Hyundai Ioniq 5 prototype in winter
The idea of driving an EV when the mercury drops can seem like a situation fraught with perils. Will an EV start in minus 20? Will it go as far as advertised? What about how much energy it will take trying to warm it up? Photo: Hyundai Canada

For those of us who live in countries with snow, there are some things to consider when choosing an EV. Here’s everything you should know about electric cars in winter

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This article is Sponsor Content presented by Hyundai Canada

The idea of driving an EV when the mercury drops can seem like a situation fraught with perils. Will an EV start in minus 20? Will it go as far as advertised? What about how much energy it will take trying to warm it up?

And, the penultimate question: are electric cars good in winter?

These are all valid concerns and, happily, we have the answers to help take the fear out of winter driving in an EV.

Do electric cars work in winter?

Yes. It’s as simple as that. EV drivers live all over the world and in all types of climates — including some of the coldest habitable places.

Let’s take a look at Svalbard, Norway where the average temperature in summer is between 3-7 degrees and minus 13 to minus 20 in wintertime.

Despite all this the Norwegian postal service has entirely electrified their postal delivery fleet in Svalbard. For nearly a decade, Norway has been a global leader in EV adoption. Talk about a positive testimonial to EV reliability in winter.

Will an electric car start in winter?

Just like you’ve never doubted your combustion engine vehicle starting on a cold morning, your EV will be the same.

The difference is that many EV drivers will already have plugged their EV in overnight. So, unlike the minus 40 mornings when a combustion engine won’t start without a block heater, you won’t have that issue with an EV.

How far does an electric car go in winter?

That will depend on the original range of your vehicle. The 2023 Kona Electric has a battery range of 415km. The Ioniq 5 has a range of 410-488km (depending on the motor configuration). And the Ioniq 6 has a range of 435 to 581km (again, depending on motor configuration).

Based on average daily commutes for Canadians an EV — even in the winter — all of Hyundai’s EV will have a range that far exceeds what the driver needs.

Does winter affect electric car range?

There is a debate about how much range an electric vehicle loses in cold temperatures. Depending on who you talk to it could range from 15-30 per cent.

The safest (and most reasonable) number to go with is the same range loss a combustion vehicle experiences in the winter: 25 per cent. 

What is it like to drive an electric car in the winter?

It’s a pleasant experience to drive an EV in the winter.

On top of enjoying the benefits of a smoother, quieter ride with no air pollution an added perk of driving an EV in the winter is that you can precondition the vehicle so that it’s warmed up and ready to hit the road when you are.

(No more cold seats or fogged up windshields!)

So, the short answer is, it’s like driving an ICE vehicle in the winter — only much better.