Motorists pay extra attention to their vehicles as winters set in. Season shift strongly impacts vehicles, and winters are not easy. Vehicles lose their efficiency during the winters. This is true for all kinds of vehicles, not just EVs. Internal combustion engines (ICE) and electric vehicles both witness a marked loss of efficiency during the cold months of winter.
Experts and EV owners alike will agree that EV Lithium-ion batteries are temperature sensitive, especially to the cold. They lose some of their range in cold weather conditions. But are electric cars good in winters? Our answer to that is a big YES. In fact, they are better than their ICE counterparts. We have overlooked and blindly accepted the loss of power in ICE vehicles in winters.
Why are EVs a great choice for winter?
Contemporary EVs come with a thermal management system, an additional battery that takes care of the temperature of the main battery pack. It ensures the battery cells always remain at a proper operating temperature. This thermal management system makes it possible to start and use the EV in all weather conditions, including sub-zero temperatures.
EV heat management systems work like an AC in reverse by heating the system up. The good part is that this system can preheat the EV when plugged into the charging station. Effectively, loss of range due to the use of power to heat the battery pack need not be a concern. Modern EVs are connected to our phones, so using the apps, preheating can be done anywhere and anytime.
How are EVs better than ICEs in winters?
The fact is that a huge amount of power in an ICE is generated and lost as heat and friction between the moving parts. The actual power transmitted to the wheels is less than 50% actually produced by the engine. In the winter, the ICE also utilizes fuel to warm up the engine and cabin before starting. All this is true for EVs, but the process is much faster. You get warm air from the duct immediately, which cannot happen in an ICE.
Secondly, EVs are heavier than their ICE counterparts due to the heavy battery pack sitting on its floor. This not only makes the EV more stable, due to its lower center of gravity, but also provides better handling. Tires get a better grip on the road, dependent on tire condition, which is a blessing on snow-covered roads.
Precautions for EV in Cold Weather Conditions
An EV drops its efficiency by an estimated 20% in cold conditions, so think carefully about your intended driving range in very cold weather. Loss of range prompts more-frequent charging of the EV, and in cold temperatures, the EV takes more time to charge. So give enough time for the EV to charge by factoring in the extra time it will take to reach the level to which you normally charge your vehicle. There is also a loss of efficiency from regenerative breaking, so do not rely on one-pedal driving.
If you are planning to make the switch to an EV and worry about the winter performance, rest assured your EV will be much more fun to drive in all temperature conditions.