If you’re in North America, it’s the coldest time of the year. There are record-breaking snow storms and freezing temperatures in many places across the continent. With the frigid weather always comes articles that create myths about how electric vehicles can’t handle the cold. So, we’re here to set the record straight about 5 myths about electric cars in the cold.
EV Myth #1: EVs Are More Affected by the Cold Than Gas Vehicles
Actually, electric cars and gas vehicles are both affected by the cold. On the one hand, EVs can lose around 40% of their range in frigid temperatures. But on the other hand, gas vehicles can also lose up to 22% of their fuel efficiency in the cold.
However, electric vehicles are overall more efficient than gas cars. This is because an electric motor is more efficient in turning stored electricity into energy than a gas car is in turning gasoline into mechanical energy.
In general, for both types of vehicles, batteries are less efficient at lower temperatures.
EV Myth #2: EVs Don’t Have Enough Range in the Cold
Yes, EVs do experience decreased range in the cold. It decreases based on outdoor temperature, if you’re using the heater, the age of the battery and a few other things.
However, on average, drivers only commute around 31 mi (50 km) each day. And most popular electric vehicles today offer a range of more than 100 mi/160 km. That means that even with a decreased range, EVs are capable of getting you where you need to be, even in the cold.
Read FLO’s tips about how to increase your EV’s range in the winter.
EV Myth #3: Using the Heater Will Leave You Stranded
If you drive an electric vehicle, using the heater does decrease the range. But as most EV drivers know, there’s a simple solution to this. If you pre-heat the car while it’s still plugged in, then you can use energy from the grid to warm it up before starting.
After that, relying on steering wheel and seat warmers rather than the main cabin heater will help preserve the battery.
EV Myth #4: EVs Don’t Start When It’s Cold
Actually, electric vehicles start just fine when it’s cold. In fact, they often start even better than gas vehicles when temperatures drop.
This is because EVs don’t rely on cold engine oil and other driveline fluids to warm up to be able to start. There’s no cold cranking or turning the engine in an electric vehicle.
With EVs, you just push the button on the dashboard and the vehicle starts immediately.
EV Myth #5: You Shouldn’t Buy an EV If You Live in a Cold Climate
If you’re not sure about buying an electric vehicle because you live in a cold climate, consider this. Norway is the top country in the world for EV adoption compared to total car sales. This is a country with icy, snowy, wet winters.
Meanwhile, here in Canada, EV sales continue to increase despite our notoriously harsh winters. On average, EV sales have gone up 66% each year for the last five years. And as the number of public charging stations continues to grow, drivers will always have somewhere to plug-in when they need a charge.
The bottom line: electric vehicles work just fine in the cold. Lower temperatures do affect the range. But as long as you plan ahead and follow these tips, you won’t have to worry about running out of range in the winter.