AAA: Electric Car Owners Need To Charge More Frequently In Freezing Temperatures

Tesla Disputes Study That Icy Weather Leads To 41% Drop In EVs Range

In results that are unlikely to shock the many frustrated EV owners who vented on social media during the polar vortex, Stefanopoulou's claim is backed up by the results of a new AAA study, which says that electric auto batteries lose as much as 41% of their potential driving range when the outside temperature is 20°F (and when the heater is turned on).

During the polar vortex that gripped the U.S. last week the American Automobile Association (AAA) tested five electric cars to see how they performed.

New research from AAA has shown that at temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit, combined with the use of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to heat the inside of the vehicle, the average driving range is decreased by 41 percent, AAA said on Thursday.

The study also found that cold weather has a greater impact on range than hot temperatures. The i3s also performed the worst at 95° F (35° C) as its range fell by over 20 percent.

The test examined five different electric vehicles: the 2018 BMW i3s, 2018 Chevrolet Bolt, 2018 Nissan Leaf, 2017 Tesla Model S 75D and 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf.

Since extreme temperatures affect the range of electric vehicles, drivers living in cold and hot climates can expect to recharge their EVs more often. 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. When the heater was turned on, the range dropped by 41 per cent, AAA said. This essentially means that for 100 miles of combined urban/highway driving, the range at 20 degrees Fahrenheit would be reduced to 59 miles. According to its test, the range only dropped by roughly 1 percent at 95 degrees and it would not disclose its findings for cold weather cases.

"It would easily use double the amount of power for that 15-mile trip", said Hughes, who owns four Teslas and runs a business that refurbishes and sells salvaged Tesla parts.

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.

Range would be reduced further by extreme cold in northern states, he said.

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.

AAA recommends EV owners plan well for long trips and use a mobile app to find nearby charging stations.

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