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Impact of cold weather on charging

Temperature can affect the speed and efficiency of charging.

When it’s cold outside, the battery in your electric car needs to warm up before it can charge at its fastest speeds. This means charging can take longer in winter.

Why is the charging rate slower in winter?

According to research from the Idaho National Laboratory, the rate of charging can be as much as three times slower in the very coldest conditions. What are the reasons for this?

  • The battery in your car relies on chemical reactions to absorb and release power.
  • Cold weather can reduce the speed and intensity of these reactions. 
  • To protect your car from battery damage, in-built systems limit the charging rate.  

Our 4 top tips for charging in winter

  1. Keep your car in a warm place - Parking your car in a warm garage or a sunny spot means the battery will stay warmer and be quicker to charge. 
  2. Try to stay above 20% - By keeping at least a 20% charge, you should have enough power to warm up the car’s battery. This will speed up charging. 
  3. Plug in a bit earlier - Before you leave for work or the school run, you’ll need to allow more time for home charging. Give yourself longer than you would in spring or summer.
  4. Think about journey times - Bear in mind that charging at public stations is also likely to take longer. Therefore you might need to allow more time for long journeys.
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