Electric car batteries have a slightly harder job in winter than at other times of the year. Here’s how to look after them and your car to keep your range as long as possible in the cold
There is a certain temperature window that is optimal for batteries in terms of their life span and effective capacity. If the battery can be kept within this window without the need to cool or heat it, it will perform at its best and give the electric car the longest possible range. Batteries tend to be cold on winter mornings and need help to reach the optimum operating temperature. In addition, the battery contributes to heating the car interior at that time, which again increases the electricity consumption slightly.
With a few simple steps, the user can ensure that consumption is minimised again and the battery operates in a way that does not negatively impact its overall life. It’s actually similar to the various pieces of advice on extending the life of internal combustion engines in conventional cars (for example, don’t rev a cold engine), only most of the advice relates to something slightly different.
One ideal way to reduce an electric car’s consumption, especially on shorter journeys, is to preheat both the car and the battery. It is particularly ideal to switch on preheating when charging the car; on the ENYAQ iV, this can be activated both in the on-board system and from your mobile phone using the MyŠKODA app. Simply set a departure time and the car’s interior and the battery itself will be heated to the ideal temperature in readiness. This means the car’s heating won’t have to be turned on full while driving and saves a lot of energy.
Even heating the electric car itself can be done efficiently to keep consumption as low as possible. For example, using seat or steering wheel heating is more efficient in terms of keeping the occupants warm than heating the cabin air alone. The heating can be turned down to a lower temperature and comfort can be provided by, for example, warming the seats.
To avoid the need to heat the car so much, especially in the beginning, it is of course ideal to park where it is not so cold: ideally in a garage or at least on the leeward side of the house. If you can also connect the car to a charger and let it not only recharge but also preheat to the desired temperature, that’s best of all.
In the end, it is the driver who has the biggest influence on an electric car’s range. In winter, anticipatory driving is more important than ever. As well as providing a longer range, it is also safer on winter roads. So keep a safe distance from the cars ahead, slow down smoothly for corners and use driver assistance systems to help you drive at an even speed.
Winter tyres should be a matter of course for drivers across most of Europe in winter. But it is not only the tread condition that’s crucial. Tyre pressure is important: don’t let it drop too low, as this increases fuel consumption.
A higher cargo weight means more energy is needed to move it. So make sure that in winter (and the rest of the year) you don’t have unnecessary items in your car that increase energy consumption.
ŠKODA iV electric cars have a special Eco mode that limits certain functions and power consumption, thus extending the range. You can make use of this even in winter, of course.
Special equipment can also help electric cars to extend their range: suitable winter tyres with low rolling resistance or LED Matrix headlights can reduce consumption. In the interior, the heated seats and steering wheel come in handy, and the ENYAQ iV can also benefit from an optional heat pump for heating to reduce consumption compared to conventional electric heating.