Electric vehicles are more popular than ever. In fact, some 1,600,000 Americans have now made the switch to driving a plug-in electric car. But although these cars have entered the mainstream, there are certain misconceptions about electric cars and commercial charging stations. Many drivers wonder if electric cars are suited for rain and harsh weather. This week, we’re answering a few common questions on how to use EV charging solutions when the sky is gray.

Can You Charge Your Electric Vehicle When It’s Raining?

One common question that commercial charging station companies hear from property managers and prospective EV drivers is this: “Can you drive an electric car in the rain?” And the second question, “Can you use electric vehicle charging stations when it’s raining outside?” Firstly, electric cars do use batteries, but they are sealed from rain and water intrusion. While no one (electric car or otherwise) should drive on a flooded road, you are safe to drive through normal rain and car washes.

The second question, “Will you be electrocuted if you use an EV charging station in the rain?” The answer is no. This fear is unfounded, as residential and commercial charging stations alike are designed to protect you, your vehicle, and the charging equipment. In fact, with the J1772 plug, electricity will not even flow through the cable until you plug into your vehicle. All SemaConnect charging stations are NEMA 3R-rated, which means that they are designed to be safely used both in a garage and outside in a surface lot. Protective layers are incorporated into the design of charging station equipment, preventing any risk of short-circuiting, sparks, and other dangers.

Can Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Handle Cold?

As mentioned above, SemaConnect commercial charging stations are safe to use in virtually all weather conditions. Specifically, our EV chargers can withstand a temperature range of -22 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit and can also function in up to 95% non-condensing humidity. Whether your property is in Canada, Florida, Texas, California, or Hawai’i, drivers can continue to use your charging facilities in hot and cold without interruption. EV drivers can charge their vehicles in the winter, though we recommend that station owners inspect their EV signage and striping before a snowstorm or freeze. After all, if your parking lot is covered in snow, “EV Charging Only” signs might be your only notification to internal combustion vehicles that they’re parking at an EV spot!

That said, natural disasters are a special case. Although cold weather is no match for SemaConnect charging stations, station owners should take steps to protect their equipment and drivers during severe weather such as hurricanes, blizzards, or floods. It’s a good idea to switch off the power to your commercial charging stations when preparing for a situation where your charging stations will be submerged under water. Charging stations are designed for the outdoors, but they are not designed to be underwater. Once the coast is clear, you can turn your breaker back on.

What Are Some Best Practices For Driving an EV in Rain or Snow?

When there’s a storm brewing, EV drivers should watch their batteries. If you are expecting blackouts, power outages, or an evacuation, plan ahead for a charging session. Make sure you’re charged before the power goes out, and download leading EV apps such as PlugShare or SemaConnect so you can find public charging stations on the road.

In cold weather, it’s a good idea to keep your vehicle’s battery within the optimal charging range (between 20% and 80%) to maximize efficiency and take advantage of regenerative braking features. Always charge your vehicle before you drop to 0%, as cold temperatures typically decrease vehicle range. Furthermore, many EVs require a low amount of energy to run car software during sleep mode. It’s also recommended that you “precondition” your electric car battery on those cold winter mornings while you’re still plugged into a charger. Because electric cars are zero emission vehicles, you can heat your car in your garage without worrying about carbon monoxide. Heat your lithium battery to its optimal internal temperature, while warming up your car to a comfortable temperature!

Ultimately, the way you drive an electric car in rain and snow is not too different from a gas car. It can even be safer and more convenient! For more information on installing charging stations at your place of business, please contact SemaConnect today.