Your Electric Vehicle Battery in the Winter

When considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) in Canada it is essential to consider the amount of long-range drop you will have with our cold winters.  All Electric cars experience some degree of range loss in cold weather. This is referred to as Range drop. The amount of Range drop can be up to 50-60 percent in the extreme cold. Car manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Hyundai, Tesla, and Ford are designing new features to make electric cars more efficient in cold weather. No Vehicle whether electric or gas runs at peak performance when temperatures fall below -20 degrees Celsius. Electric Vehicles will start significantly better than their gasoline counterparts in the Winter. They start up instantly and reliably even in the extreme cold weather Canadians face. Turning on an electric vehicle (EV) is like turning on a light switch.


When it is cold outside your EV will use more battery power. This is because power is used to heat up the battery components. Driving on a highway in the cold will even further reduce your battery range as the cold air hitting the car in motion causes heat loss.  Your Electric Vehicle Range (EV) will drop below 50 to 60 percent in these extreme conditions.

How does the cold affect Lithium-ion Batteries?

The cold weather in the winter slows the chemical and physical reactions that power batteries.  This will cause your electric vehicle (EV) to take longer to charge especially if being charged outside in the elements. When the temperature gets low enough, the electrolyte fluid inside an EV’s lithium-ion battery pack becomes more viscous, which slows down the chemical reactions responsible for the transfer of electrons. This affects not only how far an EV can travel on a single charger, but also how quickly it can recharge.

Lithium batteries charge slower in cold weather, are less efficient, and will be more susceptible to electric functions’ power draw. The energy for heating and cooling your car comes from the same battery that propels the car; the use of climate control, heated seats, and electronics depletes the primary battery. This results in a temporary decrease in range for your electronic vehicle and a longer charge time.

In the winter your electric car NEEDS a longer charge time.

Range Anxiety is a thing that some consumers of Electric Vehicles have. This is the fear that your electric vehicle will not have a sufficient charge to complete its duty. A Level 2 charger will give you between 220KM and -660 KM for a 10-hour overnight charge. This is a significant increase from the Level 1 charger with a 30-40KM Range for a 10-hour charge. A Level 2 charger allows you to drive further on less charge time, and help alleviate range anxiety.

The Canadian Governments objective of adding 50,000 new zero-emission vehicle chargers to Canada’s network this will give consumers the option to charge their vehicle while on route allowing them to travel longer distances.

Tricks to make your Electric Battery in your EV car last longer.

  1. Consider installing a level 2 charging unit than the standard Level 1 charger. A Level 1 Electric Charger may not provide enough range for your day-to-day activities, especially in the cold and with up to a 50% range drop in extreme cold. A Level 2 charger will enable your car to have a faster charge rate and enable you to drive further with less charge time.
  2. Plug your car in before driving (if it is not already plugged in to warm the battery up). This will give you more drive range. By doing this the battery will not initially be using energy to warm up the battery and components.
  3. Park in your garage if you have one so the chemicals in the battery stay warm
  4. Considering purchasing an extended range battery package when purchasing your car as this will give you more range than the standard battery. (Especially in a winter climate, up to 50% less range below 10 degrees Celsius)
  5. Reduce the heating in your car while driving to what you can comfortably stand.
  6. Assume you will have less range than what your car shows when leaving your destination.
  7. Always have a good understanding of charging station locations along your anticipated routes. For a map of all of Calgary’s charge locations click here
  8. Never go below a 20% charge in your Electronic Vehicle. This will help your EV battery last longer.
  9. Reduce driving speeds in cold weather (this will put less demand on the battery and require less energy)
  10. If there are features like heated seats that aren’t absolutely needed to keep you warm, turning them off will leave more power for the battery.

For commercial properties looking to install EV chargers on their property living in cold weather can be an advantage, as consumers may need to use a commercial charger if their battery range cannot meet their daily driving range requirements. Installing an EV charger can make a business, multi-unit dwelling, or location more attractive.

For more information, get in touch with us today at 1-877-353-0367 or email us at and our experts will be more than happy to assist you with your questions. Traditional Electric has you covered and will assist in all steps of the process with you, from design and installation to EV charger selection and software connectivity. We will also assist you in the permitting process and keep you informed of any rebates and incentives your local municipality is offering. Our continual customer service, maintenance, and support will keep your EV charger operational and functioning for years to come.

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