Can You Drive An Electric Car In The Snow?

Electric cars are quickly growing more and more popular. In addition, many places are passing laws to ban the sales of internal combustion cars in the future. You may have no choice but to buy an electric car in the future. So, if you live in a place that gets lots of snow, you may be worried about whether you can drive an electric car in the snow.

Can you drive an electric car in the snow? Yes you can drive an electric car in the snow. In fact, electric cars handle extremely well in the snow due to their advanced traction control systems, low center of gravity, fast response time, and many electric cars have all wheel drive.

Driving in the snow can be very scary. If the snow is falling pretty hard, visibility can be very limited. In addition, you can easily slip and slide all over the place. You might go to brake only to realize that your brakes aren’t slowing you down at all. It’s scary enough trying to keep yourself from getting in an accident. In addition, you have to be aware of other drivers who could potentially slide into you.

As such, if you live in an area that gets lots of snow you want to have a vehicle that handles as well as possible. Having good tires and either four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive helps. Advanced traction control systems also make a big difference in how your car performs in the snow. Electric cars offer these same features as well as several other nice benefits that make them good for driving in the snow.

Why Electric Cars Are Good In The Snow

So, why exactly are electric cars good in the winter? There are a couple of major reasons why. The very first is thanks to the way that components are placed in the car. In an internal combustion engine, you usually have the engine mounted under the hood in the front of your car. In an electric car, your battery pack, which weighs a ton, runs underneath the length of the car. Putting this large weight underneath the car, shifts the center of gravity quite a bit. This significantly improves handling and also makes the car less top heavy which reduces the likelihood of a rollover. 

The second big advantage is that electric cars usually have advanced active thermal management systems. The goal of these systems is to maintain the cars temperature even when not being driven. This means keeping the battery itself warm but also things like having your windows already defrosted before you even get into the car or having the cabin warm for when you get in.

You also have the benefit of instantly having heat coming out of your vents as opposed to having to wait for the engine to warm up in an internal combustion engine. You can also utilize these active thermal management systems while your car is plugged in. That way everything can be warm and ready to go without having any effect on your cars range.

The third big thing doesn’t apply to all electric cars, but a good majority. That is all-wheel drive. This allows for power to be supplied to all four wheels on the car as opposed to only the front two or only the back two. This helps a lot in low traction environments. Snow and ice can be one of the trickiest terrains to safely drive in. Having all-wheel drive helps prevent you from sliding and greatly helps improve handling.

In addition to all-wheel drive, electric cars drivetrains also operate very differently from internal combustion. Depending on your electric cars setup, you could have a single motor that drives multiple wheels or a dedicated motor for each wheel. Having multiple motors allows for very advanced traction control systems. Due to the nature of electric motors, any motor can instantly supply peak torque. As such, any wheel can instantly supply the necessary torque level on a wheel-by-wheel basis.

Tips For Optimizing Driving An Electric Car In The Snow

Is there anything that you can do to make driving in the winter with an electric car even better? There are some things that you can do. The very first thing that you can do is get better tires. Generally, the tires that you get on an electric car, aren’t super great for the snow. Generally, these cars come with tires optimized to have less rolling resistance. This way more energy is conserved. Unfortunately, this also means that you get less traction.

Buying better tires is one thing that you can do to drastically improve winter driving performance in an electric car. These could be winter/snow tires, or they could even just be all terrain tires. Do note that this will have an impact on your cars range. You may even consider having a set of winter tires and a set of summer tires that you switch out when the time comes.

Another thing that you can do to significantly improve your winter driving experience is to keep your car warm and charged as much as you can. Driving in the cold can significantly reduce the range of your electric car. In addition, it takes significantly more power to keep the car warm. Parking it inside of a garage and plugging it in and help protect it from the cold when not being used and keep your charge high so you have the range you need when you are ready to drive.

Can Water Or Snow Buildup Affect The Battery Or Computers

You may be wondering about water and snow buildup underneath electric cars. If you’ve driven where it snows a lot, you’ve seen how snow can quickly become ice chunks clinging to the underside of your car. Can this damage or affect your system?

Electric car batteries are extremely waterproof. Without significant amounts of damage being sustained to the battery pack, there are zero concerns that water get into any of the electric systems of the vehicle. Obviously, water and electricity are huge safety concerns. As such, electric car manufacturers have gone to extreme measures to prevent this from causing problems.

As far as buildup, your electric car battery has a thermal management system that works to constantly maintain the batteries temperature. Even when you aren’t driving it, it will work to keep the battery warm to prevent damage. This should prevent any ice formations from sticking to the battery pack, so you won’t have to worry about that. 

Salt can be one concern that you should be aware of. To help melt snow on the roads, many places will place salt on the roads. As you drive over it, the salt gets thrown on the underside of the car and on the body. Salt can be fairly corrosive and can start to eat away at different materials. Being on there for a short period of time isn’t a big deal. You just want to be sure that you spray off the salt underneath your car from time to time.

Can Driving In Snow Affect The Cameras And Sensors

As cars get more and more advanced, they now have sensors and cameras all around the cars. Does driving in snow have any affect on these? Any bad weather can have a bad effect on all of these systems. Let’s dive into the specifics. 

Most newer cars have some sort of blind spot monitoring system. These utilize radar sensors in order to determine when a car is in your blind spot on either side. Snow can interfere with the radar signals and cause the system to not function as intended. In addition, many blind spot systems indicate the presence of a car by illuminating a small light on the mirror. If snow builds up on the mirror, this can cover up the light.

A lot of cars also now come with lane departure warnings. These can use several different technologies to let you know when you have accidentally crossed the lines on the road. Snow can prevent these systems from working at all. As snow builds up on the road, the cameras or sensors become incapable of reading the lines and become entirely dysfunctional. 

Lastly, many newer cars have forward collision systems that notify you or stop the car for you if it looks like you are going to crash straight into something. These utilize either radar sensors, cameras, or a combination of both. Just like with blind spot monitoring, the snow can have an effect on the radar signals. Also, the snow can block the view of the cameras and overall confuse the systems. This can prevent these from working.

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