What to know about driving an EV in winter

019 Oct 2023

Winter weather can throw up a few unexpected driving challenges for even the most seasoned EV owners. But, with the right planning and precautions, you can safely and efficiently drive through the depths of winter and out the other side. 

While every EV is different, in this guide we’ll explore essential tips for owners looking to drive in winter weather conditions – including how to get the best from your battery performance, plan routes and make the most of your EV’s features. And remember, the bp pulse app is a must when it comes to helping with charging, so make sure you download it before the winter sets in.

Find a public charging point near you by downloading the bp pulse app >

1. Smoothly does it

In slippery conditions, it's crucial to drive smoothly and avoid sudden acceleration, braking, or sharp turns. This not only improves your EV's traction, but also helps conserve battery power. Go gentle on the power and braking to maintain control.

2. Give yourself space

The festive period is full of seasonal distractions. In wintery weather – or if your visibility is reduced – you may want to allow a little extra space between your EV and the vehicle in front of you. This extra distance gives you more time to react to unexpected situations and reduces the need for sudden braking on slippery or icy surfaces.

3. Think traction

It might be worth investing in winter tyres specifically designed for cold weather conditions. Popular across many colder European countries – these tyres offer better traction and grip on icy or snowy roads to enhance your EV's safety and stability. Most modern EVs also come with stability control systems that help you keep control on slippery surfaces. Remember, every car is different, so take the time to get to know your EV to make sure these systems are activated and working correctly.

4. Warm up

Many electric vehicles have a pre-conditioning feature that allows you to warm up the cabin and battery while the car is still plugged in. This feature ensures that your battery starts the journey at an optimal temperature to improve efficiency and range.

5. Cool it on the heating

Unsurprisingly, heating the cabin uses up a lot of energy, which can reduce your EV's range. To improve battery performance, try to warm yourself rather than the whole cabin by wearing an extra layer or using the heated seats.

6. Plan ahead

Preparation is key to a successful festive road trip. Stay on top of weather conditions along your route by using weather apps or websites to check for updates, road closures and potential hazards before heading out. In winter weather it's safer to stick to well-travelled roads that are more likely to be cleared of snow and ice – reducing the risk of getting stuck. Whenever possible, plan your trips during daylight hours for better visibility, a clearer view of road conditions and less reliance on your battery sapping headlights.

Find out more about public EV charging

We'll keep your electric vehicle moving as you travel around the UK with our network of charging points—so you can plug in, power up, and go.

7. Charge for the conditions

In cold weather, charging times may increase. Plan your charging stops for the conditions – allowing for longer charging sessions and planning your route to include charging stops at reliable and well-maintained charging stations. Research the charging options along your route to avoid surprises. And remember, you can find your nearest charging point in the bp pulse app!

8. Don’t rely on regenerative braking

Regenerative braking may be less effective in icy conditions. Change up your driving style to rely more on traditional braking methods to keep you safe whenever the roads turn slippery.

9. Top up to beat dropping temperatures

Avoid letting your battery charge drop too low in extremely cold weather. A lower state of charge can reduce the battery's ability to deliver power and may even lead to decreased range. So better keep that battery topped up!

10. Prepare for the unexpected

It always pays to be ready for anything. Prepare an emergency kit for your EV, including items like blankets, a torch, a first-aid kit, and extra warm clothing. Having these essentials can be a lifesaver in case of unexpected delays or breakdowns. It also pays to have alternative routes and charging options in mind in case of unexpected road closures or charging station outages.

Find a public charging point near you by downloading the bp pulse app >

Ready to get on the road?

Whether you’re driving home for Christmas or heading out to hit the January sales – all it takes is a little bit of preparation to enjoy your EV all year round. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to download our bp pulse app to access one of the UK’s largest charging networks and make charging easy. Find your nearest charging points, check availability by charging speed and connector type – and enjoy lower charging rates. 

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