Air con recharge for electric and hybrid vehicles: your questions answered

Recharging the air con on your electric or hybrid vehicle has a lot more benefits than keeping you cool in the summertime. In this guide, we’ll share the reasons why it’s important for electric and hybrid vehicle owners to keep their air con working properly all year round.

Why is air con important in electric and hybrid vehicles?

Air con for electric and hybrid vehicles is much more than a simple nice-to-have. As well as keeping you cool in your cabin, a well-maintained air con system keeps components (such as your battery) within their ideal operating temperature.

In the world of electric and hybrid vehicles, this process is known as ‘thermal management’ and is there to protect your electronic devices from overheating which, in some cases, can lead to complete system failure.

But with a fully functioning air con system, your electric or hybrid vehicle can depend on thermal management to dissipate heat away from important components and systems to control overall temperatures.

How does air con support thermal management in your electric or hybrid vehicle?

A fully functioning air con system in your electric or hybrid vehicle can:

  • cool the battery and other vital components
  • support an effective charging process
  • contribute to EV battery life

If you want to service or recharge the air con system in your electric or hybrid vehicle, get in touch with our team today. As part of our service, we’ll also recharge your battery for you.

How often should I recharge the air con system in my electric or hybrid vehicle?

How often you should recharge your air con system will depend on the amount of usage combined with recommended guidelines from your electric or hybrid vehicle manufacturer. It’s important to note, an air con system will also lose gas even if it’s not being used. This is also the case if your system experiences any leaks.

In most cases, you should recharge your air con system and replace your cabin filter every two years. Electric vehicles typically use the same type of refrigerant gas as internal combustion engine vehicles, which is R1234YF. Hybrid vehicles manufactured before 2018 may still require the traditional R134A gas.

Does air con impact the driving range of my electric or hybrid vehicle?

Compared to other components, such as your heating system which uses up to 17% of your charge, air con systems only marginally impact the driving range of your electric or hybrid vehicle.

Other components, such as demisters, heated seats and low tyre pressures, are all big players that far surpass the energy needed to run your air con system.

Can I use my air con while my electric or hybrid vehicle is charging?

As long as you’re in the vehicle, running your air con or other in-car features is perfectly safe while your vehicle is charging. A great advantage to using your air con this way is that it’s powered (if only temporarily) by the grid and doesn’t drain your battery. It may take a little longer to charge your battery, but that’s a sacrifice many drivers are willing to make for a cooler cabin.

The only component that won’t work while you’re charging is your drive chain, which prevents you from pulling away and taking the charge station with you.

How do I know when my air con needs recharging?

The air con system on your electric or hybrid vehicle may need to be recharged if you notice:

  • an increase in condensation on your windows
  • your driving range decreases
  • musty and stale smells coming from vents
  • the air con system feels like it’s blowing warm air

If you notice any of these problems with your electric or hybrid vehicle, it’s wise to get your air con system checked before damage is caused to any other components.

Do I need to change the cabin filter on my electric or hybrid vehicle?

Although electric and hybrid vehicles have far fewer filters than petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles, there is one very important filter which most manufacturers recommend you change every two years. You’ll find more guidance about replacing cabin filters in your vehicle handbook.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about air con systems for electric or hybrid vehicles, or need to book your vehicle in for a system recharge, get in touch today.