What you need to know about driving electric cars in winter


The popularity of electric vehicles continues to grow in Canada. But many still wonder if they have what it takes to tackle a Canadian winter.

Can you drive electric cars in winter?

“Electric vehicles actually make for great winter cars,” says Michael Bettencourt, managing editor at Autotrader.ca. “With proper care taken to winterize and prep for harsher driving conditions, these cars can be used all year long.”

Driving in snow? Relax: Just like gas vehicles, EVs can be fitted for the Canadian winter. It’s still recommended that you use winter tires for maximum traction and follow typical winter-driving safety tips. Since there are fewer models available with four-wheel drive, be mindful of your car’s capabilities before driving on unplowed roads.

Precondition your car: Preconditioning is when you warm up your car battery while it’s still plugged in. Doing this helps EVs perform efficiently, since you won’t deplete the battery reserve heating up the interior. Another perk: you’ll step into a nice, warm car when you’re ready to drive off.

Your range will decrease: Cold weather can affect the battery range of an electric vehicle, so it’s especially important to ensure your vehicle is well charged to handle the length of your trip. Keep in mind that which model you have, how you drive it and how you heat it will all affect the range, so be prepared and avoid unwanted surprises.

Charge somewhere warm: If you have an electric vehicle, you likely have access to an indoor charging station at home. Parking and charging it indoors will decrease the time needed to fully charge the battery, compared to doing so in frigid outdoor temperatures.

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