The latest figures from the SMMT confirm that electric vehicle uptake is accelerating, with 21,726 vehicles sold in November, equating to 18.8% of the market. However, motorists embracing electrification for the first time need to consider the impact of harsh weather conditions on battery performance, says Venson Automotive Solutions.

Whilst the UK’s climate doesn’t typically fall below freezing temperatures, some experts predict that sub-zero conditions are on the cards this winter. That’s bad news for owners of some popular electric vehicles whose batteries are reported to reduce in range by as much as 52% at -5 degrees.

Alison Bell, Marketing Director at Venson Automotive Solutions comments, “With weather forecasters predicting freezing conditions this winter, EV drivers face a different set of challenges to keep their vehicles in tip-top condition. For example, the batteries that power EVs are very temperature sensitive, so bad weather can significantly reduce a car’s range and increase the length of time needed to recharge the battery.”

However, there are steps that drivers can take to maximise range if a big freeze sets in. This includes using the vehicle’s preheating function, also known as preconditioning, to heat or cool the vehicle’s battery and cabin as required. Make sure the vehicle is plugged-in whilst preheating so the battery isn’t being drained during the process. Always aim to keep the vehicle’s battery between 20% and 80% charged and use the Eco Mode whilst driving in winter to reduce battery drain.

Venson goes on to advise those considering buying or leasing an EV as their next car, to do their research. A number of car manufacturers provide online calculators to show how much the range of their EVs are reduced by temperature, using certain features and speed.

Alison Bell continues; “For those perturbed about the battery range of an EV in cold weather, a plug-in hybrid could offer a more practical alternative. Whilst the battery power will still decrease in the winter, just like an all-electric vehicle, using two powertrains will ensure longer journeys. Whatever powertrain vehicle you are driving this winter, it is important to prepare your vehicle, so it functions efficiently in adverse driving conditions. Not only does it reduce wear and tear, it also helps mitigate against the chances of having an accident due to driving a poorly maintained vehicle.”