The weather is getting colder, and cars need electricity in one form or another. Finnish car repair chain InCar has collected tips to make driving more energy-efficient next winter, whether your car runs on fuel, is a hybrid or an electric vehicle. Each of them requires preheating and charging the battery. But how energy-efficient is it with rising energy prices? If anywhere, the residents of the north know about this.
“Many people wonder whether to choose expensive preheating or expensive kilometers. However, the choice is not made between these alternatives. Preheating a fuel-driven car saves not only the engine but also fuel. It is worth preheating the car when the outside temperature drops to zero,” advises Teemu Kulmala, the head of InCar’s repair shop in Rovaniemi.
According to Kulmala, preheating is particularly important in severe cold. However, it is now worth considering how long it is necessary to preheat the car.
“What you save on fuel, you may lose in the energy used for preheating. According to the old rule of thumb, the heating time is half an hour to an hour between zero and five degrees Celsius, one to two hours at 5–10 degrees Celsius, and two to three hours in even colder weather. On the other hand, even a short preheating is better for the engine than a cold start,” Kulmala ponders.
“As electricity becomes more expensive, it goes without saying that the car should be kept in a garage or parking garage whenever possible. This applies to both fuel-driven and electric cars!”
Charging an electric car – how to save range for longer?
When a car runs at least partly on electricity, it saves on fuel costs. But how can one make the constantly increasing kilometers on an electric car battery last as long as possible?
“It is worth parking the car in a warm place whenever possible. If you can predict your trips well, it is worth timing the battery charging so that the battery is full just when you are about to leave. This way, the battery is still warm when you start driving, and the consumption is lower,” says Kulmala.
In driving, there are many conveniences that should be used sparingly if one wants to save energy. For example, it is worth lowering the car’s interior temperature slightly and using the steering wheel and seat heaters only briefly, as they all consume the battery. Many of these things may not come to mind when thinking about saving energy.
“The tire pressure of the car is a great example! When the tire pressure of a car is correct for the make and model, the car’s electricity consumption is lower. If the car has an eco-driving mode, it is also worth using it. Then all the car’s functions operate with slightly lower consumption,” Kulmala sums up.
“We, as automotive professionals, have been talking about economic driving style for decades. Now, it is worth paying attention to it in our own driving as well. Sudden accelerations and braking should be avoided in traffic for the sake of savings. The cruise control should be set to the speed limit. Small changes in driving style save electricity and money!”
In the end, Kulmala reminds us that safety should always be the first priority in all energy-saving tips, including those related to driving.
“For example, it is not advisable to save on the heating of the front or rear windows when it comes to ensuring visibility. When snow starts to fall, they must also be cleared before starting to drive! In general, even in energy-efficient driving, it is worth saving in small steps, so it is not such a big change for yourself either. Small, daily actions save during the long winter”, says Kulmala.