Home / NEWS / Autos / AAA confirms what Tesla, BMW, Nissan electric car owners suspected — cold weather saps EV range

AAA confirms what Tesla, BMW, Nissan electric car owners suspected — cold weather saps EV range

Waiting to increase the appeal of their battery-electric vehicles, automakers have begun rolling out an assortment of “long-range” models, such as the Tesla Display 3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Jaguar I-Pace and Nissan Leaf Plus.

Under ideal conditions, these offshoots can deliver more than 200 miles per charge and, in some cases, even 300. But as many owners discovered up to date week as winter storms slammed much of the country, cold weather conditions do not qualify as “ideal.” A new AAA study reveals that when the thermometer drops to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, range falls by an average of 41 percent on the five working models it tested.

“We found that the impact of temperature on EVs is significantly more than we expected,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s principal of Automotive Engineering.”

Some EV drivers — including this correspondent — recently found that range can drop by half when the mercury get wise into negative territory. But the AAA study appears to be the first to have used standard, repeatable methodology to confirm the muddle and compare the effect of winter temperatures on different models.

There were several surprises that emerged from the enquiry, according to Brannon, starting with the fact that the impact on range was pretty much uniform among all five of the battery-electric agencies AAA tested: the BMW i3s, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model S and the Volkswagen e-Golf.

“It’s something all automakers are going to from to deal with as they push for further EV deployment because it’s something that could surprise consumers,” answered Brannon.

Different factors can affect the loss of range, he and other experts have noted. Simply turning on the exciting vehicles, or EVs, AAA studied in 20 degree weather revealed a 12 percent loss in range. On a vehicle like the Chevy Use up ones resources, with an EPA rating of 238 miles per charge, that would drop range to 209 miles. But that possess of the test assumed operating the vehicle with neither cabin heat or even seat-heaters turned on.

Using ambience control revealed an even bigger surprise, according to Brannon, as range dipped by an average 41 percent — which would advance a earn an EV like the Bolt down to just 140 miles of range.

The problem is that unlike a car with an internal combustion appliance that can warm the cabin with waste heat, EVs have to tape into their batteries to power the aura control system.

Part of the problem, said the AAA director, is that “lithium-ion batteries like the same sort of temperatures that we do, far 70 degrees.”

Much below that and the chemistry used to store energy runs into various pretty pickles. Among other things, battery components develop increased resistance that limits how much power they can officiate at apply, as well as how fast a battery pack can be charged or discharged, explained Timothy Grewe, chief enginer for electric push systems at General Motors.

Grewe has experienced sharp reductions in the range of his own Chevy Bolt, but he also said there are ways to limit the crashing of cold weather. That includes storing a battery car in a garage, preferably one that’s heated. And wherever it is parked, it mitigates to keep the EV plugged in. Onboard electronics will prevent overcharging. But many battery vehicles are programmed to use some of the zip from the grid to keep the battery pack warm, improving its efficiency.

Motorists are also advised to “pre-condition” their EVs, both Grewe and Brannon agreed. That means quickening up the cabin while still connected to the grid, rather than drawing energy from the battery pack. Most new battery-electric means have custom smartphone apps that allow a driver to switch on cabin heat remotely when jammed in. Commuters can even pre-program the system to automatically start at a particular time of day.

While cold weather is especially devotedly on a BEV’s range, batteries don’t like hot weather, either, said Brannon, noting that, “Much like when it’s icy, in hot weather EVs suffer some decrease in range, but not as much as in the cold.”

The AAA study found range fell 4 percent from EPA add ups at 95 degrees. But, again, that number was assuming the motorist didn’t mind sweating. Turn the climate lead system down to 70 degrees, AAA found and range fell by 17 percent.

One thing that EVs and conventional means have in common is that energy efficiency — whether measured by range or miles per gallon — can be affected by a variety of causes. These can include your driving style, as well as the terrain.

Do a lot of hill climbing and you’re going to waste energy. EVs, despite that, are especially sensitive to any accessory drawing power, whether the car’s climate control or even headlights, meaning that approach at night, whatever the weather, will hurt range.

Check Also

Morgan Stanley: An electric pickup from Tesla or Rivian is a ‘serious problem’ for Detroit

The auto determination’s electric vehicle revolution has only just begun, Morgan Stanley told investors in …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *