Can Electric Cars Drive in the Snow

Can Electric Cars Drive in the Snow?

Can Electric Cars Drive in the Snow? It is not what you think

Electric cars are relatively new in the market. This is why few people own them.  This is also the reason why you may know very little about them.  It is therefore only fair for you to wonder; can electric cars drive in the snow? How do cold temperatures affect your car? Will your electric car work in the winter? Do they struggle in the cold winter weather? If, so, is there a way to help them? If you remember, we did an article about electric cars getting overheated but today, I intended to explain how cold weather may affect your electric car.

So, can electric cars drive in snow? Well, yes. Electric cars work perfectly well in the snow just like the other gasoline cars. Electric cars and gasoline cars work in an almost similar manner. The only difference is the type of fuel consumed.  So, electric cars will operate well in the snow

How do cold temperatures after your electric vehicle?

We have said an electric car will perform as well as normal one in the snow.  There is however, some aspects  in EV you may realize are affected by cold temperature; the amount of charge in the battery. Cold temperatures lower the temperatures of the electrolyte liquid in your battery.

Simple chemistry tells us liquid particles are in constant motion because of the kinetic energy they possess.  Cold temperatures mean low kinetic energy and hence slowed down battery chemical reaction. This is what reduces your battery performance. The ions in the electrolyte of your battery move from the negative side (anode) to the positive side (cathode).  Cold electrolyte means the slow rate at which ions move from anode to cathode. This is what reduces your battery performance.

When the battery performance is tested, the conditions are ambient. This is why the actual performance of your car may be higher or lower than indicated depending on your driving conditions. Below is a table showing you the performance of the common models at ambient conditions.

Car type Normal range Range during winter
Tesla model x 340 miles 200 miles
Tesla Model 3 353  miles
Tesla model s 390 miles

 

If the temperature reduces from the ambient temperature to below zero degrees, the performance reduces. The higher the speed, the shorter the distance you can cover.

Besides the range, your battery performance also affects how fast you can charge in public. You can plug your EV into the regular outlets or in a public charging station. According to the information obtained from tesla, EV charging in cold takes a long time. This is so even at supercharger stations. This applies to all charging stations.

What to expect when temperatures go down

Can Electric Cars Drive in the Snow

It is not the electric vehicles that are affected by cold weather only. you will also find that those who have electric scooters too are affected. Whether you are well experienced with electric cars or you are new, here are some of the things you should expect when winter goes down.

Tire pressure

Theoretically, you should always expect the tire pressure to reduce by 2% for every 10  C drop. Be sure to use an accurate pressure gauge. If the car pressure drops, just inflate them to the value recommended by the manufacturer.  YOU may consider installing a different set of tires that will increase the grips.

Reduced distance between charges

It is not electric cars only whose fuel efficiency is affected by cold weather. A well-cited study indicated that your fossil fuel vehicle has a mileage drop by 20% in the cold weather.  You may not have noted this because it is not expected. the effect of cold weather on mileage is pronounced when it comes to electric cars. The operating range of your car`s electric battery drops by almost 41% in cold weather.  So, for a tesla model x rated 340 miles, you will only cover approximately 200 miles per charge. This is a very high margin. So, make sure you do your math before leaving your house for any destination.

In addition to reduced mileage, the regenerative function is affected significantly. A regenerative brake is a braking system that converts energy from the wheels into electric energy. This is applied when you are going downhill or when you are braking. It increases the mileage you can cover.

Increased charging time

Also, expect a longer charging time even with your supercharger. As I had explained earlier, the reduced temperature affects the movement of ions in the electrolyte and so is the time take to charge. There are two ways to beat around this. The first way is the use of a battery management system. The current battery management system is meant to keep the battery warm when it is cold. The primary function of a battery management system (BMS) is to keep your battery from getting overheated. EV`s heating system is part of BMS.  The second method is to make sure you keep your battery plugged into the charger. Because the charging rate is affected, it won’t matter whether you choose the super charger or the regular one. Keeping it plugged not only ensure your battery is warm but also fully charged.

The reason why a regular car beats an EV when it comes to fuel in the winter is that the regular car can produce enough heat to keep itself at required temperatures. Your electric car, on the other hand, will require you to use the battery to warm itself; of course, unless it is plugged into a charger.

How to maximize your car`s range

Other than those two ways I have mentioned above, there are other things you can do to help improve the range of your car. The things I will mention here are not related to your car directly. This is why you will need to plan well in advance.

Keep your car indoor where possible

This involves keeping your car in the garage. The garage is a little warmer than outside and that is good for the battery. If it happens you garaged is heated, the better.

