Do Electric Cars Need To “Warm Up”? (Explained)

As more and more consumers look into electric cars it becomes clear that there are still many open questions when it comes to comparing electric cars to gasoline-powered cars.

One of the most often asked questions is “Do electric cars need to warm up” and that probably comes from our everyday experience that batteries show lower performance when they are cold.

But is that really the case?

Do Electric Cars Need To Warm Up?

Electric cars do not need to warm up before you can drive at high RPMs. The motor will be ready to go at high speed immediately and it will not wear faster if you decide to accelerate faster or go at high speed as soon as you start the vehicle.

Let’s take a closer look.

Not all cars need to warm up before you take off at high RPMs.

Do electric cars need to run at a standstill before driving?

When we are operating gas-powered vehicles, there are many instances where the vehicle’s performance is enhanced by being allowed to run at a standstill before taking off.

Of course, what works best for a gas-driven vehicle is not always going to be the best choice for an electric car.

For starters, an electric motor does not run in the same manner as a gas-powered one.

An electric motor is not going to run when the car is still stationary, so there is no need to run the vehicle before you drive it. There is very little within the car that is going to draw on the battery (even in cold conditions), which is another added bonus.

The heating system and the other electrical systems will draw from the battery in these types of conditions, but they are nothing to worry about, ultimately.

In gas-powered vehicles, it is worth the driver’s while to leave the car running at a standstill. By burning the gasoline, they are able to provide themselves with a well-heated interior before getting in.

This is not a concern that the electric car driver has to address. They are not inherently more likely to fail in certain types of weather, which is something we will cover later on.

That’s why leaving them running at a standstill is something of a fool’s errand.

Feel free to do so if you choose but there are no tangible benefits to be enjoyed. Electrical systems will start to draw power from the battery and there is nothing to be said for the heating aspect of the equation.

Should you drive electric cars at low RPM when starting?

In order to maximize the range of an electric vehicle, there are certain considerations that need to be made.

When it comes time to start an electric vehicle, one of the most common questions is centered around the RPM. Should these vehicles be driven at a low RPM when they are starting or should we be driving them at a higher rate of speed?

Yes, accelerating quickly can be a lot of fun, but it is not best for an electric vehicle.

By minimizing the initial acceleration, energy consumption is kept lower. When we drive these vehicles at a higher RPM as soon as we hop in, the battery is going to be drained even more quickly.

The prospect of speed vs efficiency has to be considered as well.

While a gas-powered vehicle can be driven at a higher rate of speed without any noticeable impact on efficiency, the same is not always true of an electric car. The faster you go, the more energy you are burning.

That does not mean that the driver should move slowly or without purpose.

In fact, it is recommended that we take more direct routes so that we are not burning energy in a needless manner. This is where the health of the battery itself is of the utmost importance.

We will get more out of our batteries when we ensure that we are not speeding up their degradation.

Driving fast does not speed up the life span of the battery but it can when the battery is not properly maintained.

The decision is made according to the driver’s personal needs at that time.

In some cases, it can be fun to get the most out of the fast acceleration and instant torque that an electric car has to offer. In other instances, it is about seeing how much driving distance we can get out of a full battery.

In that sense, it is actually not that much of a different experience from driving a gas-powered vehicle. When we are driving a gas-powered vehicle, we are looking to get the absolute most out of our gas tanks.

When we are driving an electric vehicle, we want to maximize the life span of the battery.

Of course, electric vehicles also have built-in features that are designed to help a driver make the most of each mile.

As a general rule of thumb, though?

The heavier your foot, the faster the battery will deplete.

Can you damage electric motors when accelerating fast from a standstill?


This is a common question, as no one is looking to damage their motor in these instances.

However, this common question has a common-sense answer.

If the act in question would cause damages to a gas-powered motor, typically, the same will be true of an electric motor.

While heavy acceleration is said to reduce the range of an electric vehicle, some may believe that they can accelerate quickly from a standstill without causing any further issues.

This is simply untrue.

These motors can be damaged by excessive acceleration just like their gas-powered counterparts.

Rapid acceleration is not going to damage the engine in one fell swoop but there is a compounding effect that takes place when these motors are not being considered.

Remember, electric cars do have more torque and you can utilize that extra power from the get go!

What most do not know is that these cars have the same level of torque whether they are at a standstill or traveling at a high rate of speed.

To make matters even worse, these cars do not even need to be accelerated rapidly for a driver to enjoy fast performance.

A gas-powered vehicle simply cannot match the efficiency levels of an electric vehicle.

The traditional gas-powered vehicle operates at a level of 30% efficiency.

This means that 70% of the vehicle’s energy is being taken up by pollutants, sounds, and heat that all contribute to the destruction of the atmosphere.

Conversely, vehicles that are powered by an electric motor operate at a level of 90% efficiency.

The instant power that is generated through the torque of the vehicle makes rapid acceleration meaningless. In a gas-powered vehicle, the energy is helped along by a transmission that gives the engine the ability to rotate more rapidly.

Electric motors do not need the same level of assistance.

The amount of torque that is present at higher speeds remains present at a standstill. There’s no need to risk any long or short damage by accelerating fast while sitting.

Do electric cars fail in winter and cold weather?

Electric cars and their ability to survive colder temperatures are a constant point of contention.

Yes, extreme cold can reduce the range of an electric car in a significant manner, but you’ll find that electric cars, Teslas included, will perform fine in cold weather.

However, that does not make them inherently worse than gas-powered vehicles.

When these cars are out in the cold and they are idling, the engine is not running. That means that there is nothing to draw on the battery, outside of the electrical accessories and the heating system.

Let’s say that both vehicles are trapped in snowy or icy conditions.

An electric vehicle is no more prone to failing in a situation like this, for a number of reasons. Many have used traffic jams as an example of the dangers that could take place.

If an electric car is stationary, the battery is not going to be used.

Drivers of gas-powered vehicles, on the other hand, will have to keep their engines running. Even when these vehicles are sitting idled, gasoline must burn to keep the engine on.

Climate settings can also be utilized by electric vehicle owners as a means of reducing the amount of strain that is placed on their battery in extreme weather situations.

Even a battery that is not fully charged stands a better chance of lasting in these scenarios than a gas-powered vehicle. Gas-powered vehicles do not have an unlimited gas tank, as we all know.

So how can they be expected to handle such a situation in an easier way than the electric car?

There’s no evidence to support that hypothesis.

Both vehicles are in a race against time in cold weather climates.

There is no reason to believe that an electric car is going to fail more quickly than a gas-powered vehicle. No motorist should ever be choosing a gas-powered vehicle due to this premise.

While it is certainly a common myth that has been spread repeatedly, that does not make it a lesson that needs to be heeded by electric car owners.

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