More consumers are opting to purchase electric vehicles, but a common concern is how these cars will perform in extreme temperatures.
Why it matters: EVs are most popular in California, Florida and the South, all temperate and semitropical climates. But colder climates can reduce the range of the vehicles, and many potential buyers fear getting stranded, according to Blink Charging.
Details: The amount of range lost depends on many factors, like the type of car and its range in normal weather. AAA research estimated that EVs can lose 12% of their range in cold weather, and with the heater on blast, the car can lose up to 41% of its range.
- Once the temperature hits below freezing, the demands from the battery increase as heaters and window foggers are turned on, according to Consumer Reports.
- Cold weather can also slow the chemical reactions in the battery.
Some cars do better than others: In a report by Recurrent that analyzed the winter-driving range of thousands of EVs, Tesla Model Y retained most of its range in the winter, while the Chevy Bolt lost the most.
What experts are saying: Anna Stefanopoulou, director of the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, told Wired that batteries are like humans — anything below 40 or above 115 degrees Fahrenheit may reduce peak performance.
- She advised not draining the battery lower than a 20% charge in cold temperatures and when charging, take full advantage of the power supply.
- Donna Dickson, the chief engineer of the Mach-E, told Axios that starting the vehicle when its plugged in will allow the battery to warm up. “That pre-conditioning helps so much because it gets it to a temperature level that works efficiently,” he said.