The electric vehicle world isn’t limited to the small Nissan Leaf. With more EVs entering the market, we want to know which ones offer equipment to make driving around in cold weather much easier for you. Colder temperatures impact all vehicles, but, as we learned with some of the towing challenges, everything isn’t equal between gas-powered and electric cars.
How much can cold temperatures impact electric vehicle driving range?
The energy lost in heating the cabin of an electric vehicle is where much of the range and power is lost during the winter months. When the outside temperatures drop below 15 degrees, the lithium-ion batteries don’t perform as well as they would when the temperature is more agreeable. The temperature doesn’t need to get to 15 degrees to see a reduced driving range in your EV.
Does cold weather impact the overall driving range of all vehicles?
Cold weather reduces the efficiency of all vehicles; not just EVs. FuelEconomy.gov tells us that gasoline vehicles experience a reduction in efficiency of 20% when the outside temperature is at 20 degrees. The challenge for electric vehicles is the time it takes to recharge versus refilling with gasoline.
Which electric vehicles offer features made for the cold temps?
BMW i4 and iX
The two BMW electric vehicles bring some cold weather equipment to the mix. These two BMWs come with a standard heat pump system. The heated seats and steering wheel are optional and a good idea if you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice in the winter.
Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV
Instead of a heat pump, Chevrolet gives the Bolt models a resistance heating system. The base LT trim also offers an optional Comfort and Convenience package. This package includes:
- Heated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Optional heated rear seats (standard on the Premier trim)
Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6
These two EVs share a platform and bring the benefits of a heat pump and battery heater. A new battery preconditioning feature is part of the 2023 versions when a DC fast charger is used. You’ll also find a Cold Weather Package, which gives you a heated steering wheel.
This Jaguar electric SUV includes a heat pump as part of the standard equipment. Choose the cold weather package or this electric vehicle, and you’ll have a heated windshield and steering wheel.
Heated front seats are part of the standard equipment of the Polestar 2. If you opt for the Plus Pack, you’ll add:
- A heat pump
- Heated rear seats
- A heated steering wheel
Tesla Vehicles (Models S, 3, X, Y)
All new Tesla electric vehicles come with a heat pump. Older models include a heating system that recovers wasted heat from electronics to increase the drive’s efficiency.
Volvo XC40 Recharge and Volvo C40
Front heated seats are standard in the Volvo XC40 Recharge, but you can add a heated steering wheel and rear seats with the optional climate package. This Volvo has a separate heat pump option. The Volvo C40 has a heat pump, heated seats, and a heated steering wheel as part of the standard equipment fund in this luxury vehicle.
If you drive an electric vehicle in an area with annual snowfall, be prepared for the impacts of the winter weather on your vehicle and its driving range.
Next, check out the acceleration of the GMC Hummer EV, or watch this video about electric vehicle driving range in winter.