Feb 14, 2024 | EV Guides


With the colder months well under way and road conditions becoming less predictable, many drivers worry about driving their EV in winter, preserving the health of their batteries, and staying safe on icy roads. 

Whilst there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to drive your EV in winter, just as with any other kind of vehicle, there are certain precautions you can take to make it safer and more comfortable.  

tips for driving your ev in winter - an electric vehicle plugged into a home charger, surrounded by snow

Does EV Range Decrease in Winter? 

In short, yes, your EV range does decrease in winter, but this doesn’t have to mean disaster for drivers! If you take the following steps, you can help maximise your range while staying safe on the roads. 

Typically, EVs will perform best at temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, as their lithium-ion batteries are affected by extreme temperatures. In addition, your car’s electrical systems such as heaters and headlights will also contribute to the faster depletion of your EV battery in winter. 

Image of a snow covered landscape with a winding road running through

Tips for Driving EVs in Winter 

If you’re going to be driving an EV in winter, it’s important to be prepared to avoid issues such as running out of range mid-journey.  

Plan ahead

When driving an EV in winter, conditions may be less predictable with road closures, flooding and hazards all potentially affecting your journey. When setting off in your EV, make sure you plan your journey, taking into account these possibilities. For example, leave yourself extra time to get to your destination and take a charging cable with you, just in case you need to stop and top up your range at a public charge point that doesn’t have compatible connection with your vehicle.  

A great way to ensure you never run out of range is to use websites such as Zap Map, which shows you a map of all the public charge points on your route, so you can plan accordingly. 

Keep your battery topped up

To help preserve your EV battery in winter, it’s important to keep your battery charged between 80-20%. A great way of doing this by using a home EV charger to charge your vehicle overnight, so you’re ready to go in the morning.  

Remember, in cold temperatures, your EV will store 15-20% of its battery capacity to heat itself up, which will affect your range per charge. 

Drive efficiently

By making small changes to the way you drive your EV in winter, you can help preserve your battery range. Try to avoid accelerating and braking too quickly, and maintain steady speeds, allowing yourself to slow down gently when needed. 

You can also use a technique called regenerative braking which involves slowing down smoothly and avoiding sudden braking. This uses the kinetic energy from your brakes to re charge your battery. However, regenerative braking should be used with caution on slippery roads and if you feel as though you are starting to skid, you should rely on traditional braking methods to keep yourself and others safe. 

Check out our handy guide to find out more about maximising electric vehicle range

Drive cautiously

As with any type of vehicle, driving an EV in winter comes with added risks, meaning it is important to drive with caution on icy or snowy roads to keep yourself and other drivers safe. This involves leaving extra braking space between you and the vehicle in front of you and using your fog lights where necessary to increase visibility. 

You should also be careful to avoid driving in the tyre tracks left behind from other vehicles, as compacted snow will be more slippery.  

Use Eco Mode

Many EVs come with an ‘Eco Mode’ setting, which is similar to ‘battery saving mode’ on a smartphone. When enabled, this feature is designed to conserve energy by limiting the power consumption of your vehicle. 

Though many drivers use Eco Mode all year round, the benefits can be felt even more in the winter. 

Preheat your EV

Nobody likes getting into a freezing cold car first thing in the morning or standing on the driveway with a bottle of de-icer for 15 minutes, so this is where your pre heat feature comes in handy! Not only does pre heating your car before you set off make for a more comfortable journey, but it will also use less battery power than if you were to defrost your car whilst driving.  

Some EVs even come with apps that allow you to remotely begin pre-heating before you set off, from the comfort of your own home.  

Another good way to heat your car with minimal battery expenditure is to use heated seats and steering wheel features rather than blasting your heating systems which could significantly reduce your range.  

Park indoors where possible

The key to preserving your EV battery in winter, is to minimise your vehicle’s exposure to extreme temperatures wherever possible. The best way to do this to park your EV indoors. If you have a garage, this is ideal, and will not only keep your battery from being exposed to the elements but will also save you time on defrosting your car in the morning. 

If you don’t have access to an indoor parking space, a great alternative is to use a covering for your car, such as a tarp. This will prevent frost and snow build-up, protecting your car and saving defrosting time.  

Take care of your tyres

If you live in an area that sees particularly wintry conditions, it maybe be worth investing in winter tyres for your EV. These tyres can help with traction and grip on the road. 

Many modern EVs come with stability control systems to help drivers keep control of their vehicles in icy conditions but be sure to check that your car has this feature before setting off on a slippery route.  

Topping up your tyre pressure is another simple but important precaution to take when driving an EV in winter. As the temperature drops, so will your tyre pressure, so be sure to keep your pressure at optimal levels by checking it regularly. 

electric car in winter - closeup of tyres on snow

Interested in Maintaining your EV Battery in Winter with a Home Charger? 

Keep your EV battery topped up from the comfort of your own home with a home EV charger installation. At Yü Charge, we offer EV charger installation for a range of different products to suit homes, businesses and everything in between. Check out our full range of chargers and get your free no obligation installation quote today.