How Does Winter Affect EV Range?

2020 GMC Hummer EV in a forest

Whether you’re a new EV owner in Minneapolis or shopping for your very first electric car in St. Paul, you might have some questions about electric cars in cold weather. How does winter affect EV range? Do electric cars lose charge when parked? The service team at White Bear Lake Superstore is here to give you all the information that you need about electric cars in cold climates, including plenty of tips and tricks to make the most out of the season!



How Does Winter Affect a Car Battery and Range?

Both gas-powered and electric cars in winter can have occasional battery issues. That’s because automotive batteries rely on a chemical reaction to generate power, and this reaction is much slower in the cold weather. found that conventional gasoline vehicles typically have a 20% reduction in fuel economy at 20°F.

However, this impacts electric cars in cold climates even more. Why? Gas-powered vehicles produce heat from internal combustion engines, but EVs only have electric motors. That means EVs run even colder. Plus, some electric batteries – like lithium-ion designs – don’t work as effectively when temperatures drop significantly. This effect is even more pronounced when using the other electrical systems heavily. According to an AAA study, “At 20 degrees, the average driving range fell by 12 percent when the car’s cabin heater was not used. When the heater was turned on, the range dropped by 41 percent.”

Do Electric Cars Lose Charge When Parked?

What about electric cars in storage? Do electric cars lose charge when parked? The answer is not really. Plugin Report reported that with a battery half charged, an EV can sit for months and months without the need to plug in. But if you’re looking for a long-term storage solution, talk with our service center. We have plenty of options to keep your battery in top shape.

Tips for Electric Cars in Winter

So, what are the best practices for owning an EV in the winter? Here are a few more tips to get the most out of electric cars in cold climates:

  • Preheating the Cabin: We recommend preheating the interior while your car is still plugged into your home charger. This allows you to get a toasty cabin without bringing down your range.
  • Charge Strategically: On many home charging stations, you can set a departure time. If you have this option, be sure to use it to maximize your battery life.
  • Use Eco Mode: Consider using Eco Mode in the cold weather. This mode adjusts your driving conditions to maximize your range, so you won’t notice much difference in battery life from season to season.

Get More EV Tips at White Bear Lake Superstore

From exploring the benefits of electric cars to shopping our new vehicle inventory, White Bear Lake Superstore is here for your automotive needs all year long. Contact us with any questions about electric cars in cold climates, and feel free to stop by to chat in person! 


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3880 Hwy 61 N 3900 Hwy 61 N, White Bear Lake, MN, 55110
White Bear Lake Superstore 45.05818, -93.02725.