I'm in New England, and the latest snow/sleet/ice storm just left four inches. I did what I usually do with my two conventional gas cars: start them, move them to the street, clean off most of the snow and ice, leave them running with the heat and defrost on high while I clear the driveway, finish cleaning the cars, and replace them in the driveway. The heat from the engine really helps with getting the ice/snow off of the car. This is also helpful when there's just a little ice on the cars, although I'll leave them in the driveway while they melt.

Which brings up my question: can you do this with electric cars? Let's say I had a Bolt, Tesla or LEAF in my driveway, fully charged, but covered in ice. Could I use the heater/defroster to melt the ice off? (If useful, note whether the car would need to be plugged into a charger while this happens.)

  • From what I read on a Tesla Users board ; It is more important to warm the battery to get good efficiency , requires about 1/2 hour. For example , the regenerative braking does not work until the battery is warm. An electric is never going to have enough waste heat to melt ice off the car. Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 16:16
  • @blacksmith37 Thanks, but that's a different question. It doesn't matter whether I have a 25-mile range or a 50-mile range if I can't see through the windows. Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


Your question about being plugged into a charger is an important one. Most (all?) EVs today permit "pre-climate" control in which the vehicle remains connected to the EVSE and will run the air conditioner or heater to accomplish the desired result without draining the traction battery.

We had a pair of 200x Rav4EVs which did this, so it's not a revolutionary development. Our current fleet of 2013 Rav4EVs also provide for charging, then heating/cooling, or either one alone.

The advantage is that once the cabin is at the desired temperature, you aren't using miles to get rid of all that excess cold or heat and only maintaining comfortable conditions.

Many EVs will also have heated seats, reducing the power required to be comfortable in the winter as a warm bottom spreads throughout one's core.


Yes, defrosting works like with any vehicle - it just uses the battery instead of gas.

With the Teslas this happens automatically. If you ask it to start from the app and the outside temps are low, it'll defrost, preheat seats and steering wheel.


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