Winter range

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New member
Sep 18, 2023
I have a 2019 LEAF Plus S which I understand doesn't have a heat pump because the base level trim didn't offer it. I got it used and am yet to drive through a winter in it. So far I really like it otherwise.
I'm interested in hearing others' stories about range drop in the winter. How significant is it? I don't expect to be making a ton of road trips in the winter, but city driving. I can preheat the car for every morning while it's plugged in, and park it in my garage overnight when it gets really cold.
Welcome. You can expect roughly a 25% drop in range in milder Winter weather, rising to roughly 50% in extreme cold, wind, snow and slush. If it's any consolation, the cars with heat pump do no better in temps below about 20F. Learn to use the heated seat and steering wheel to best effect, if so equipped. They don't cause an appreciable drop in range. If dealing with dry roads, keep the tire pressures near 42-44psi. You will want lower pressures for slippery roads, though, so slowing down is the best way to deal with those conditions.
The ability to pre-heat will save a good chunk of energy. Also, don't be like my wife and set the heat temperature at 85F and then start cracking windows when it gets too hot inside. :roll:
Instead, set it to something lower, but enough to take the chill out of the air. I usually have mine set for 68F in the winter because it will blast you with heat when it needs to raise the air temperature when you first power up, but once it gets warm enough that it takes the chill out of the cabin, the seat heaters and steering wheel heater take care of the rest and save a lot of energy if you dressed warm, etc.
Also, try to re-circulate the air as much as possible. It's easier in the day time because the Sun will help to burn through any window frosting, but at night when you really need to see, minimize the defrost to the lowest setting that works to keep the windshield clear. Anything higher and it's basically just blowing all that energy it used to heat up the air out the back of the Leaf since it will be using the fresh air setting. :(
I just had a thought for those EVs parking outside in winter. If one puts a heater under the car it will think it's a warm season and would lose almost no range. It would also charge faster at a Level 3 station.

If you had 100 ft of 120v heating cable under the car at 5 watts per foot that would be 500 watts. You could use a light dimmer to adjust the power.

The trick is to put the heat close to the battery. Maybe fasten it to a piece of plywood with soft walls that reach the battery tray above to minimize drafts.

Or, and this is subject to space constraints between the to of the battery and the floopan - just put the coil above the battery and heat the cabin at the same time. Heating above and below the battery will surely make the car think it's summer. A battery could take 36 hours to get back to ambient temperature if it's at a significantly higher temperature.
Mostly no.

Range loss in winter is not just a colder battery. Also is cabin heat, window defogging, thicker air, thicker lubricants, stiffer tires and so on.
I've got a couple of winters (Texas Mild, compared to my Fargo neighbors, if you know what I mean)

Even my Hybrid F150 will drop from ~24mpg to 20-21


It's not exactly Apples to Apples, but more similar than you might think. The HV battery gets taxed more for things unrelated to just turning the traction motor.