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Cold weather can drastically change the performance of your Electric Vehicle (EV) and with BC, and specifically Vancouver, experiencing one of the coldest winters in decades, it’s time to look at what you can do to improve the longevity of your journey.

A few weeks ago, I spoke about the EV 2017 model year and the longer ranges they can go, but if you haven’t managed to get your hands on a new model just yet, there are a handful of things you can do to get the most out of your current EV.

Choosing where to park your vehicle can have a huge impact on your vehicle’s range. Batteries can suffer in sub-zero temperatures prohibiting the driver’s range accordingly. If you have a garage, you are in great position to keep your vehicle warm and a heated garage will ensure your battery does not suffer from the cold, limiting energy waste. Even parking your vehicle in a parking lot that is covered but not closed in is much better than parking it on the street.

As EV’s are unable to incorporate heating systems like their combustion engine counterparts, drivers have to be imaginative about how they stay warm while getting the most out of their electric vehicles.

Preheating your vehicle when it’s plugged in, also known as preconditioning, is a great way to keep your vehicle warm just before you make your journey. If your EV comes with heated seats, they are a fantastic alternative to turning on the main heating, as they use significantly less energy.  It also goes without saying that what our mothers’ swore by, “put on more layers if you want to stay warm” will really have an impact on your distance capabilities as the less energy you use on heat, the more distance you can cover.

Removing any additional accessories such as roof racks or clearing your trunk of unnecessary items will aid in the aerodynamics of the vehicle which equates to a lighter vehicle, and the further you can go.

Avoiding heavy acceleration, hard braking and staying a little below the speed limit on the highway can have a drastic effect on your distance. If you anticipate braking, doing it as gradually as possible is the most effective, as your vehicle will recover energy from the forward movement and store it as electricity, retrieving energy instead of losing it.

Something as simple as ensuring your tires are correctly inflated is very important too. Cold weather can make tire pressure drop and can result in more road friction.

Make sure to allow a little extra time for charging as well. You definitely don’t want to start your trip without a full battery if your aim is to drive a substantial distance.

Electric Vehicles can see you through the coldest of winters, and with the constant improvements to EV’s year after year, there will undoubtedly be new ways to ensure you always get to your destination comfortably.

If you’re looking to test drive one, you’re in luck. The Electric Experience Test Drive event returns to the 2017 Vancouver International Auto Show at the Vancouver Convention Centre, March 28 – April 2. Tickets are on sale now:

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].