Tips for EV Maintenance during winter season


This article is authored by Mridu Mahendra Das, co-founder & CEO of Automovill
Over the last decade, there has been a rising interest, bordering on appreciation for electric vehicles (EVs). Carmakers that were initially skeptical of electric cars are now investing billions in their manufacturing. This is chiefly because battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which are powered solely by electricity, have the potency to curtail transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions as well as petroleum usage by substituting electricity for gasoline as the fuel source. Early electric vehicles (EVs) relied on lead-acid batteries, but modern EVs predominantly use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Due to their relatively high specific energy, high – power density, and low self-discharge rate, lithium-ion batteries are the preferred choice of EV manufacturers as well as customers.
However, there are some obstacles to the widespread adoption of these vehicles. Other than the price, range anxiety is a major factor influencing consumer willingness to switch to EVs. At the same time, battery performance is strongly influenced by temperature. Low temperature not only minimises battery’s available energy output and power, but it can also cause permanent degradation. During the colder months, the internal resistance of the battery increases, reducing the amount of power that can be pulled from it. Other factors that contribute to poor battery performance in the extreme cold include increased electrolyte viscosity and lithium plating. Nevertheless, these disadvantages can be mitigated if proper precautions and care are taken at the appropriate time. Since no one wants their vehicle to break down in any season, especially in cold and snowy conditions, here are some general tips for EV maintenance during the winter season:
Park your EV in a garage
Parking in the driveway or on the roadside is seemingly convenient, but for EV drivers who own a garage, securing the machine inside during the cold weather can make a big difference. The garage’s comparative warmth will aid the battery to maintain its optimum strength for a longer time. Furthermore, a battery left in bad climates for an extended period will underperform as compared to one maintained in warmer air. This is also applicable to indoor parking areas at shopping malls or other areas where you have the choice of parking indoors instead of leaving it at the mercy of the weather outside.
Warm up your car in the morning
Most EVs come with mobile-operated apps that enable you to warm up your vehicle ahead of time. Pre-conditioning allows you to avert the often-painful first few minutes in a cold car when we prefer to blow the heater which drains a lot of energy. So, if you turn on your vehicle heaters before departing, it will heat the interior to your preferred temperature while also warming up the battery to boost efficiency. However, it is strongly advised to do so while the car is still getting charged to avoid using supplementary energy from the battery to heat the vehicle.
Don’t fast charge your EV in cold weather
As previously stated, lithium plating is a battery’s worst enemy in winter conditions. The phenomenon, however, becomes more severe when the current flowing is high. As a result, it is not recommended that you fast charge your electric vehicle when the outdoor temperature is under freezing temperature. If you intend to travel extensively in your EV, charge it fully at night using level 1 charging. This not only guarantees a full charge in the morning, but it also delivers a slow charging current that will not potentially harm the battery.
Inspect your tyres
Tyre pressure naturally gets decreased by one pound per square inch (PSI) for every ten-degree drop in ambient temperature. Therefore chillier it gets, the lesser the PSI of your tyres. So, before the snowstorm hits, make sure your tyres are adequately inflated as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer, the tread is decent with no irregular wear and the rubber is in satisfactory condition. It should be noted that tyre rubber degrades after a few years, and older tyres must be replaced even if they have the strength to roll your vehicle. Despite the season, regularly check your tyres at least once a month and always before embarking on a long-distance drive.
Employ Eco Mode
Unlike traditional automobiles, EVs do not have a gas-powered engine, so there is no additional waste heat to assist heat up the car’s cabin. If you’re going on a winter road trip, operating the heater at full blast will rapidly drain your battery. However, this problem can be solved by driving in eco mode, which minimises energy usage by restricting the supply of energy to the drive engine and cabin air conditioning units. To keep your body warm, you can also use the heated seat feature. This could prolong the range of your EV, and you won’t have to charge it as frequently.
Use Regenerative Braking
Regenerative braking is immensely beneficial in all seasons, but specifically in the colder months when you need to optimise battery performance and range. If your EV has regenerative braking, it will gradually replenish the battery’s charge as you slow down, resulting in a longer standby time. Another advantage of regenerative braking is that it reduces the risk of losing control of your vehicle on slick roadways. This is due to the motor gradually decelerating the vehicle to a halt. As a result, trips in electric cars are much extremely safe and more dependable during the wintertime than trips in traditional vehicles fueled by the internal combustion engine.


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