Cold weather is likely to take a bit of toll on the efficiency of your electric car. If you've ever noticed your cell phone battery draining faster when it is exposed to the cold for an extended period, you have seen the impact temperature can have on battery-dependent devices. The same holds true for your Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt or other electric car.
The doesn't mean you have to limit driving your electric car to warm weather months or move south. But don't expect your vehicle to go as far on a single charge in January as it does in June.
While a new Volt can usually drive about 40 miles on a single battery charge before its gas-powered generator kicks in, during cold weather, additional energy is being used to warm the cabin and battery, so you can expect that range to noticeably decline. Nissan boasts a 138-mile range when conditions are ideal, but that number can drop to about 62 miles, according to the automaker's website, in cold temperatures and stop-and-go traffic.
Not to worry, your electric car isn't going to stop completely just because temps drop to the single digits or worse. But plan to spend a few minutes warming up your car before heading out on a cold morning. You can also leave your car plugged in while it's warming, allowing it to draw electricity directly from your home rather than the battery while getting toasty warm.