Summer EV driving: Six tips for beating the heat

Everything EV | 11 June 2024

Summertime may seem like the perfect time to take your electric vehicle (EV) out on the road. 

But it’s crucial that you take care of your EV during the hotter months. If you may find yourself dealing with issues that cause it to perform below par.

While the UK is not known for its scorching summers, seasonal heatwaves are becoming more common. Plus, you may want to bring your car if holidaying on the continent, where temperatures can rise to a roasty 40+ degrees!

This kind of extreme heat won’t just leave you in a sweat. It can harm your EV’s lithium-ion battery.

Of course, protecting your car from the strength of the sun isn’t new news–even petrol and diesel engine vehicles can overheat in high temperatures. And, as you’ll see, many of the issues you may come up against, are similar to those that ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles also face. 

However, if you’re a recent EV owner, it’s still a good idea to get clued up on the specific ways to keep your car in good working, ensuring you’re beating the heat.

So, buckle up and read our top tips to do just that.

Tip #1: Precondition before driving

Preconditioning your car helps cool it down after it’s been sitting in the sun for hours. 

​​Just as with a petrol or diesel car, running the air conditioning while the car is moving will consume more of the battery’s energy (or engine fuel in an ICE vehicle).

So, turn on your EV’s climate control system (i.e. your air conditioning) while your car is plugged in and powering up. In this way, you’re using grid power instead of your battery’s power. It’s an efficient way to conserve EV range as the battery won’t have to work as hard to keep things comfy while you drive.

According to Gridserve, the single biggest drain on your car’s battery (excluding actual driving) is climate control. The public charging network states that running the A/C in a hot car may keep the sweat at bay but it’s costing you seven miles of range per hour to do so.

However, while it’s smart to use the pre-conditioning feature, be aware that these settings can sometimes interfere with the automatic schedules set by your charger. So, keep an eye on this. 

Tip #2: Turn down the tunes

It’s tempting to crank up the tunes and go full-on Barbie singing Closer to Fine as you’re zooming down the motorway on a sunny afternoon. Yeah. But don’t.

As already highlighted, the battery in your electric car may already be working overtime, particularly if you’ve powered up the air conditioning to keep the cabin cool.

By minimising the use of all other energy-intensive features such as your sound system, large touchscreen or infotainment displays, or even USB and phone chargers, you can continue to alleviate the strain on the battery.

It should be noted, that generating electricity through the alternator in a diesel or petrol car will also put pressure on the engine. So if you’re still driving a fossil fuel guzzler, have the alternator inspected regularly and replace it when necessary. 

Tip #3: Use eco-mode

Using the eco-mode feature is another effective way to help you beat the heat. As with ICE vehicles, nearly all modern EVs have this setting. It optimises energy use and so reduces strain on the car’s battery.

With eco-mode on, your EV will use less power for climate control and acceleration, ultimately preserving the overall driving range.

Tip #4: Park in the shade

When the sun is out, parking your EV in the shade will help keep your car, and ultimately your battery, cool. This makes particular sense if your EV is going to be parked up for hours.

Park your EV under leafy roadside trees, in an enclosed garage, or anywhere else not in the sun’s line of fire.

If you have difficulty regularly finding a shady spot think seriously about investing in windscreen sunshades and blinds. This will keep the cabin from sizzling and you from switching on the A/C every time you sit down to drive.

Tip #5: Limit rapid charging

There are several reasons why having an EV home charger is a good idea. Convenience and cost-effectiveness are the obvious ones. But home charging also rids you of the need to hightail it to a rapid charging station because you’re on the road and realise your battery needs a boost.

This is particularly relevant during scorching summer months. The high kW rate of rapid charging causes a sharp rise in your EV’s battery temperature. In already hot conditions, this will only add to the drain on your battery.

Sure, there may be occasions when you need an ultra-quick top-up. But as a general rule, it’s best to stick to a home charger such as the VCHGRD Seven, which has a power output of 7kW.

Charging your car at this lower voltage generates less heat, which means a healthier battery – and wallet – in the long run. And if you charge overnight with a home EV charger, then you’ll always set off with a full battery and likely never need to queue for a fast charge again!

Tip #6: Check tyre pressure

Finally, don’t forget to check your tyre pressure regularly in the summer. Hot weather makes the air in your tyres expand (whether you’re driving an EV or ICE vehicle). A tyre with higher pressure is less flexible, which forces your battery (or engine) to work harder, increasing fuel consumption.

Tyre pressure is measured by PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), or, more usually, BAR. These units measure the pressure in different increments. It’s best to consult your driver’s manual to be guided on your particular car’s recommended PSI or BAR.

Once you know what the PSI or BAR should be, you can check your tyre pressure yourself using a gauge or let a mechanic do it for you. Ignoring this can affect your car’s handling and efficiency, so it’s worth putting on the to-do list. 

Make the most of the summer with solar energy

Finding ways to beat the heat during the sunshiney months will help you maintain the health of your EV battery.

But please don’t see the sun as an EV enemy. If you’re using solar energy to power up your car, the more “long hot summer days” the better!

Our solar-ready VCHRGD Seven charger is the perfect EV charger for you if you’ve already got solar panels installed. And if you haven’t but you’re considering installing them, we’d be more than happy to recommend several trusted partners who can provide and install them for you. 

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