Tips to optimize the range of your electric car in winter

Yes, to the electric car all types of weather affect it may not be the spring or the San Miguel summer (Saint Michel Little Summer, for the British), but we do echo a series of easy tips that go beyond basic maintenance, we will be able to alleviate some of the effects of the cold at night. time to circulate.

As we well know, the autonomy of the electric car is determined in fairly controlled laboratory tests and when we test an electric car through the portal we try to squeeze these batteries to have a more real reference data in normal conditions of use. As a real-time calculation tip, to have an approximation, we would have to divide the battery capacity, given in kWh, by the average consumption of the car, expressed in kWh/100 km, and multiply the result by 100.

For example, if we drive an Audi Q8 55 e-tron with a 106 kWh battery and consume 27 kWh/100km, we will have a autonomy of 392 km. Data that is quite far from the almost 550 that the manufacturer marks. Let’s say that this is a calculation that I usually do every time I test an electric car so as not to get hung up since, for my part, I don’t have a charger at home and I have to depend on the network that works the way it works.

The cold and how it affects

Before moving on to the key points, by knowing the enemy we can get an idea of ​​the main factors that reduce autonomy.

Basically, cold affects the movement of electrons in lithium-ion batteries, reducing their charge and discharge capacity. Studies have shown that at low temperatures, the autonomy can decrease between 20% and 50%. Manufacturers such as Nissan and BMW warn us about the risk of freezing and the inefficiency in energy recovery at extreme temperatures. Fortunately, in Spain these cases of -10º or -20º do not occur, except for specific exceptions.

To give you a fact, in a 2020 study carried out by the Norwegian Automobile Federation, 20 tested vehicle models On the street with temperatures of -6º to 3º they lost up to 23% of their autonomy. Likewise, in another study carried out in the US by the American Automobile Association, it was determined that an electric car in winter can lose 41% of its autonomy when the heating It connects with an ambient temperature of -6º.

As we say, extreme cases, but which we have to know and extrapolate to our more moderate winter climate.


Now, let’s move quickly to the tips and leave them as a headline.

  1. Smooth driving: Avoid sudden accelerations and braking to improve energy efficiency, try to anticipate roundabouts, downhill passes and play with braking regeneration to optimize those moments of zero consumption.
  2. Tires: Adjust tire pressure and consider all-season tires to maintain range. If the latter is more unfeasible, you can always pay the usual euro at the gas station and adjust the pressure following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Load up and start the journey: Take advantage of the heat generated during charging to start. If we undertake the trip with the residual heat of the charge we will not have to force the battery to warm up.
  4. 20-80 rule: Maintain at least 20% autonomy for starting and battery conservation in cold climates, also if you do not have long trips planned, adjust the battery charge so that the charging cycle stops at 80%.
  5. Heating: Prioritizes heated seats and steering wheel over cabin heating to save energy. It is rare that an electric car does not have this system, but if you can, in the first kilometers ignore the weather and opt for keeping your bottoms warm.
  6. Garage: Park in closed garages to avoid exposure to the cold, it is understood that if you have an electric car you have a charger at home, but if this is not the case, try to find a covered space.

In short, if we work a little in these colder months we will be able to extend the autonomy without major problems. If the loss of efficiency and kilometers is getting out of hand, it is recommended that you talk to the manufacturer to get advice more dedicated to your car and model.

Also and no less important,what do you do with your electric in winter? Leave it in the comments.

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