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What you need to know about running an electric car during the Norwegian winter

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
What you need to know about running an electric car during the Norwegian winter
Here's what you need to know about running an electric car in snowy conditions. Photo by Oliur on Unsplash

Fears over reduced range and issues with charging are some of the common issues owners of electric cars deal with during the winter in Norway.


Norway is one of the few countries on earth where more electric cars are sold than petrol and diesel ones.

While The Local has already prepped an article to get you ready for a long season of winter driving, owning an electric car comes with a unique set of winter challenges.

READ MORE: What you need to know about winter driving in Norway

For example, electric cars suffer from reduced range in the winter. This is for several reasons. Firstly, cold weather means less capacity in the battery.

Resistance eats into range due to snow, ice and increased resitance caused by lower tempratures. The need for heating for passengers also contributes to reduced range.

The basics for all cars

Before delving deeper into the specifics electric car owners need to know, there are two main things you need for winter driving in Norway. The first of these is a set of good quality winter tyres. These are a requirement from November 1st, or when the first significant snowfall arrives.

Secondly, motorists should also have to have some emergency supplies in their car in the event of a breakdown. Among the most important is a shovel, in case you become stuck in the snow. After that, some food, blankets and warm clothes are also required.

By law, drivers are required to have a reflective triangle in their car in case of a breakdown.

Check tire pressure

You should remember to check the recommended tyre pressure for your make and model and ensure they are sufficiently topped up. You can also choose to increase the tyre pressure to 0.2 bar above the manufacturer's recommendation.


Low tyre pressure will increase the tyre's rolling resistance and reduce electricity consumption; the rolling resistance is compounded by the heavier weight of electric cars.

Charging tips

Before trips, try to charge the battery to 100 percent in case your journey is elongated by queues or diversions or you get a worse-than-expected return on your charge.

Preheating your car while it is being charged will help save capacity as less electricity will be required for heating while you are on the road. Heated seats are also recommended over heating while on the road. 

Parking indoors will help prevent the batteries from cooling down too much and subsequently draining the battery.

The Norwegian Automobile Federation recommends only charging the car to 80-90 percent when making charging stops on the road. The reason for this is that the battery charges slower the closer it is to being full. This can help you save time on long journeys.


For many it will also be worth remembering that it may take electric cars longer to charge during the winter and when it is extremely cold. The slower charging times also affect fast charges. 

If you think you are going to run out of range, contact a recovery vehicle

It is safer to pull over and contact a recovery service when your battery is low than it is to run the battery down to zero in the hopes of reaching your destination or final charging point.

If you call a recovery vehicle before completely breaking down, you will be transported to the nearest charging point. This prevents queues and delays compared to if you break down in the middle of the road. It also means you have some battery capacity to use for heating in freezing temperatures if the recovery vehicle will be a while.

Extreme cold can see the range halved 

In temperatures of between 0c and -10c, range can be reduced by between 20 and 30 percent on some electric vehicles, according to testing carried out by NAF. When temperatures fall even further, to -20c, electric cars can lose as much as 50 percent of range. 


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