What is “preconditioning” ?

Imagine it’s a crisp Winter morning, as you gaze out of your window you see your neighbour furiously scraping the wind-screen of his or her car.  You also spot plumes of smoke exiting the exhaust as the car idles away.  Warming up the interior, they step back into the house to defrost their fingers, leaving the running car available for any opportunist thief.


I understand the idea, there’s nothing nicer, when it is freezing cold outside, than getting into your nice warm car. However, a car idling in cold weather produces more pollution than normal as the engine has work harder, it is better for the environment to drive away and let the engine warm up on the move.

The electric solution

In the world of electric cars we have solution for this problem, Pre-conditioning.

Most electric vehicles enable the owner to set interior heating to commence at a predetermined time.  As creatures of habit we tend to leave the house at the same time morning, be it to arrive at work or school on time.

BMW iRemote
BMW iRemote enables pre-conditioning and further functions

To ensure your ride is toasty warm for when usually leave the house you can either program your EV to start warming up via the settings in the car or using an app on your preferred smart phone.  This warming up process will also clear any iced windows, so no more cold hands!
More range

The batteries in an electric car perform better in warmer weather.  To overcome this some EVs will allow you to warm up their batteries too.  This will mean they will hold more energy and give you more driving range.

BMW iRemote pre-conditioning settings
BMW iRemote pre-conditioning settings

Performing your pre-conditioning whilst you are plugged into your home electricity supply adds further benefits as the batteries are not used to warm the car.

Energy is drawn from your mains electricity meaning pre-conditioning does not effect your range and in cold weather improves it.

Keep your cool

In summer time pre-conditioning can programmed to ensure you car nice and cool when you get in, yet another benefit of driving electric.

The Founder of driveEV. A driving and new technology fan enjoying learning all about the future of motoring. I drive a BMW i3.