What is electric car preconditioning and why should I use it?

Preconditioning is one of the bonus features you get when owning an electric car. You’ll be the envy of your neighbours who drive petrol and diesel models.

Put simply, preconditioning allows you to pre-heat or pre-cool the car’s cabin before you begin your journey. Not only will you feel more comfortable, you’ll be maximising electric range and prolonging the life of the battery.

It’s a win-win-win situation.

How does preconditioning work?

Preconditioning can be set using the car’s media system or a connected smartphone app. By scheduling your daily departure times, the car will heat or cool its interior to optimum temperature – you just get in and go.

Crucially, when the car is plugged in, energy is drawn from the mains and not the car, so this has no impact on the driving range. Because the car’s windows will be free of mist and ice when you enter the cabin, you won’t waste time waiting them to defrost either.

How does preconditioning improve the range?

Opel Corsa preconditioning

OK, so preconditioning doesn’t improve range, but it will preserve the predicted range available at the start of the journey. Because you won’t have to use the air conditioning on its maximum setting, you’ll be using less energy.

If you’re travelling alone, we recommend using the heated seat and steering wheel, as these consume less energy than warming the entire cabin.

It’s worth noting that a cold battery can reduce electric range by up to 30 percent, which will have a significant impact during the winter.

How does preconditioning help the battery?

Lithium-ion batteries are based on electrochemical reactions that are slowed by cold weather. During the winter, the battery provides less energy and will lose its charge more quickly.

Preconditioning warms the battery to optimum temperature using power from the mains, which will help preserve the cells. The knock-on effect of this is longer battery life and the preservation of the car’s potential range.

Vauxhall Corse-e

For more information on how preconditioning works in your electric car, consult the handbook or search online.

Get into the habit of preconditioning from the moment you take delivery of your electric car. It’s better for you, your car’s battery and your wallet.

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