When you consider investing in an Electric Vehicle (EV), the first thing that comes to your mind is the range of the vehicle. Since the number of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in some areas is limited, most customers are concerned about how long they will be able to travel on one full charge.
At this point, it is imperative to understand that the officially listed range for the vehicle is nothing more than a guideline. The published range is based on standardized tests. However, there are many other factors that affect how long an EV can go without needing to be charged.
By far, the most concerning EV range-killer is cold weather. Since electric vehicles started to gain popularity and traction, one of the most common concerns and questions was, “how well will they perform in the winter”?
In this blog, we have discussed how cold temperatures can affect EVs, why cold temperatures have an adverse effect on the range, and what can be done to minimize the issue.
The Effects Of Cold Weather On EV Range Efficiency
Geotab recently conducted a study in which their team anonymized data from 5.2 million trips performed by 4200 EVs representing 102 different models. According to the study, both summer and winter conditions affected the range of the vehicles, however, the effect of winter weather conditions were more significant.
21° C is considered as the vehicle trip efficiency sweet spot. At this temperature, most EVs top the officially published range. However, as the temperature decreases or increases, there is a visible effect on the EVs range. At -15° C, the range of an EV can drop significantly. This all depends on the make and model of your electric vehicle. Some electric vehicles have been noted to lose as much as 30-40% of their range due to extreme cold temperatures.
Geotab has also created this online tool to help you find out how the range of your EV will be affected as the temperature increases or decreases.
Another study conducted by the INL details that their researchers found charging times increased significantly when the weather got cold. When a battery is charged at 25° C, a DC Fast Charger might charge the battery to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes. But at 0° C, the battery’s state of charge would be charged to 44 percent after the same amount of time.
What Causes The Reduction Of Range In The Winter?
Many factors play an important role when it comes to determining the range of an EV. However, in winter, the two factors that are most significant are:
Use Of Heating System
One of the primary reasons the day-to-day range of an EV is affected is because of auxiliary heating and cooling. Keeping the inside temperature of the car comfortable during the winter drains its battery faster. The battery in the car has to heat up the car and keep the electric motor running at the same time. Although this issue can be tackled by purchasing a vehicle with a longer range battery, this affects the weight, structure, and design of the car. Hence, manufacturers have to strike a balance between the structure of the car and the size of the battery. EVs with air source heat pumps substantially reduce the heating energy requirements.
Affect On Lithium-Ion Batteries
In addition to auxiliary heating, another factor that impacts the range of EVs is the effect of cold weather on Li-Ion batteries. As the temperature lowers, the chemical and physical reactions – especially conductivity and diffusivity – are slowed down.
As a result, the batteries have increased impedance (longer charging time) and a reduced range. However, these changes in the composition of the battery are not permanent. As temperatures increase, the changes are reversed.
What Can You Do?
To prevent your EVs range from tanking in the winter, you can follow these recommendations.
Use Eco Mode
All EVs come with an Eco mode. Make sure you charge your EV’s batteries up to 100 percent and then opt for Eco mode before starting your journey. This will optimize energy consumption by regulating heating, acceleration, cruising speed, and braking. Eco-mode can help you gain up to 10% more range.
Prevent Sudden Stops And Starts
As surprising as this may sound, adopting a smoother driving style can help you conserve battery. The more you avoid sudden stops and starts, the more you will save your battery’s energy. If you have several stops to make, plan your trip beforehand. Moreover, try to take roads where you can avoid traffic.
If there is a choice, park EV in the heated spaces to keep the battery warm. That wil reduce the energy required for warming the battery, when you start the next trip.
Last but not least is regenerative braking. Despite the weather, this feature allows you to minimize the electricity consumption of your car by storing energy when braking and during periods of significant deceleration.
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