It’s winter in the northern hemisphere. Depending on where you live, you might be experiencing significant snowfall and temperatures far below freezing.
Like any car, you should drive your Hyundai Kona EV differently in winter. This also involves some extra maintenance and checks.
If unsure, head to your local mechanic or Hyundai dealer for a ‘winter check-up’. Many shops offer the inspection itself for free (although you’ll need to pay for any work done as a result).
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Hyundai Kona EV winter driving
This article contains several tips for winter driving in the Hyundai Kona EV.
Read on to learn more.
#1 Drive gently
This is arguably the most important aspect of winter driving: operate your Kona EV smoothly and gently.
That applies to steering, accelerating, and braking. You should also drive much slower than usual, keeping much further back from a vehicle ahead of you.
For example, gently squeeze the pedals instead of stamping down on them. Go around corners slower, allowing you to turn the steering wheel more carefully. Don’t use the accelerator mid-turn, and so on.
Planning ahead is another crucial factor (as it is in all seasons). If you see an icy hill ahead, you must either safely reach the required speed before attempting to climb it or turn back and find another route. Nobody wants to find themselves sliding down backward!
Hyundai also recommends using the paddle shifter to downshift while decelerating, increasing regenerative braking. This works to some extent, provided the wheels don’t spin.
#2 Use winter tires
Winter tires significantly improve the amount of grip you’ll have in low-temperature, slippery conditions.
They might not look like much, but they make a massive difference. Most studies show that four winter tires on a two-wheel-drive (driven front axle) car are even more effective in the snow than a 4×4 drivetrain with regular tires.
That’s very impressive and shows how vital they are.
You could also consider tire chains. These are best avoided if possible and shouldn’t be used on aluminum-alloy wheels. They’ll scratch and damage them. You must also regularly check the tightness to prevent body damage and use a wire chain less than 0.47 (12 mm) thick.
Likewise, while studded tires are sometimes an option, they’re often illegal. Check local regulations before fitting and using them.
#3 Carry emergency supplies and equipment
Prepare for the worst. No matter how carefully you drive and how good your tires are, unforeseen circumstances can arise.
For example, consider the following:
- An unexpected blizzard or white-out
- Black ice sending you off the road
- Accidents or fallen trees blocking the roads
- Actions of other drivers forcing you to take evasive maneuvres
In your Hyundai Kona EV during winter, you should carry the following at all times:
- Tow straps
- Food rations and water bottles
- Candle and matches
- Open a window periodically to avoid a fatal dose of carbon monoxide!
- Tin (for melting snow for drinking water)
- Small shovel
- This is for digging your car out of drifts.
- Sand or grit
- Gloves, hat, scarf, coat, etc.
- Window scraper
- And so on.
#4 Remember that electrical systems don’t work as well in the cold
The Hyundai Kona EV is (as the name suggests) an electric car. It runs off battery power.
During cold spells, this system will be far less efficient. The further below freezing it drops, the worse it’ll perform.
You should expect significant range decreases (about 30%). Take this into account, even when planning a journey you regularly make.
Note that the car uses data from the last few trips to calculate a range estimate. If you’re seeing a much lower range when the battery’s at full capacity, this is probably why.
#5 Hyundai Kona EV preconditioning
Preconditioning your Kona EV is a great way to improve range while having a warm cabin and defrosting your windshield.
Follow the instructions below to precondition your car using departure timers.
- Ensure your car is plugged in.
- Turn your Kona EV on.
- On the central touchscreen, tap EV.
- Tap Charge management.
- Set and activate the target temperature and schedule a departure time.
- Leave your car.
The heater (or air conditioning) will activate 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. This should mean your windshield (at least) is defrosted when you come to it.
It’ll only work if your Kona EV is plugged in with sufficient charge. The power used for this climate control essentially comes straight from the mains source. Thus, it shouldn’t affect your range.
Other tips for maintaining your Hyundai Kona EV in winter
The Kona EV owner’s manual also describes several other precautions you should take. These include the following:
- Check the battery and cables – use a Hyundai dealer if possible.
- Use the lowest recommended oil multi-grades if in especially cold climates.
- Knock snow and ice off from underneath the body and fenders.
- Pour a winter-grade washer fluid into the reservoir.
- Watch out for the electronic parking brake freezing. If necessary, chock the wheels and deactivate it.
- Only do this if it’s safe to do so.
- Use a manufacturer-approved de-icer fluid to prevent locks from freezing.
Hyundai doesn’t recommend using an aftermarket block heater because of the fire risk. If you choose to use one, know that the warranty won’t cover any resultant fire damage.
Manually warm your battery in advance instead, as described in the preconditioning section above. This is a far safer option than a block heater.
Read your owner’s manual before making any changes to your car. Below is a PDF of the Hyundai Kona EV owner’s manual.