Some vehicles come with pre-condition functionality. It is a feature that is meant to warm the interior and the battery of your vehicle.  Since electric cars such as tesla have android apps, you can engage them before you leave your home. You can also park your EV in the sun to keep it a little warmer. It won`t overheat in the winter parked in the sun during the winter.

Use heating feature

Such electric cars usually come with a heating feature.  It is advisable to minimize the use of a heater to warm your seat or steering.  Unlike the regular cars that use a lead-acid battery ( which is constantly charged by the engine), EVs uses the lithium battery to warm inside of your car. This reduces your range further. My advice is to set the temperatures as low as you are comfortable. You can choose to wear warm clothes instead of engaging the heater. In the aforementioned well-cited study, it was discovered that when turning the heater off and the climate control feature off, only less than 20% of the mileage was lost. You see, this is far smaller than the 41% the study indicated.

Use eco-mode

Some of the latest tesla models have an ECO mode.  This is a mode designed to preserve your battery charge to extend your range. There are some regenerative arrangements where you can adjust the regenerative force. In such cases, select to have a full force so that more power can be harnessed by your battery. Additionally, it is common knowledge that driving very fast consumes more power. We saw this in our previous article about electric scooters for winter. Most of the cars, even the regular ones, are not designed with aerodynamics in mind. There is a drag force that increases with speed.  So, at higher speeds, more energy will be consumed to overcome the drag.

If you can, make arrangements to charge at your home. It might be expensive at some places but it is worth it.

Charge to 80%

You may have noticed that charging our car to full capacity takes about 3 or more hours. However, it takes an hour or less to charge to 80% of your battery capacity. You can save time by not charging your car to full capacity. furthermore, it is usually recommended that lithium batteries ought to be kept between 80% and 20% of their charge capacity to increase their lifetime.  Draining your battery fully can destroy it. Before we are done with can electric cars drive in the snow, let us check some other areas other than the battery.  oil

Are there ways in which EVs are better than regular cars in the snow? It is not what you think

Other than matters to do will fuel, most of the cars do not perform so well in the winter. This has to do with how winter affects road conditions. this is not the case with electric vehicles. Your EV tends to perform better than a regular car in the winter. Let me explain.

Electric cars and regular are propelled differently. Firstly, electric cars are very silent. We discussed how this is possible in our previous article on how loud electric bikes are. This is changing very soon. Secondly, there are the motors. The electric motors can deliver constant torque even at different speeds. This is possible even though EVs are not direct drive.

Winter driving tips and preparations

Preheating

Ensure your EV`s temperatures are warm when you need to use your car. You should do this while your car is still plugged in.  It reduces the amount of power drawn from the battery. So do this while you are using a level 2 charger. It helps when it comes to removing the snow.

Also, a warm battery is better than a cold one. Preheating your car also keeps your battery warm.  This is good for your car.  A frozen battery may not offer the desired performance and may drain even faster.

Keep your car plugged

A plugged car has the BMS running as well. This generates heat that keeps your battery at the right temperature. It reduces the need to preheat to very high temperatures when you are about to depart. If you think your battery is almost full, you can go for a level 1 charger since it is very slow and it won`t ruin your battery. Furthermore, there are charger controller components that prevent your battery from charging excessively.

Use eco-driving

This is one of the listed modes you will find in your electric car. This mode reduces the amount of power consumed so that it can increase your range. You ought to accelerate slowly and also brake slowly; this helps maximize the regenerative braking. Also, make sure all unnecessary loads are removed from your EV. The heavier your car is, the faster it will drain energy from the battery.

Tires

I had mentioned earlier that reducing temperatures also affect tire pressure. Cold air is denser and occupies less space. Therefore, during winter, ensure your car is at the right pressure before departure. Deflated tires require a lot of energy to rotate.

Heated surfaces

Where possible, ensure you use an alternative source of heat other than those that will drain your battery. However, if you are to choose between using cabin heat and heated seats/ steering, go for the latter. It requires less amount of energy from your battery.

Final thoughts on can electric cars drive in the snow?

You should not get discouraged because of range reduction in the winter. Electric cars in the Canadian winter can still offer admirable performance; of course, if you follow the above tips.  EVs in the cold climate may have issues with range and charging, but this is expected to change very soon. Furthermore, were electric cars, not a dream just the other day?

The operation cost of an EV is far lower than that of a regular car. For instance, no regular oil changes in the engine are necessary. Additionally, the cost per mile is less for EVs than for regular cars. According to motor biscuits, a tesla car costs $ 4.24 per 100 miles while a regular car will consume approximately $ 10 per 100 miles. So, in the long run, EV is better than regular car in so many ways.

It is expected the vehicle efficiency will increase in time.