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Tesla and other electric cars are popular in Canada

The fall season has hit us with heavy rains and soon to be snow falls. The new breed of electric cars are equipped to handle the Canadian winters but take a look at our tips for maximizing your ride during the colder months. The good news is in the lower mainland, we seldom get temperatures below 0, but in other parts of British Columbia, temperatures often fall well below zero and driving electric cars in the Canadian winter can take a bit of planning.

1. Park inside

If possible store your electric vehicle in an indoor garage or when out and about in a indoor parking facility. It will help the performance if your battery and cabin of the car will be warmer. If you can not park inside, try to park in a sunny spot.

2. Utilize pre-timed heating systems

The Jaguar I-Pace and many other electric cars come with an automated pre-timed heating system that can be preprogrammed. Preconditioning prior to departure can give you 10-15% more range. Try to time the pre-conditioning for when your car is still charging. This not only warms up the interior cabin but will also warm up the battery. Make sure the car is plugged into a 240V level 2 power source while you precondition, because this process will pull more power than a 120V level 1 charger can provide.

3. Minimize the use of extreme cabin temperature controls

Using the HVAC system is the number one battery drainer in an electric vehicle. You may want to rethink how you use the heater in the winter and the air conditioner in the warmer months. According to a study by AAA. HVAC use decreased range by as much as 30%.
To warm up but not drain so much battery, briefly use heated seating and steering wheels. Another option is to get some comfy driving gloves and keep your jacket on and wear warm boots while driving.

4. Check your tire pressure

A regular part of your monthly maintenance check should be to check your tire pressure. Tire pressure drops as the outside temperature falls, leading to greater rolling resistance and reduced mileage range. You could save yourself as much as 13% of your average range by doing so! Many vehicles now have tire pressure monitoring system, but if your car does not, learn the best way to check your tire pressure to save range.

5. Drive conservatively

One factor that always affects your mileage range is how you drive your electric car. Next to the HVAC system, excessive acceleration and braking, and driving at high speeds all drain battery life. The beauty of an EV is that many models have regenerative braking systems and eco modes, which will help in prolonging battery life. In extreme cold, the regenerative braking system will be less effective because cold batteries can’t accept as much energy as warm batteries can.

6. Use the eco mode

Eco modes can make your car safer to drive in winter by reducing the power to the motor, the car accelerates slower, which reduces the possibility of wheel spin on ice- or snow-covered roads. Every EV has a slightly different function to their eco mode, but they all work to reduce power consumption and increase range by reducing the energy supply to the drive motor and high energy consumption features such as heaters.

7. Know where your fast chargers are

In the lower mainland there is a good system of public (free and paid) charging stations. However, if you venture out you smaller communities you may need to map out where the charging stations are. BC Hydro has an app to help find fast stations and Tesla is expanding their supercharging stations. Cold batteries have a greater resistance to charging, meaning that EVs charge slower in low temperatures. Make sure you have a 240V level 2 fast charger available for your main charge – whether that’s overnight, or while you’re at work. And if you’re planning a long winter road trip in your EV then it’ll pay to map out where the fast charging stations are.

Join a service network for more flexibility

According to BC Hydro the majority of B.C.’s public Level 2 charging stations are free to use, many require drivers to join a service network to access the stations. Once you’ve registered with a network, you’ll be sent a member card which you can scan at the charging station you want to use. Some networks’ stations can also be accessed using a smartphone app or a credit card.

Plan your charging routes in advance. Many retailers are putting electric charging stations at their locations as a service to shoppers. .

Currently, there are six main networks in BC:
BC Hydro EV
Greenlots (for fast chargers)
Tesla (for Tesla vehicles)

8. And don’t forget to winterize your vehicle

Safety may not extend the life your your EV charge, but it never hurts to make safety first especially driving electric cars in the Canadian winter. Check out this article from to make your care totally winter proof with h tips for driving electric cars in the winterhow to make your car totally winter-proof.

Before you hit the road call Reliance Insurance at 604-255-4616 to learn more about electric car insurance. Now it is easier than ever to get car insurance, since ICBC Autoplan is now available without in-person contact.


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