6 Tips To Take Care Of Your Electric Car In Hot Weather< Back to blog
Summer is here and with it comes lots of hot weather. While this is great news for us, if you have an electric car it can cause some problems with your EV. Research shows that:
- Turning on your air con reduces range by 17%, meaning that EV drivers planning a 100-mile trip could only travel 83 miles in hot weather.
- EV batteries decline faster when driven in hot temperatures, according to a study of 6,000 electric cars.
- July is the worst month for tyre-related incidents, says the Department for Transport, as hot weather affects your tyre pressure – which could be worse for EVs, as they’re already heavier than petrol and diesel cars.
Don’t worry, though. If you take the necessary steps to protect your electric car when it’s hot out, your EV’s health won’t be negatively affected. Read our top six tips to protect your electric car during summer.
1. Leave your car in the shade
Hot weather conditions can have a negative effect on your electric car’s battery life.
High temperatures can decrease the charge of the lithium-ion batteries found in EVs, just like your phone battery would if you left it out in the sun for too long.
To help your electric car cope with the heat, we recommend parking it in the shade where possible. If this isn’t possible, you can buy passive cooling systems such as a sunshade for the windscreen to keep the temperature of the car down.
Eben Lovatt, Moneyshake CEO, said: “In order to protect your electric car’s battery life this summer, keep it in the shade as long as possible, especially when charging. Rapid charging your car at a station without shelter should especially be avoided, as the accelerated electrical currents combined with hot weather can damage your battery in the long term.
“If you are going to charge your EV in the summer, choose a slower charger such as a standard 7kW unit and try to keep the car out of the sun. Installing a home charger in your garage if you have access to your electricity supply meter from there.”
2. Use ‘preconditioning’
A bonus feature you get with most modern electric cars is preconditioning. This is a setting available in most new EVs which allows you to pre-cool the cabin of your car before a long journey.
You can access preconditioning in an electric car’s infotainment system, or through a connected smartphone app, depending on your model’s capabilities.
It’s important to remember that preconditioning works best when your car is plugged in overnight. Instead of drawing energy from your EV’s battery, it will be taken from the mains, so your battery life won’t be impacted.
When you come to your car on a hot summer’s morning, you won’t need to have your air conditioning on full blast, which drains your battery faster.
Eben Lovatt, Moneyshake CEO, said: “Making use of the advanced tech onboard your electric car can help conserve your EV’s battery. If you aren’t sure whether your model comes with preconditioning if it’s an older spec, refer to the manufacturer’s handbook. Or, if you’ve not got it to hand, you should be able to find it online.”
3. Only charge your EV up to 80%
As we mentioned earlier, electric car batteries are the same type found in electronic devices like laptops and smartphones. So, when it comes to charging, there is an optimum percentage you need to bear in mind to avoid overcharging – and therefore overheating – your EV battery.
Most manufacturers recommend not fully charging your electric car to 100%, otherwise the battery can get too hot. Couple this with high summer temperatures and you risk accelerating cell degradation (i.e. when lithium battery cells lose the capacity to charge at their original rate).
In hot weather (and all conditions for that matter) you should only charge your electric car up to a maximum of 80%. Occasional full charges if you’re planning on a long-distance summer trip is okay, but try not to make a habit out of it if you want to keep your EV battery healthy.
Eben Lovatt, Moneyshake CEO, said: “Electric cars require a perception change from drivers when it comes to charging. Unlike with a petrol or diesel car where it makes sense to fill the tank to get the most out of your car, EVs have optimum rates of charge that very rarely require you to charge up to 100%.
“In fact, you can prolong your battery’s lifespan by limiting the number of times you charge your EV fully. Modern electric cars and chargers often come with smart features that let you limit your charge, so we recommend making use of them when you plug in overnight.”
4. Use eco-mode while driving
Most electric and hybrid cars have an eco-mode driver setting that increases the efficiency of your EV. It does this by limiting the amount of power you have for electronic systems and accelerating, for example.
Because your electric car will be using more energy in the heat, making use of this mode – especially on long haul journeys – will significantly save your EV’s range. You can then spend less time stopping at charge points to top up your batteries and enjoy your holiday.
Eben Lovatt, Moneyshake CEO, said: “Driving on eco-mode will limit some functions of your electric car, but it’s a great way to conserve your battery’s charge which can mean fewer stops on long summer drives.
“It’s important that you and your passengers are comfortable though, especially if you have young children and pets onboard and don’t want them to overheat.
“If you’re concerned about using eco-mode in an EV, you can take other measures that will ensure you don’t drain your battery. For example, most EVs feature regenerative braking which allows you to recoup energy by taking your foot off the accelerator and letting your car slow down without pressing the brakes.”
5. Avoid driving between noon and 3 pm
Can you drive in the early morning or late evening if you plan on a summer staycation? By doing the majority of your journey during the cooler parts of the day you can reduce the amount of energy your EV uses. The hours between noon and 3 pm are usually the hottest, so try to avoid driving during these times.
Extreme temperatures are known to use more of your electric car’s battery power, especially in the heat which can cause the unit to overheat and use more energy than normal. So, if you can drive the longer legs of your journey when the temperature is lower, you’ll be able to get the most out of your EV’s range.
Eben Lovatt, Moneyshake CEO, said: “Most summer holidays this year will be staycations that often require a lot of driving, often in hotter temperatures. In these conditions, it’s more likely that people will want to use electrical systems such as the air con to keep the car’s temperature bearable.
“However, this will use up your battery’s power quicker, so we recommend getting the best part of your driving done at cooler times of the day to conserve your range.”
6. Check your tyre pressure once a month and before any long journey
Electric cars tend to weigh more than Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) models because of their battery packs. For example, the Volkswagen e-Up weighs 330kg more than the standard petrol version.
Naturally, this means you need to take extra care monitoring the tyre pressure when driving an EV. This is especially true in the heat, where underinflated tyres can reduce efficiency. In the worst-case scenario, you could experience a blowout that threatens the safety of you and your passengers.
We recommend that you buy a tyre pressure gauge for your car so that you can conveniently check the PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) of your tyres regularly (once a month and before any long journey is sensible). Otherwise, most fuel stations have air machines that let you do this for a small fee.
Eben Lovatt, Moneyshake CEO, said: “Tyres are one of the most important components to maintain as they’re what come into contact with the road. If you have an electric car, taking the time to regularly check your tyre pressure before long summer journeys is even more important because of their added weight.”
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