The perfect running temperature for any lithium-ion battery (such as those used in electric cars) is about 77°F (25°C). Anything less (or more), and efficiency starts to drop off. In EVs, this means poor performance and reduced range, increasing the cost per mile.
So, what do you do in winter when temperatures plummet far below that? You’ll find a winter mode option on many cars, including the Kia EV6. These are usually battery heaters to quicken the rate at which the batteries warm up.
This page contains a quick run-through of winter mode on the Kia EV6, including how to turn it on in the settings. As always, you must read your owner’s manual before using any features on your car.
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What is the Kia EV6 winter mode?
Winter mode is a feature found on many electric cars. However, unlike many internal combustion vehicles, it’s not a drive mode. (In these cases, ‘winter mode’ or ‘snow mode’ – or some name to that effect – slows down the throttle’s responsiveness, making the tires more likely to grip slippery surfaces.)
Winter mode is actually just a battery heater in many EVs, including the Kia EV6. It isn’t anything particularly unique, and you’ll find something like this in almost every modern battery-powered car.
Winter mode has been introduced to counteract the massive performance drop-off batteries suffer in the cold. In fact, general estimates suggest you lose around 25% to 35% of your battery’s potential output in the chilly months. That’s a lot.
Activating winter mode on your EV6 means the heater warms the batteries when you turn the car on. This improves the car’s performance and means fast DC charging does less damage. In exchange, your range is likely to reduce.
Winter mode is controlled automatically. The battery heater will only come on as and when appropriate.
In theory, this means you can turn it on and not think about it again. In reality, most recommend only using winter mode when appropriate and deactivating it once the cold spells pass.
Note that this battery heater isn’t the same as preconditioning the climate control.
Activating Kia EV6 winter mode
Activating winter mode for the Kia EV6 is simple. Follow the instructions below to turn it on.
- Look at the central touchscreen.
- Navigate to EV Settings.
- Scroll down the menu on the left to Winter Mode and tap it.
- In the tab that appears, activate Winter Mode.
When the batteries are cold, the heater turns on and warms them as the car runs.
Ensure you have sufficient charge before you start driving.
Benefits of using winter mode on the Kia EV6
Winter mode is usually worth activating in climates with colder winters (anywhere you’d expect temperatures to approach freezing: 0°C or 32°F).
There are several benefits to using winter mode on your EV6. Here are the most obvious:
- Better battery performance – batteries have significantly greater output at the optimum temperature. By warming up faster, they’ll perform as you’ve come to expect much sooner than otherwise.
- More protection when fast-charging – DC fast chargers are great but not for continual usage. With winter mode active, DC charging performance will increase.
We’re only beginning to understand the complications EV driving in winter will bring. More new technology and software releases in the future will no doubt continue to improve overall performance in the cold (of both batteries and chargers).
Drawbacks of using Kia EV6 winter mode
You don’t necessarily need to activate winter mode on your Kia EV6. For the most accurate advice, I recommend consulting your local Kia dealership. They should give you this information for free.
As always, there are drawbacks.
- Decrease in range – your car’s batteries are now also powering their own heater. At a fundamental level, this is another appliance for them to run. Therefore, the range might decrease even further.
Turning winter mode off will make a significant difference if you need to maximize your range (for example, to reach a charging station).
In fact, turn as many appliances (climate control, heated seats/wheel, stereo, etc.) as possible off, and use Eco mode if the roads allow. If it’s below freezing, you should use Snow mode.
You must read your owner’s manual before switching winter mode on in your Kia EV6. This will give you model-specific information and is a step that must be completed.
Check out the physical copy that came with your car. Alternatively, you’ll find a PDF version below.