The arrival of winter for electric car owners means that it is necessary to start paying attention to some specific aspects of their vehicles if they do not want to have coverage or even start problems. she preconditioning This is one feature of electric vehicles that should be taken advantage of in these times. And for that, it must first be understood deeply.
What is the preconditioning of an electric car?
The preconditioning of electric vehicles can be defined as a process in which the vehicle is previously prepared to optimize its performance and efficiency before use.
So far, so good, but the key to this process lies especially in the battery management and cabin temperature, two critical elements that influence the overall performance of the electric car.
In the case of the battery, preconditioning seeks to keep it within the optimal temperature range for its operation. Lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in electric vehicles, work more efficiently and have a longer life when operating at certain temperatures. Therefore, before starting a trip, the preconditioning system can heat or cool the battery to ensure it is at the ideal temperature for maximum performance.
In winter, especially when the temperature is close to 0 degrees Celsius, battery preconditioning is more important than ever. And some car owners may be surprised to discover that an electric car won’t start when it’s too cold. This makes sense because the car must first warm up the battery to a minimum level to start giving serious energy to the engine to start moving. Anything other than this can lead to serious damage to the entire electrical system.
This type of situation is where the battery’s thermal management system becomes relevant. This is common in cases of extreme heat when there are concerns about possible battery damage or even fires that worry the world of urban mobility by affecting bicycles and electric scooters. but Winter also makes the battery’s thermal management system even more important.
In addition, preconditioning also takes care of the interior of the car. This includes heating or cooling the interior, depending on the driver’s preference. A priori, it seems that it does not affect the car’s battery or autonomy in any way, but in fact, it is not like that.
By having the cabin at a comfortable temperature before the trip begins, you can reduce reliance on the air conditioning system while driving, which helps to conserve battery power and ultimately improve vehicle autonomy. In fact, it is often easier to adjust the temperature inside the car to the optimal level when it is in the garage than when it is outside at room temperature.
In fact, it is a lot easier and more efficient to maintain a temperature if the inside is well insulated from the outside than to try to change the temperature once you are in extreme weather.
To understand this, you need to think about the difference between how long it takes to cool down a car in the cabin when we have just taken it out of the garage or if it has been in full sun for several hours.
The importance of preconditioning in battery charging
The best temperature for charging an electric vehicle battery is usually between 20°C and 30°C. If the battery is outside this range, either because it is too cold or too hot, its charging and discharging capacity may decrease significantly. she Preconditioning is responsible for achieving or maintaining the optimum temperature for the load.
Improves the charging efficiency by reducing the internal resistance of the battery, which translates to faster load times. Additionally, preconditioning helps extend battery life by avoiding extreme charging situations that can accelerate battery degradation.
In many cases, it is impossible to use fast charging if the electric car does not have the optimal temperature of the battery. So, if we leave the car with a small battery in the garage hoping to charge it the next day with a fast charge charger, it is better to remember that we have to wait a while while preconditioning. will take effect so we can start charging at high speed.
How to activate preconditioning in electric cars
Typically, this preconditioning process can be managed through the electric car manufacturer’s mobile application or through the vehicle’s integrated system. In many cases, owners can schedule preconditioning to activate at specific times, thus ensuring that the vehicle is ready for use at specific times.
In the case of Teslas, the Scheduled Output function is what allows you to get the most out of this preconditioning.
However, it is good to know carefully whether each model uses preconditioning. In the case of Teslas, for example, preconditioning is not normally activated automatically when the battery is low. In these cases, the importance is not given to having fast charging but to maximizing the little autonomy left to reach a charger.
The big problem is that in cases of extreme cold, preconditioning is not only necessary to use fast charging, but it is also necessary to use charging in general, at any basic level. So, if you don’t want to be stuck in the car plugged into a charger that can’t charge your car’s battery, you need to know how each of the systems works and where preconditioning must be activated manually.
The winter storms that affected the Chicago region in the United States created situations as terrible as this, where Teslas were left “frozen” next to chargers that do not work properly when the batteries are not at the minimum temperature to be charged.