After a year of record electric vehicle sales, waves of people are spending their first winter with an all-electric car for the first time. They'd do well to pay attention to these five tips for charging in cold weather from the Electrify America charging network.

EVs, just like any other vehicles, operate the best in a certain window of temperatures, outside of which their energy consumption range or charging might be negatively affected.

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Battery temperature is the key

An electric vehicle's battery performance is highly dependent on temperature. If it's too low (or too high) the rate of charging might be significantly limited.

In cold weather, EVs usually consume more energy because they have to heat the cabin as well as the battery, and this load is noticeable. This translates to a lower driving range and potentially more charging needed during a trip.

Meanwhile, a cold battery—at least before its thermal management system kicks in—might not be able to accept the power level, that normally would be available. This concerns most types of lithium-ion batteries, some more than others.

Because of those two effects, Electrify America lists five tips, which in most cases focus on how to keep battery temperature in the optimum range (via a pre-conditioning feature or parking indoors) or at least being aware and planning ahead:

  1. Anticipate longer charging sessions
    The vehicle controls the charging speeds, not the charger. When temperatures are low, the EV’s software reduces its charging power.
  2. Temperature changes may impact EV range
    Check for overnight drops in temperature, as low temperatures can reduce an EV’s driving range.  Some EVs can predict range reductions during extreme temperatures and will adjust the console display.
  3. Plan your charging session
    Locate public charging stations ahead of time to avoid finding yourself with shortened range in relation to the nearest charging station.
  4. Park indoors when you can
    Consider parking indoors in extreme cold weather.  Warmer indoor temperatures can help prevent slower charging speeds and preserve the charge for longer.
  5. Utilize your EV’s cold weather features
    Some EVs have a pre-conditioning feature that allows drivers to program or manually warm the battery to more optimal temperatures.

What's your best tip for a new EV driver when they're dealing with cold weather?

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