when possible and depressing the brake pedal gradually, when needed. Visit FuelEconomy.gov for more EV eco-driving tips.
Be sure to brush off your car before driving. Snow or ice on your vehicle adds extra weight that your battery has to drag along and increases aerodynamic drag by changing your vehicle’s profile. Since EVs don’t produce waste heat from the engine, snow on your hood will stay put if you don’t brush it off before your start your trip.
Use these simple tips to stretch your EV range this winter. To learn more about electric vehicle, visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center.