5 conseils pour la conduite et la recharge d’un véhicule électrique en montagne

5 tips for driving and charging your EV in mountainous regions

When you set off for a weekend break or spend your holidays in a mountainous region – or maybe quite simply live there – you need to kit yourself out with clothes that are adapted to the climate. Well, the same is true when you drive an electric car in the mountains - you have to adapt to the roads and adopt different charging habits. How should you manage your EV’s range when travelling in the mountains? What precautions should you take when charging your EV for mountain driving? You are probably aware of what to do about charging your EV in winter, but there are a few points to think about when you are driving in mountain country, so let’s get down to the facts straight away.

1. Charging the battery to 80%

If you think that it would be best to charge chock-a-block full to 100% to have the ideal range for your mountain travels, think again! When you charge your battery up to 80% maximum, you’re keeping a bit of leeway for regenerative braking when driving downhill. You will therefore make savings by charging your EV less often.

2. Regenerative braking in hilly terrain

You are no doubt wondering whether you’ll have sufficient range on mountain roads to cope with the uphill and downhill gradients. When you are travelling in hilly terrain, regenerative braking helps you recover range on the downhill slopes, thereby compensating for the extra consumption required on the uphill climbs. Intelligent usage of regenerative braking means you can extend your range to offset either steadily climbing or steep uphill slopes.

💡 Note that you need to keep your eye on your range when you’re travelling along mountain roads as it is often over-optimistic. And if your finish off your trip with an uphill climb over several kilometres when your battery is low, its level is likely to drop much faster than usual, so make sure you top up along the way.

3. Activate battery preconditioning

Some EVs are equipped with a battery preconditioning option. This preheats the vehicle so that you can charge your EV and set off in the best possible conditions in winter.

When you preheat the battery and defrost the cabin using the preconditioning option before setting off on a mountain trip, you save a large amount of energy from the outset. It is a good idea to do this while you are charging your EV as it won’t detract from your EV’s range. Preconditioning can usually be programmed from your EV’s dashboard.

Battery preconditioning when charging in mountain locations will also reduce your charging time. An EV with a cold battery takes longer to charge. By maintaining your battery level at more than 20% for each trip, you will also charger faster than if the battery level dips below 20%.

The cold also has an impact on regenerative braking and sometimes even acceleration. Preconditioning the battery while you are driving along may be useful to maintain your battery at an optimum temperature to recover energy more easily when braking.

💡 Note that preconditioning your EV while driving may reduce your battery’s range. So if it is counter-productive, simply deactivate the option.

4. Charging while the battery is warm

If your vehicle is likely to be parked in the cold for several hours, think about charging at the end of your road journey while the battery is still warm. Charging a cold battery takes longer as your battery first of all guzzles energy to heat itself up and the cost may well rise fast on charging points that invoice per kWh.

As mentioned before, if your EV features the battery preconditioning option, activate it to charge faster.

💡 In some areas, it may be necessary to protect the EV cable connector with specific protection gear or a blanket to stop the connector from freezing. Some models equipped with preconditioning also offer a feature for defrosting the charging port. This is the case with Tesla EVs, for example.

5. Plan your route

It’s just logical to think ahead when you travel in the mountains. The best way of avoiding unpleasant surprises is to plan your route with the appropriate app. It will inform you of the charging points available along the way and calculate the battery level required to arrive at your destination stress-free.

The Chargemap route planner, for example, takes altitude differences into account in its calculations so the information you receive is pretty accurate.

If you live in the mountains, it is essential to kit out your EV with the preconditioning option to facilitate charging and give you the best range during your travels. And for a weekend break or if you spend your holidays in the mountains, some simple actions such as avoiding charging your battery when it is cold and thinking about planning your route in advance, will ensure your journey is as free of unpleasant surprises as can be.

What about you? Have you already travelled by EV in the mountains? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment 🙂

1 comment

  • STASIA Jacques

    Je réside à Aix-en-Provence et me rends fréquemment en Italie du nord (Pinerolo) en passant par le col de Montgenevre . Je possède un EQA 250 MERCEDES. Je constate à la montée une surconsommation d’environ 60 à 70 % en fonction des conditions de circulation. ( pour info la conso. moyenne en plaine hors autoroute est de l´ordre de 17 à 18 kwh au 100 km. En côte la conso passe à 28 où 30 kwh au 100 km )
    A l´inverse, à la descente, avec la récupération maxi (++) la conso retombe à environ 10 à 12 kwh au 100km.
    En général je récupère en grande partie voire en totalité, la surconsommation de la montée. Cela nécessite tout de même un contrôle permanent des accélérations. Ce n´est
    qu´après plusieurs trajets que je suis arrivé à optimiser ma consommation.
    J´espère que mon expérience pourra être utile et surtout rassurer les possesseurs de voitures électriques qui doivent franchir des cols.

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