People regularly ask how they can extend the range of their electric vehicles during the efficiency-crippling winter months (you know, in places that experience cold and snowy winters).

There are several settings and routines that you can implement that will drastically improve your efficiency and, in turn, your range that really only require foresight and some tweaking of the settings made available to you on your in-car computer. I’ve shared my pointers/routines below and some of the results (not scientific nor specific, but consistent). Of course, situations vary and you will likely experience slightly different results due to a number of factors. However, doing the items below can only help and are good practices in the winter either way.

Please, if you think anything has been left out, add it in the comments and I’ll update.

The Facts

I drive about 65 miles roundtrip for my daily commute. About 93% of that drive is on highways and using Autopilot. About 80% of the drive is a 70 MPH speed limit, which I set AP to 75 MPH. The remainder averages 50 MPH which I set AP to 55-60 MPH. This time of year, the weather is relatively consistently 25-30 F during my commute times.

I park in the garage and I charge via my Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) (connected to a NEMA 14-50 outlet) overnight.

Routines:

  • Charge nightly to 80%. Keep car plugged in whenever possible.
  • Don’t let your car drop below 10% charge, when possible. Your sweet spot is the 40-80% range.
  • Time charging to complete ~5 minutes prior to departure. This is perfect conditioning for the batteries and will more than likely not limit regenerative braking at the beginning of your travels.
  • Before leaving work (or if you park outside overnight), condition car for 25-30 minutes using Climate Controls.
  • Stay below 80 MPH.
  • Besides pre-conditioning the car, use heated seats and not the HVAC system while driving. The heater KILLS efficiency. I have felt perfectly comfortable just using the heated seats and not turning on the heat in the car in 20 F temperatures.

Settings:

  • Set your charging limit (charging settings on in-car computer). Do not charge over 90% consistently, unless you need the range that next day.
  • Setup Charging Timer from the charging pane on your in-car computer. Gauge the time that you leave and how much your car generally needs to charge. In my opinion, it’s better to still have a touch left to charge when you leave then to fully charge and have it end ~15 minutes or more before you depart. The key is to warm up the batteries, and charging does this perfectly. This is something I change almost daily, depending on how much I drove that day and when I’m leaving that next morning.
  • Enable Chill Mode (Driving menu) to reduce the urge to “floor it,” which eats efficiency for breakfast.
  • Turn off HVAC, turn on heated seats.

 

Outcomes:

I have found that given “the facts” above and the routines and settings I’ve implemented, I can travel my 65 mile commute and my utilized milage is about 70 miles. This is really good considering what I have experienced without implementing this routine.

 

Notes/Reminders:

  • If it is snowing, it is best to turn regenerative braking to “Low” (Driving menu). This will have an impact on milage, but it is safer to drive without the immediate braking when not accelerating (less of a chance for wheels to lock up).
  • Creep mode also helps in snowy/icy weather as it lets you ease into your acceleration.
  • If you’ve removed the Aero caps and want to maximize your range, it might make sense to put them back on during winter months.
  • If you park outside overnight, I’d recommend adding 10-15 minutes of pre-conditioning time…especially if the car is plugged in and drawing from charger.

 

So, that’s my routine and it seems to be working well for me. What do you do during the winter to maximize range? We’d appreciate you sharing any tips and tricks in the comments!