16 Jan 2020
Going on a winter holiday? Who needs ICE when you have your EV? Imagine being able to drive through the winter wonderland without the noise of an internal combustion engine (ICE). Just take note that extreme temperatures will influence most equipment and machinery - and that goes for your EV as well. So, let’s be smart about the cold and find out what to do to enjoy the winter landscapes.
As you might know: in a cold environment phone batteries drain quicker and ICE cars use more fuel. EVs are also affected in colder temperatures, which causes a decrease in range. Cold impacts the travel speed of electrons in the battery. And heating demands more energy. So, when you hit the winter roads, be prepared to make an extra stop. Also note that extreme cold may prevent your EV from charging as fast as you’re used to.
Tips for driving in the cold
- If possible, park your EV indoors. If that’s not possible, try to park your car in the sun. This may sound odd, but all the little bits help.
- We don’t encourage home socket charging but just in case: bring extensions cables and international plug adapters as a fall back scenario.
- Dress warm so you can keep heating to a minimum to improve range.
- Use seat heating, direct warmth is more effective and uses less energy.
- Pre-heat the car if possible when it’s still connected to the charger. Maintaining temperature costs less energy than increasing temperature.
- Both seat-heating and preheating can be done through an app before you leave and while your EV is still connected to a charging station.
- Use the pre-heating function of your EV while it is connected to the charging station.
More good news: some winter holiday destinations provide perks for EV drivers. In Austria, for example, there are highways EV-drivers are allowed to drive 130 km/h, while ICE drivers are restricted to 100 km/h. Keep in mind a vignette is compulsory on all motorways and expressways in Austria. You can get this online before you leave or at a gas station near the border. Charging in Austria can range from expensive to free! The Lebensland charging pass can’t be used outside of the Carinthia region, but it’s free so worth a try. You can even order it online.
Most important charging passes: Maingau, Lebensland, Plugsurfing
Good to know: Don’t forget your vignette
Charging stations: Can be (very) expensive and generally use a time-based tariff
Nice to know: On some highways, EVs are allowed speeds up to 130 km/h
Apps: Smoov, Eins, Plugsurfing, Chargemap
France is on the frontline of making skiing more sustainable. In 2019, four of the six big ski regions have 100% green energy. Les Gets even offers a 20% discount on ski passes to EV-drivers and their by riders.
Most important charging passes: Chargemap
Good to know: Les Gets is very EV-friendly
Charging stations: Use a good app to check if charging stations operational
Nice to know: Some of the famous ski destinations run their facilities on green energy
Apps: Smoov, Chargemap
Anyone who has ever been to Zermatt knows that this mountain village has been car-free for many years. All cars are prohibited here, including EVs. Visitors park their cars in Täsch and can take a shuttle train or E-taxi. Did you know Switzerland is also the first country to develop a road trip aimed specifically at E-drivers. The 1,684 km long E-Grand Tour brings you to some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.
Good to know: The E-Grand Tour has over 220 charge points
Charging stations: Most charging stations are just off the road or at hotels. This will change in the coming years, but it’s good to take into account
Nice to know: Basel in Switzerland has Tesla police cars
Apps: easy4you, Smoov
In general: when you drive in the cold it’s always good to be extra prepared.
- Check your tires and of course bring snow chains.
- Bring a shovel and extra antifreeze liquid.
- Keep a flashlight and a blanket in your car.
- Always bring enough drinking water and food with you.
- Make sure to have a reflective vest (mandatory in Austria!), emergency triangle and first aid kit in your car.
- In case of emergency, always call the European emergency number: 112.
Enjoy your winter holiday!