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9 Tips To Maximize Your EV’s Range In Extreme Cold Weather

Frigid temps, like the ones experienced in Chicago recently, can drastically reduce an EV’s range, and Ford has some helpful advice

January 20, 2024 at 19:32

 9 Tips To Maximize Your EV’s Range In Extreme Cold Weather

Some studies indicate that electric vehicles (EVs) can lose up to 30 or 40 percent of their range in extremely cold conditions. . EV owners in the Chicago area recently experienced this firsthand when freezing temperatures, with wind chills as low as -25 to -40 degrees, combined with high demand at charging stations, created a perfect storm that left many stranded and frustrated.

Naturally, the cold snap in the Chicago area led to a flurry of headlines about EVs struggling in the cold weather. Ford took notice and wanted to remind EV owners of practical tips to ensure their vehicles perform well during the coldest days.

More: Brutal Chicago Cold ICEs Teslas And Other EVs Stranding Drivers

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The tips kick off with what might sound like a simple one: park in a garage. Simply keeping the vehicle away from total cold exposure can help it maintain its battery level. In addition, plugging it in whenever it’s left can help it maintain optimal charging levels whether it’s inside or outside.

Preconditioning the battery before charging can make a dramatic difference too. Ford owners can set that up through their app or through the infotainment screen and the result is a battery that is optimized for the journey ahead and a cabin that is already cozy when occupants jump in. Once in the vehicle, Ford says it would be best to use the heated seats and steering wheel to keep warm in order to reduce the energy consumed by the climate control system.

The Blue Oval also suggests turning off or lowering the heater once the vehicle is charging. Using the integrated navigation to find a DC Fast Charging station is another tip. Keep in mind that a number of different apps are available that can help to do that as well with potentially more up-to-date results or even live tracking of which chargers are functional and available.

More: Ford Cuts F-150 Lightning EV Production To Prioritize Gas-Powered Ranger And Bronco

Driving at moderate speeds and keeping tires aired up to the correct pressure can help too. Those tips are beneficial throughout the year since moderate speeds lower energy usage and properly inflated tires do too. Of course, in winter months, a properly inflated tire should aid in grip too.

Finally, Ford says to plan the route and be prepared. Again, these are great tips regardless of what one drives. Knowing where one will fill up on kilowatts or fuel enables a smoother trip. Being properly prepared for things to go sideways is key too because sometimes all of the best intentions still go awry.

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