The Importance of Battery Preconditioning for EVs in Winter
As we delve into the colder months in the northern hemisphere, understanding the significance of battery preconditioning, or simply put, battery preheating, becomes crucial for electric vehicle (EV) owners. This process is not just about comfort; it's a key factor in ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your EV’s battery, especially before a DC fast charging session.
Why Precondition Your EV’s Battery? Preconditioning the battery by heating it to the optimum temperature for charging serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it prolongs the battery’s life. Batteries, like most components, have an ideal operating range, and maintaining this range is vital for their longevity. Secondly, it helps maximize the range of your EV. In cold weather, EVs tend to lose some of their range efficiency, but preconditioning can help mitigate this effect. Lastly, it shortens charging times, ensuring a more efficient charging process.
Safety and Comfort Benefits Apart from these technical benefits, preconditioning also ensures a safer charging session. By heating the battery pack to a temperature above freezing, it allows the battery to accept a full amperage charge without any risk. Additionally, as a positive side effect, it results in a warm cabin while the battery heats up, adding to passenger comfort during cold days.
The Cost Factor It’s important to note that preconditioning does consume electricity, and this cost is borne by the EV owner. While none of this energy goes directly into charging the battery, the benefits of preconditioning largely outweigh this minor cost.
Real-World Evidence from a Tesla Model Y Owner To understand the real-world impact of battery preconditioning, a Tesla owner conducted a test with his Model Y in cold weather, documenting it on the It's Only Electric YouTube channel. The test involved charging the EV at a V3 Supercharger under two different conditions: with and without battery preconditioning.
In the first scenario, with a preconditioned battery at a 10% state of charge and an external temperature of 30° F (-1° C), the battery accepted a charge rate of up to 238 kW, completing the charging session from 10% to 80% in 33 minutes. This was slightly longer than usual due to the cold weather but still efficient.
Conversely, when the battery wasn't preconditioned, the charging session took 42 minutes for the same charge increase, almost 10 minutes longer. Moreover, the charge rate peaked at only 135 kW, significantly lower than with the preconditioned battery.
Preconditioning is Key The conclusion drawn from this test is clear: preconditioning your EV’s battery in winter is essential for an efficient and quick charging session, as well as for maintaining the health of your battery. If you're in the market for an EV, it's important to ensure that the model you choose comes with a battery preconditioning feature, as not all models offer this functionality.
Remember, taking the time to precondition your EV’s battery not only enhances your driving experience but also contributes to the overall health and longevity of your vehicle.