Ready for the cold | An electric winter

Consumption, heating, recharging, loss of range: does the electric vehicle like winter or not? Does it require special adaptation to winter driving? Owners tell each other.

Eric LeFrançois
Eric LeFrançois
Special collaboration

Good tires are essential

“To face the winter, the only thing I would suggest is very good winter tires. Personally, mine are not good enough, ”confesses Alexandre Lainesse, owner of a Hyundai Ioniq EV. “My vehicle offers three driving modes: Sports, Normal, Eco. In Eco and Normal, the starts are going well, on the other hand, in Sport, the acceleration is too fast sometimes, and it is more complex on a slippery road. Electric vehicles deliver a lot of torque instantly. With good tires, you do not slip and starts at street corners go well. When there’s snow and it’s a little slippery, you have to be even more careful.

“I’m not a big expert on cars, but the weight distribution on this vehicle is not concentrated in the front, where the drive wheels are located, so it affects the grip on ice, on snow. ”

Charging time is not affected by the cold, but autonomy is. For example, on paper, my vehicle has a range of 215 km. In summer, when it’s very hot, I can have 230-240 km of range. In winter, the coldest times, I go down to 170 km.

Alexander Lainesse

“For frost, a day of ice, with the charging hatch open, it can be problematic when charging. There are small waterproof hoods to protect the refill gun. Some thought it was expensive for nothing. They recommended buying a pair of inexpensive mittens and cutting off the end of one to insert it over the gun and thereby protect the charging port on the car.

“By starting my vehicle before driving it, and therefore by warming the passenger compartment, we need to heat it less on the road afterwards. Another tip is to activate automatic mode, which will itself calibrate the power required. Some users even recommend that I turn off the heater when it’s comfortable and turn it back on when you feel a little cold or mist forms on the windshield. This would significantly extend autonomy. ”

Better planning

“The calculation of the number of kilometers available according to the level of the load must indeed be adapted in winter”, recognizes Katy Houle, owner of a Kia Soul EV. “An 80% charged battery does not offer the same range in July as in February. The battery drains faster in winter and sometimes on longer trips you have to sacrifice comfort [chauffage] to have a little more kilometers of autonomy. Since I don’t go out of town often, let alone in the winter, it hasn’t happened that often to have to.

“Consequently, I have to plan more stops for recharging on my longest trips. And since I don’t have a charging station at home, I have to find one around my destinations. It’s more management for me. On this subject, I must say that the terminals are well cleared of snow in Montreal, where I live. They are often along the streets. I don’t have much experience elsewhere, other than Madrid, on Highway 20.

“As for the driving experience, I didn’t notice any difference between a gasoline or electric vehicle, or in terms of braking or acceleration distances, etc. For me it is the same. ”

I find all the related irritants very tolerable when I think about the savings I make in gasoline and the many trips without pollution.

Katy Houle

Happiness is electric

“No difference in the handling, although more direct in terms of acceleration; my winter driving is going very well, thank you, ”said Annick Desmarais, owner of a Chevrolet Bolt. “I love the regeneration system: when you let go of the accelerator, the engine slows down the car, while recharging the battery. The paddle behind the steering wheel, which also maximizes braking, is often enough to slow down and bring the car to a stop. I use it both winter and summer.

“In the summer, we leave the car outside and plug it in. In winter, the car is in the garage and the car is warmer, faster. And we still use the heated seats and steering wheel, of course. Of course, the use of these little treats and the cold weather lead to a decrease in autonomy. During the summer, we easily cover 380 km. In winter, we have to subtract 100 km. Also, the little cover that covers the hatch to plug in the refill gun is cheap, and in cold weather it often jams.

“Finally, the fast charging stations impress me every time; it works so well. We live very close to Ontario, we go out a lot with our car and the network of charging stations is much less developed in Ontario, so I warn Quebecers who are thinking of “traveling in Ontario”: plan your route ! To convince you of this, I had to go to a Nissan dealership to charge my Chevrolet. ”

Simply brilliant

“I can easily cover 417 km on a full load in good weather, but only 385 km when the weather is cold,” explains Claudine Pilon, owner of a Hyundai Kona EV. “So 10% to 20% less autonomy during the winter. Now, with the Electric Circuit which has several stations, I have access to fast charging everywhere on my routes, so no charging problems.

“According to my observations, the heater fan is the accessory that consumes the most energy and the main culprit in the drop in range. The best is to limit yourself and prioritize the heated seats and steering wheel. ”

Since it’s traction, I think it slips less, because the car is heavier. When accelerating, you have to be careful, you have to be in economy mode, otherwise it will tear off the bitumen. Also, the ground clearance is low, and you have to watch out for snow banks.

Claudine Pilon

“You also have to pay attention to the thinning, which can be sudden when you are in maximum recharge mode; I learned to control this mode well after a while. I also learned from my dealer that I still have to use my brakes only to keep them working. In my opinion, I don’t use them, so I shouldn’t be maintaining them.

“I find the intelligent cruise control function great. Since I do not touch the brake, my cruise control remains engaged, even in winter. I would say you have to be extra careful when driving an EV, it’s not a sports car, but the engine has torque to spare.

“Small warning in closing: the charging door is at the front, on the hood, and it freezes in winter, especially after driving on the highway. ”

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