How Electric Vehicles Get Affected in Hot and Cold Weather
When thinking of electric vehicles, many people assume the batteries get damaged sooner in heated temperatures. While that’s true, EVs are also affected by colder temperatures. Both hot and cold weather have significant effects on electric cars. They also impact the range and efficiency of EVs. Let’s discuss how hot and cold climates affect electric cars in detail.
How Does Weather Affect Electric Cars
In terms of range and performance, electric vehicles are as good as internal combustion engine-powered vehicles, thanks to the technologically advanced EV batteries. Today, electric vehicles run on some of the most sophisticated battery systems available. That said, extreme weather conditions affect electric vehicles’ battery performance, potentially limiting the EV range and impacting the battery charge time.
Much like other battery systems, the battery units inside EVs operate the best in a fixed range of temperature for maximum efficiency. Here is a compilation of significant tips to keep your EV maintained in hot weather.
Let’s go through the different effects of hot and cold temperatures or seasons on electric cars.
Electric Cars in Hot Weather
The same study conducted on cold weather impacts on EVs also discovered how high temperatures can cut into battery range. According to the study, hot weather also reduces the battery range of electric vehicles but not as much as cold temperatures. The driving range returns to normal comfortably in hot temperatures such as from 70℃ to 80℃.
Even though the heat improves battery efficiency, too much of it can degrade the overall life span and output of the battery. Temperatures above 90℃ massively affect the battery.
For Li-ion batteries used by electric vehicles, excessive heat can be harmful.
Case in point: Really hot temperatures are capable of accelerating the normal chemical reactions inside the battery. This can degrade it faster.
Moreover, excessive heat can also generate gases that may expand and blow the battery’s casing. In extreme climatic conditions such as heat waves, electric vehicle batteries may catch fire or explode. That said, EV batteries always make use of liquid coolant systems to protect the battery packs from becoming too hot.
To put it simply, your electric vehicle will not explode because of one hot day. It is still smart to stay cautious and take preventive measures to mitigate the effects of extreme heat on your electric vehicle’s battery.
For instance, when thinking of the effects of weather on electric cars, using an air conditioner in extremely hot temperatures hits the battery massively. To save on EV range in extremely hot climate conditions, try to limit the use of car air-conditioning.
Electric Cars in Cold Weather
In regions where it is extremely cold, and the temperature falls below 20℃, electric car batteries are affected majorly. According to a study, using the heater of your electric car when driving in really cold temperatures can cut the range by about 41 percent.
The reason is pretty simple. When batteries get cold, they have a lower electrical capacity, which limits the power pumping duration.
To put it simply, cold weather tends to slow the chemical and physical reactions that make batteries work. Cold temperatures impact the conductivity and diffusivity. As a result:
- The charging time increases because of increased impedance
- The range reduces temporarily because of lower capacity. This is why some cars have auxiliary batteries to support A/C and heating systems that otherwise pull charge away from the primary battery in extremely cold temperatures
Even though the reduction in EV range because of the cold temperatures is temporary, the electric car battery must always be above freezing before charging. Generally, electric vehicles have some kind of temperature regulation in the battery management system (BMS) to prevent high voltage or fast charging if the battery is too cold.
Therefore, if your electric car is turned on while plugged in, the energy drawn will keep the temperature in an optimum range. For instance, Nissan Leaf turns on a thermal regulation kick when the outside temperature is below -20℃ (-4F).
On the other hand, Tesla cars activate thermal management even if the car is turned off or not unplugged. Temperature regulation protects the electric car battery’s health, but it can also cost some range.
To save on EV range, when driving in cold weather, the less you use the car heater, the more range you will have. Setting lower heater temperatures also helps sustain the electric car battery range. Today, most electric cars come with heated seats and heated steering wheels that consume less power when compared to the car heater.
That is all about the effects of weather on EVs. Despite these effects, electric vehicles perform or even over-perform at optimum temperatures. Usually, most electric car drivers won’t be stranded even if the range is reduced by cold or hot weather.
As long as they plan ahead and take measures to keep the battery at an optimum temperature, and map out the nearby charging stations before starting the journey, they will easily get from point A to B in an electric car without trouble.
Moreover, electric car makers are thinking of different ways to enhance the range and electric car experience for users.
If you wish to buy an electric vehicle for yourself, go through this list of used cars for sale in the UAE and pick the electric car that suits you best. Here is a list of electric cars with long ranges to help you with your EV search.
Stay tuned to UAE’s top auto blog for more on electric cars, internal combustion engine-powered cars and other important information from the auto industry.