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Range Anxiety In Winter Weather

Cold weather can be more challenging for your electric car battery. Here are some tips to help with range.


The optimum temperature for the best performance of an electric car battery is obviously neither too hot nor too cold. In winter it can be more challenging, therefore, for the battery to perform to its longest possible range. So what can you do to help get the best possible performance and range in winter weather?

Preheating - set the departure time

When charging the vehicle, switch on preheating. By preheating both the car and the battery this saves energy in the long run, the car heating won't have to be turned up on full while driving. Preheating the vehicle battery will have it performing at optimum temperature from the get go. Many electric vehicles include interaction via your mobile phone to control these functions from indoors.

Snuggly seats and steering wheel

Instead of trying to heat the whole vehicle and the air inside, if you have it, try the heated seats and heated steering wheel instead. This way you keep cosy and you minimise the use of air conditioning and heating systems whilst driving. If you still require cabin heating, you can turn it down by a couple of degrees thus saving some range. Any such function used whilst driving is going to put more drain on the battery whilst driving.

Change the mode

Many electric vehicles have a selection of driving modes to choose from. By using more recuperation of energy, you will increase range. Especially in city driving, automated braking modes will help optimise the use of recuperative braking.

Don't recharge too early

On a longer journey, keeping going will warm up the battery. Waiting until the charge is between 5% and 20% to stop and recharge can help, you can then fast charge.

Park smart

A garage is the best place to park as it is not so cold, but if you can park on the leeward side of the building or house, that helps.

Anticipatory/Defensive Driving

You, as the driver, can greatly influence the battery range with your driving style. Anticipatory driving is more important than ever in winter. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, slow down smoothly for corners and use driver assistance systems to help you drive at an even speed. Even in a traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle, you can improve mpg with a better driving technique. (See our Roadcraft blogs for hints and tips on defensive driving techniques).

Tyre condition

Always check your tyres regularly. Tread is crucial in winter and also tyre pressure. Low tyre pressure increases fuel consumption. If you are worried or not sure how to check, then please visit our service centres for a tyre safety check.

Unnecessary cargo

More cargo weight means more energy needed to move it. Although in winter you are advised to take extra precautions on a long journey with potentially bad weather, don't have extra unnecessary items on board.

Use eco mode if you have it

Most electric vehicles have an 'eco' mode which limits certain functions and therefore power consumption, thus extending the range. Did you know that LED matrix headlamps can also reduce consumption?

Learn how to charge efficiently

Batteries generally do not benefit from frequent use of fast charging. They will stay 'healthy' for the longest time if they remain within the 20%-80% charging range as much as possible. Charging at home overnight is usually cheaper than at public stations, so planning ahead is useful.

If you have any further questions on electric vehicle range and driving, please do give our showrooms a call. They'd be happy to help.

Thanks to the ŠKODA technical team for some hints and tips on extending winter driving range.