Top tips for driving during snow

012 Dec 2023

A touch of frost, a flurry of snow, and even familiar surroundings are transformed into a winter wonderland. Beautiful to look at, it should also be a joy to navigate from behind the wheel of your Electric Vehicle (EV), with a little bit of thought and the right precautions. In this article we’ll explore some essential tips for driving electric cars in the snow to ensure you get the very best out of your vehicle, from optimizing battery performance to driving technique.

Adjust your driving

There’s no best way to drive in the snow, but it goes without saying that you need to take things easy. One of the inherent design advantages of EVs is that the batteries are placed as close to the ground as possible – this keeps the centre of gravity low, which in turn provides greater traction and handling capabilities on snow-covered roads.

Nonetheless, as with all vehicles, you’ll want to adjust the way you drive your EV in snowy and icy conditions. Gentle acceleration and deceleration help prevent skidding and sliding. Anticipating turns and braking early allow for a smoother, more controlled driving experience (as well as conserving battery power). Leaving more space between you and the vehicle in front also makes good sense, especially if visibility is poor.

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

Take care of your tyres

When the thermometer drops below zero, regular tyre checks are crucial. To optimize traction and grip when driving in icy conditions, make sure you always monitor tread depth and pressure – and if you live in an area prone to regular or heavy snow, it may even be worth investing in winter tyres.

Mandatory in many European countries including Sweden, Germany and Austria, winter tyres are specifically designed to handle cold temperatures, icy roads, and snow-covered surfaces. Their unique tread pattern improves traction in adverse conditions and helps ensure safety and performance during winter driving.

Look after your battery

It’s well known that chilly temperatures can temporarily reduce the overall range of an electric vehicle due to increased battery resistance. However, this can be minimised by following a few power-saving tips. Firstly, it’s advisable to keep your EV plugged in when parked to maintain the battery's temperature and ensure optimal performance – your battery will charge faster when at its optimal temperature. As well as affecting range, if your EV battery is too cold, it can take longer to charge too, so you may want to allow a little longer for your journey.

It’s also a good idea to run pre-conditioning features while still connected to the charging station to help preserve your battery’s energy. As well as a comfortable interior temperature to start your journey, it won’t drain the power by using the heating function while en route.

Check your charging station

After a particularly heavy snowfall it’s also worth bearing in mind that there may be some challenges when it comes to the accessibility of charging points. In exceptional circumstances access to roads and charging stations may be restricted, but you can easily check with the bp pulse app to see which charging points are available.

Make the best of regenerative braking

Regenerative braking is a feature of most EVs, where the car captures the kinetic energy from braking and uses it to recharge the battery. In cold weather this is particularly useful feature as it allows you to top up the battery while you're on the move, improving your range. To make the most of regenerative braking, slow down smoothly rather than braking suddenly. You'll use the brakes less, reducing the risk of skidding. You may also find that if your battery is too cold that regenerative braking is limited but this will improve as it quickly warms up.

Find a public charging point near you

Download the bp pulse app to access one of the UK’s largest charging networks. Find your nearest charging points, check availability by charging speed and connector type – and enjoy lower charging rates by subscribing.

Always be prepared

Before setting out on any journey, it always pays to be prepared. So plan ahead, check the weather before you leave and regularly along the way. If you haven’t already, make sure you download use the bp pulse app to help plan your route and easily find the nearest available charging point. Remember, if the weather’s bad, it’s safer to stick to well-used roads as they’re more likely to be clear of snow and ice. Make sure you always have winter clothes with you in case of an emergency and drive in the daylight wherever possible so you don’t risk draining your battery by using your headlights.

Follow our advice for driving in snow by embracing these driving habits when the weather dictates it, and your trip will be a wintery adventure that goes as smoothly as a sleigh ride.

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