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What can be done to reduce the impact of cold weather?

What can be done to reduce the impact of cold weather?

Electric cars do not like winter. You may have heard this phrase before, and although it is true, in practice it is not so easy. In this report we will elaborate on the impact of cold temperatures and severe weather on batteries and consumption of electric vehicles and how to reduce them.

mercedes eqc

Source: Mercedes

The cold temperatures are coming, and for those who are going to enjoy the first winter in an electric car, some awkward surprises can happen. If you want to prevent yourself from a few disappointments, or want to know what to expect, this file is for you. From heat enhancement to limited regenerative braking, including the best practices for fast charging, let’s see what we have in winter!

Consumption that can skyrocket in cold weather

You may be well aware of the situation: you leave early in the morning for your regular trip, where you consume about 10% of the battery, but today, you notice that consumption has doubled, and 20% of the battery is disconnected. On arrival. Do not be afraid, there is no problem with your vehicle: It is normal for consumption to increase as the temperature decreases.

The cooler heats up quickly between the battery and the passenger compartment, and these extra consumptions, which are not present on sunny days, appear with the drop in outside temperature. Generally speaking, if you are planning long trips in the winter with harsh weather, you can consume 30% more when the conditions are optimal.

However, do not be afraid: there are solutions to reduce the effects of winter, which are very simple to combine comfort and reasonable consumption. Depending on the vehicle, the mobile app will allow you to schedule charging and heating without going physically in the car. Pros: Make sure you have the right conditions before each departure.

Heating control from Tesla application

Thermal control from Tesla app // Source: Bob Jui for Frontroyd

The main reason for the resulting increase in consumption is to overheat the passenger compartment if it is too cold. In fact, the car is generally advised to heat the interior quickly. To do this, the ventilation system will run at full speed. Depending on the vehicle, this can achieve an instantaneous consumption of 6 kW, which in extreme cases equals 3 kWh of consumption in 30 minutes.

For a 15-kilometer journey of 30 minutes depending on this consumption environment during urban transport, if the consumption without heating is 150 Wh / km, with full heat, it will reach 350 Wh / km, twice as much. ! Fortunately, This eruption is particularly marked at the beginning of the journey, and its effect is smoother as the journey progresses.

After all, heated seats and steering – if they are in your vehicle – can be very efficient. This can save a few percent of the battery when needed.

Cold battery and its effects

The electric car battery has the optimum operating temperature. In most cases, it will be between 20 and 40 degrees Celsius. Considering the fact that we are talking about several hundred kilos, the energy required to significantly increase the temperature would be substantial, and this cannot be done in a second.

Recharges in corrupt mode

During periods when the battery is too cold to operate in the nominal way, the vehicle will do everything to protect the battery, and this will have consequences for driving and recharging the vehicle. In some extreme cases, the car cannot be recharged until the battery is warm enough.

Renault Zoé Charging Socket

Renault Zoé Charging Socket // Source: Jean-Brice Lemal for Renault France

Take the case of Tesla, for example. If the battery temperature is too low and cannot be charged quickly – by plugging it into a 3 kW home outlet – all the energy can be expended to run the motor (s). The system heats up rather than recharging the battery.

This can have unintended consequences: when the battery is at the right temperature, the charge lasts several hours longer than expected.

Limited regenerative braking

As with recharging, regenerative braking can be severely affected by a battery that is too cold. This point is very logical because it is actually about recharging the battery and using the energy generated by the motors that turn it into generators.

So, with a battery that can’t take as much input power as usual, you’ll deal with limited regenerative braking, which may be absent even in the most extreme cases. If you are accustomed to driving with a pedal, it is important to apply the brake pedal frequently as the temperature of the bag rises.

Finite power

The maximum power available at the battery output is affected by the temperature of the bag. So don’t expect the acceleration to break records if your vehicle is left in the cold overnight. Depending on the model, the power range may be more or less important, but in most cases, placing your feet on the floor does not fit your head as usual.

Deformed fast charging

Finally, there is a specific phenomenon that affects some electric cars, which can not keep their battery warm enough if the outside temperature is too cold, the speed of charging decreases even after driving for several hours, sometimes dramatically.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona electric car has ionity terminal // Source: Yan Lethullier for Frontroid

For vehicles that claim to be charging at more than 200 kW, plugging in a fast charger in the cold of winter can turn out to be an experience beyond the manufacturer’s promises.

Best practices for winter

As you can understand by now, consumption is skyrocketing, regenerative braking is low, and charging power is not optimal. But is all this inevitable? What can be done to reduce these frustrations?

Most electric vehicles allow you The passenger compartment and sometimes the battery will ensure that you enjoy nominal operation even in freezing weather.. In practice, you define a start time and the heating will start a few minutes before, so you do not have to spend the energy needed to heat the room.

Source: Frandroid

Source: Frandroid

In some cars, this prerequisite is only possible if plugged in, restricting its effectiveness if you park it outside without charging. If you are connected to a charging station, this prerequisite avoids draining the battery. Power will come directly from the charger you are connected to.

Finally, it is important to avoid the frustrations associated with degenerate charging Support recharging when the battery is hot. Thus, it can be enjoyable to charge for the evening you arrive after driving for several hours and warming up the battery, especially during long journeys that last several days with night rest. The battery will be cooler overnight than in the morning.

If this good practice is valid in any weather condition, the negative impact of the cold battery will be felt more with the winter temperature. If you remember to use the little tips mentioned in this file, everything will work just fine. Anyway, don’t be surprised that summer doesn’t have the same experience as winter in an electric car, nothing normal.

Small motor, no gearbox, batteries guaranteed for many years, brake pads are used sparingly … that’s why electric cars don’t need maintenance like combustion vehicles.
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