How far can you drive in minus 20 degrees? And how hot does the temperature have to be before it actually prolongs your EV’s estimated driving range? Explore how the weather affects your EV’s driving range right here.
EVs’ driving range is one of the most discussed subjects for people thinking about buying an EV. And with good reason. It is a fundamentally different way of transportation and you wouldn’t want to end up buying a car that can’t get you to work without having to stop and charge on the way. But even if you do your homework and read up on potential EV’s estimated driving range, many other factors still play a role in deciding how many miles an EV can actually cover without having to stop and recharge.
The temperature affects the range
You’re more likely to turn up the heat if you’re driving around when the weather is cold, while a hot summer day nudges you to turn on the air conditioning. Both actions have a tremendous impact on your EV’s battery capacity.
Geotab, which is an analytics company, has investigated 5.2 million rides driven by 42000 EVs split between 102 different brands and models. The research shows that:
- Temperature has to a large extend the same effect on EVs’ driving range across different brands and models.
- Cold and hot temperatures both have a negative impact on EV’s driving range. Cold weather is the worst.
- 21.5 celsius is the optimal temperature for EVs when it comes to driving range.
Below, you can see how different kinds of weather affect your EV’s driving range. “Rated range” is the car’s estimated range from the manufacturer.
Why your EV is affected by temperature
It’s highly likely that your EV’s battery consists of lithium, which is sensitive to extreme temperatures. The colder the weather, the thicker the electrolyte fluent will be in the battery making it difficult to retain energy as well as passing it through the system.
Your battery’s ability to perform in hot and cold temperatures, however, isn’t the biggest sinner of them all. The biggest sinner is your car’s heating system. EVs are designed to heat or cool off the battery in order for the battery to perform at its best. And because the optimal temperature for most batteries is between 15 and 30 degrees celsius, part of the energy is used to cover this need.
The car’s heating system is also a factor when it comes to air conditioning. If you’re driving around in minus 20 degrees you will likely turn up the heat, while a hot summer day makes you crave colder air in the cabin. Whether it’s the former or the latter the result is the same: the energy is used to control air temperature in the car and not to move the car.
21,5 degrees is the optimal temperature
On average, 21.5 degree celsius is the most optimal temperature when it comes to your EV’s driving range. It actually prolongs it. At 21.5 degrees, the car’s temperature system isn’t active and, therefore, energy is used to move the car.
Tips to prolong your EV’s driving range
If you want to prolong your EV’s driving range under all types of weather conditions, here are two tricks that will help you get a few extra miles on the road:
- Turn on the seat and steering wheel heater instead of the normal heating system. The seat and steering wheel heater uses only 75 Watts of power compared to the heating system’s 3000-5000 Watts.
- Preheat the car before you hit the road. When turning on the car’s heating system while it’s still plugged into your charge point, the car uses less energy from the battery.