AAA study confirms cold weather can sap electric auto ranges

  • AAA study confirms cold weather can sap electric auto ranges

AAA study confirms cold weather can sap electric auto ranges

CNBC reports that a new AAA study has found that colder temperatures are having a negative effect on electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Jaguar I-Pace and Nissan Leaf Plus.

Drivers can also improve their electric car's range by pre-heating or cooling the cabin while charging so that the climate control doesn't drain the battery as much.

That's the finding of new research by AAA Thursday, which said low temperatures can cut EV ranges by more than 40 percent.

The study of five electric vehicles by AAA also found that high temperatures can cut into battery range, but not almost as much as the cold.

HVAC use, however, "resulted in considerable reductions in driving range", AAA said, noting that an outside temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit resulted in a 41-percent decrease in driving range, while an outside temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit resulted in a 17-percent decrease.

The motor club association tested five electric vehicles, including the 2018 model year BMWi3s, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf and 2017 model year Tesla Model S75D and Volkswagen e-Golf. Turning the cars on without any climate control caused just a 12 per cent dip in driving range, while cranking up the temperature in the cabin returned the 41 per cent result mentioned earlier. Turns out, electric vehicle owners are facing the same struggle, with a study from the North American AAA revealing driving range can drop by up to 44 per cent in frigid conditions.

For example, AAA's testers determined that the Tesla's range when fully charged at 75 degrees was 239 miles, but it fell 91 miles, or 38 per cent, at 20 degrees.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Tesla disputed the findings. The company said the range dropped by roughly 1 per cent at 95 degrees, but it would not release a percentage for cold weather.

Range would take a hit mainly for short trips, and the decrease wouldn't be as large on longer trips once the battery and cabin are heated, Hughes said. 'If you want to go somewhere far in the cold, you're going to be using more power'.

AAA calculates that running the heater in the cold adds about 2.5 cents per mile in their test sample of electric cars.

The driving range of electric cars is not only impacted in cold climates, but in extremely hot environments too.

Where cars with a petrol or diesel engine can rely on the waste heat created by combustion, electric vehicles need to rely on battery power to drive the climate control.