A man in a winter coat plugs a charger into his electric vehicle, showing you a tip for driving your EV in the winter

Cars go through a lot during Canada's harsh winter months. Between the large amounts of metal-corrosive road salt, surprise blizzards, icy road conditions, and bone-chilling cold temperatures, drivers need to be on high alert while on the roads and take some extra steps to protect their vehicles.

Electric vehicles (EVs) face unique challenges during the winter, such as reduced battery life and shorter driving ranges, thanks to the colder weather.

Whether you're considering purchasing an electric vehicle to save on gas or you already have an EV and want to be prepared for your next winter road trip, consider these tips for driving an EV in the winter:

  1. Plan your trip ahead of time. You're more likely to drain your EV's battery by aimlessly driving around when you don't know where you're going. If you're planning on driving to an unfamiliar destination, set your GPS before you leave to make sure you're taking the most efficient and direct route possible. You should aim to have about double the battery range for your required trip distance when you head out, just in case your battery capacity drops due to cold temperatures. The night before your trip, plug in your EV to charge so you'll have a full battery for your trip.
  2. Precondition your EV before heading out for the day. Like running a gasoline car's engine in the morning to warm it up, an EV also needs to be "warmed up" or preconditioned before it runs to make sure it's operating as efficiently as possible. Before unplugging your EV from its charger, remote start your vehicle's preconditioning cycle and let it run for about 30 minutes. Preconditioning your car will heat up its interior without depleting its battery once it's unplugged.

    Electric vehicles charge and retain their battery capacity best at 15ºC to 35ºC. Precondition your EV, store it in the garage, and use Eco mode to improve your EV's battery life in the winter.

  3. Store your EV in a warm place. It takes more energy to start and warm up your EV when it's cold outside. A cold EV also means the battery will take longer to charge and won't hold a charge for as long. If you're currently parking your EV outside, it might be time to clear out your garage and give your car a warm place to stay.
  4. Drive smart, slow, and smooth. Reduce the rate at which you accelerate and brake to give your EV's battery a break. Try to maintain steady speeds when highway driving and use Eco mode as often as possible to reduce the amount of energy being used by your EV's battery and cabin heater.
  5. Swap out the all-seasons for winter tires. Install winter tires to capitalize on car insurance discounts and reduce your risk of slipping and sliding on snowy roads. For EVs, winter tires help improve traction and brake speed, meaning you'll have a more efficient drive.

There are many differences between traditional gas-powered vehicles and EVs. If you decide to make the switch from gasoline to electric, take time to learn the pros and cons of EVs and get in the fast lane to being more eco-friendly.

Before you pick up your new EV from the dealership, reach out to your group's licensed car insurance broker to compare different coverage options and prices.

Share this post on Facebook or Twitter to help other EV drivers learn the ins and outs of driving in the winter.