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August 2019

Lots of people find themselves concerned about how well electric eco-friendly cars operate in the colder season, largely due to a prevalence of misinformation on the internet. There is a range of myths about how well electric vehicles perform in winter, and while some of them have some sort of basis, most of them are based on hearsay.

In this blog, we’re going bust three of the biggest myths and explain why an electric vehicle performs just as well (if not better) than an ICE car in winter and remains far eco-friendlier.

Myth One: Electric vehicles lose a lot of range in winter 

This is the one myth on this list that comes with a bit of a basis, as for many EVs there is a small downtick in their range capacity when confronted with very cold temperatures. The reason for that comes from the types of batteries that comprise EV battery packs. Lithium-ion batteries deliver energy to the car through chemical reactions, and when they have to perform in cold temperatures, these reactions can be slowed down. Not only that, driving through muddy, icy or slippery roads consumes more energy (electric or otherwise) than driving on a clean, dry road. These can have a small impact on the range you get out of your car, though not to the extreme degree that most people think.

The most important thing to note here is that gasoline cars also have to deal with performing in colder temperatures, although in a different manner. Internal Combustion Engine cars—or ICE cars—function by utilising the energy from controlled explosions sparked with gasoline. In winter, an ICE car requires more energy to perform at peak efficiency, thereby using more gasoline and resulting in reduced fuel efficiency (fuel used per unit distance).

So, whether you’re driving an ICE car or an electric car, you’re going to lose some distance in winter either way. However, engineers are currently working on battery packs devoted to keeping the engines in EVs warm, allowing them to operate at peak efficiency no matter the time of year.

Myth Two: Electric vehicles are more expensive in winter 

This is a very popular myth about electric vehicles, mostly because this myth holds for their gasoline-powered counterparts. Since you have to spend more on fuel in winter to keep your ICE car running, many people think that running an electric vehicle will cost even more in comparison. This is not the case!

It’s already very inexpensive to run an electric vehicle in the warmer months. According to Drive Electric, the financial cost of running an electric car in New Zealand is only 20% of what it would cost to run a similar car on gasoline.

Someone travelling the NZ average of 12,500km every year would spend about $2500. If they were driving an electric car, they’d pay only about $500. That’s a significant windfall for the household budget.

  • Drive Electric NZ

We’ve established that you lose a little bit of range in winter, so depending on the amount of driving you are doing, you will have to recharge your EV more frequently. However, compared to the dollars you would need to shell out to keep a gasoline car running in the same winter months, an electric vehicle comes out far cheaper.

Myth Three: It’s harder to drive an electric vehicle in winter 

Generally, ICE drivers underestimate an electric vehicle’s performance. Unfortunately, people tend to assume that because an EV is quiet, it doesn’t have enough grunt or control to call itself a good car. This is ironic, as most electric cars are, in fact, excellent to drive.

Why is that? Well, first of all, electric cars have batteries mounted in the bottom of the chassis (rather than the front or back of the car), so their centre of gravity is low to the ground and central to the vehicle. This offers much better traction than most ICE vehicles, and improves the driver’s experience when cornering, making them a very smart choice for winter driving.

Furthermore, electric vehicles are powered by engines that operate based on rotational force. This means that they can deliver instant torque at the touch of a pedal. Instant torque can mean skidding on wet or icy roads. While this may concern some drivers, most EVs also come with built-in traction control to account for any differentials in power. This minimises skidding and makes it a much safer drive in winter. And for very snowy and icy areas, it’s best to invest in winter tyres regardless of your engine to improve your car’s grip.

Overall, there are going to be benefits and disadvantages to you no matter what car you choose. The fact of the matter is electric vehicles perform excellently in the winter months despite a small dip in their range, and they deliver cheaper, emissions-free driving all-year-round.

Experience electric performance.  


GVI Electric is New Zealand’s biggest provider of electric vehicle imports, and we’re always happy to help. Whether you’re looking for electric cars in Auckland or Tauranga, the GVI Electric team can aid you in choosing the perfect model for you, as well as answering any questions you might have. Get in touch today!

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