Cold, snowy weather sure puts our cars through the paces in the winter. Road salt can cause corrosion and rust, winter driving conditions can reduce fuel economy, and, for gas- and electricity-powered cars alike, subzero temperatures can be hard on a vehicle’s battery. As AAA explains, when temps drop, an EV’s range will drop along with it. The average range loss varies by the source, but AAA states the average electric car could lose up to 41% of its range at outdoor temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

We ask more of our EV batteries in the winter, and that’s the leading cause of range loss. Most people are running their cabin heat when it’s 20 degrees outside, which asks a lot of the battery. Other parts of the car will need heat, too, and without the combustion of a gas engine to generate some heat, even more strain is put on the battery. Defogging, seat heaters, less daylight so more use of headlights — all siphon charge from the battery. Adding on the fact that winter temperatures make the chemical reactions in a battery more difficult to achieve, and reaching a full charge will take longer, too.

Other aspects of winter driving — handling in the snow, traction — are the same or even better than gas-powered cars. If you live in a place where the temperature is under freezing for at least four months out of the year, managing the cold is something to consider.

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