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Everything You Need to Know About Cold Weather EV Driving Ranges

As the temperature becomes colder, you might find that your electric vehicle struggles to keep up. In fact, you might find that your range drops by more than 40%. Bonney has partnered with ClipperCreek to bring residential EV charging solutions to our community. Here is a closer look from our experts on how the winter season impacts EV driving ranges and what you can do to protect your commute.

Why Does Cold Weather Impact EV Range?

Electric vehicle batteries rely on an electrochemical process that stores chemical energy and converts it into electricity. To effectively complete this process, your battery needs to maintain a consistent temperature. In extreme climates (especially in the winter), some of your EV power may be diverted towards heating or cooling your battery. 

Additionally, extreme temperatures often require you to use your car’s internal climate control—which also drains your battery. In their 2019 electric vehicle range testing, AAA found that using your car’s HVAC system has the most significant impact on your EV range. In 20℉ conditions, electric vehicle ranges decreased by an average of 41% when using the car’s heating system (as opposed to just a 12% decrease without climate control). 

To circumvent this issue, you can leave your car plugged in to preheat the vehicle. This can help you minimize or eliminate the range loss.

How Much Will My EV Range Drop?

The impacts of cold weather on electric vehicle ranges depend on a wide variety of factors, including vehicle age, make, model, and external temperature.

Vehicle and Battery Age

Electric vehicles (and their batteries, in particular) are constantly changing and evolving. The age of your EV and your battery can significantly impact how it performs in cold weather. Additionally, older batteries may be more worn than newer batteries, leaving them especially vulnerable to the impacts of cold weather. 

Different Brands = Different Range Impacts

Whether you are driving a Tesla, Chevrolet, BMW, Toyota, VW, or another electric vehicle, your system is built with varying materials designed to perform differently. Driving ranges may also vary between different models of the same brand. You can view more detailed information about your expected driving range in your owner’s manual.

External Temperature

Naturally, more extreme climates require more work from your vehicle. This is why the winter’s cold temperatures have a greater impact on your range than the summer’s heat. As we explained in a recent blog about why heating costs more than cooling, winter weather leaves a wider temperature gap to fill. In short, the further your external climate is from ~72℉, the more significant impact it will have on your driving range. 

How Can You Lengthen Winter EV Ranges?

Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to maximize your electric vehicle’s functioning in the cold weather.

  • Engage safe driving practices: Your driving habits also have a significant impact on your EV range. Excessive speeding, rapid acceleration, and abrupt braking can require more work from your battery—further cutting your range.
  • Minimize internal heat: If you are worried about your range, try minimizing your climate control usage, when possible. You might consider layering up so that you will not need to rely heavily on your vehicle for warmth in the winter.
  • Park your EV in the garage: Parking in your garage can help keep your battery protected from the impacts of the cold weather. When your battery does not need to heat itself up, it will offer more power to your vehicle.
  • Cover your EV: For those without a garage, adding a thermal cover to your vehicle may help keep it insulated.
  • Keep a full charge: You can make the most of your range when your battery is full. Try to maintain a full charge, when possible.

Perhaps the easiest way to keep a full battery on your electric vehicle is with a residential EV charging station.

Benefits of At-Home EV Charging

It will come as no surprise that having a professional-grade charging station in your home comes with its perks. Here is a look at some of the benefits you can expect from a residential EV charging station:

Peace of Mind

With a residential charger, you no longer need to worry about whether or not a public charger will be available. At-home charging can also help you ensure that your battery is always full—especially in range-dropping temperatures. This can give you the peace of mind that you have the power you need for your commute.

Ease and Convenience

Arranging vehicle drop-off/pick-up at public charging stations can become burdensome. Often, you will need to find an available station, begin charging, and find a ride to/from your vehicle. Instead, residential charging stations let you quickly power up from the convenience of your garage. 

Quick, Powerful, and Affordable Charging

If you drive an electric vehicle, you’ll likely have a Level 1 EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment). Residential EV charging stations are Level 2 EVSE, which offer quick, affordable charging. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that at-home charging costs just $0.04 per mile. Additionally, Level 2 EVSE provides up to 60 miles of range with just one hour of charging.

ROI of EV Chargers

Affordable charging is not the only way the EV charging stations pay for themselves. This investment can improve the retail value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers when you are ready to sell. You may also qualify for federal tax credits of up to 30%. Collectively, this investment can offer both short-term and long-term financial benefits.

Recharge with a Bonney Residential EV Charging Station

You can charge your electric vehicle from the convenience of your home with a residential EV charging station from the local electricians at Bonney. We have partnered with ClipperCreek to bring this service to homes and businesses in the greater Sacramento area—including Vacaville, Carmichael, Suisun City, Roseville, Rancho Cordova, Gold River, Fair Oaks, La Riviera, Rosemont, Citrus Heights, and beyond. Make your appointment today for a FREE evaluation to learn whether or not a residential electric vehicle charging station is right for you and your home.