Summer EV driving: Tips to stay on track in the heat

July 25, 2022
James Pratley

The summer months can bring a new set of challenges for all drivers, from staying comfortable in the cabin to glare on the windscreen. For electric vehicle drivers, it’s worth taking a few extra factors into consideration when you’re driving in hot weather.

We’ve made this easy with a quick EV driving guide for your every summer journey – whether it’s a day trip to the beach, a cross-country drive to friends and family or a holiday further afield.

When it comes to preparing your electric vehicle (EV) for the road, don’t sweat the small stuff. Driving your EV this summer will be a breeze – simply take a look at our EV driving tips and you’ll be set to go.

Do hotter temperatures affect EV range?

Yes – but it’s easy to mitigate any negative impacts. It may come as a surprise to learn that all motor vehicles are affected by hot weather – electric motors and internal combustion engines alike. Just like a petrol or diesel car, there’s no reason you can’t use and enjoy your EV all summer long.

From being smart with how and where you charge, to parking in the shade where it’s available, there’s a lot you can do to make your summer journeys as smooth as possible when driving an EV.

Keep cool with air conditioning

Rumour has it that using the air conditioning will drain the battery in your electric vehicle. Thankfully, that’s not the case.

While your vehicle’s battery powers the AC, the amount of energy used is negligible. There are plenty more EV driving tips that will maximize the battery’s range without compromising on air-con, so stay cool, get comfortable and enjoy the ride.

Stay plugged in to charge smart

If you’re arriving home with a decent amount of power left in your battery, stay plugged in anyway.

Battery cooling may cause a small amount of energy loss. Thankfully, electric vehicles are smart enough to regulate battery temperature and keep the battery topped up without “over-charging”, so you’re always ready to go.

With energy prices rising, make sure to use Smart Charging on the app to charge up your electric vehicle for less.

Charge with your solar panels

If you have solar panels at home, you could significantly reduce your costs by using excess solar power to charge your electric vehicle. All you need is an SOLAR subscription.

With the price to import energy usually being much higher than to export, it usually works out best financially to use this energy yourself rather than sell it back to the grid.

The app uses advanced and highly-accurate solar forecasting to match the solar energy output with your EV charging without any additional hardware. Just head to the Smart tab and tap “Solar” to get started.

Be prepared with preconditioning

By using a preconditioning feature for your electric vehicle, you can preserve as much battery life as possible for the road and quell any range anxiety.

The preconditioning function allows the vehicle to prepare itself by optimizing the battery temperature before you unplug it, saving energy for the journey.

Some preconditioning functions will also manage climate control inside the cabin, which means you can start your journey in full comfort and may not even need to use the air conditioning after all.

Preconditioning still applies when you’re out and about. Try and park in the shade, just like with any car. If left in the sun, your EV will waste valuable energy when cooling down.

Go easy on rapid charging

While rapid charging may be the most convenient way to charge your vehicle on the go, excessive use of rapid charges can deplete the battery range over time.

If you do need to use a rapid charger, try to avoid charging at the hottest part of the day. Additionally, aim to make sure the battery doesn’t drain completely to almost 0% and charge up to 80% rather than 100%, if you can, to avoid overheating the battery and losing additional battery power as it self-regulates the temperature.

Stay in sync with your energy provider

Financially, it’s often best to charge at night if you can. But not always. High winds across Scotland or bright sunshine in California have been known to have an impact on energy prices in the day.

The app offers a far more convenient way to ensure you’re always getting a great charge at the best price automatically without having to constantly change the schedule in your vehicle’s app.

Just add your energy provider and tariff (and keep this information up to date if it changes), and we’ll work our magic in the background to deliver the greenest and most affordable charge every time.

Cool it on the road

There are a few things you can do while on the road to improve your battery range.

As with any vehicle, being gentle with acceleration and braking will ensure you preserve your EV’s battery life so you can go those extra miles.

If your vehicle has an “Eco Mode”, switching this on will improve efficiency even further by reducing the power where appropriate, although you may notice a drop in performance or comfort.

Finally, many EVs have regenerative braking systems which transform the kinetic energy of your vehicle’s momentum into usable energy which tops up the battery. This energy would otherwise be lost at heat on the brake discs, so it’s worth looking out for.

You’re ready to hit the road

That’s it. Now that you’ve read our EV driving tips for summer, all you have to do is decide on a destination, pack your bags, and hit the road. Bon voyage!

Become a driver of change. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play today.

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