There’s no doubt electric cars lose range in cold temps. According to Recurrent, some can lose up to 35 percent of their estimated range in freezing weather. However, there are many factors involved, and every vehicle is different.
No matter which EV you chose, it’s going to have fewer miles of range in the winter than in warmer seasons. If you live in an area that experiences cold weather often, you may want to choose your EV wisely. Not only would it be smart to get an electric car with the most range you can afford, but also one that seems to lose less range in cold temps. That said, if you just use your EV for short trips around town, it won’t likely make much difference.
Recurrent points out that even though you’ll notice a loss of range in cold weather, you shouldn’t be concerned about the condition of your EV’s battery. The battery itself isn’t failing, it’s just not able to charge as quickly or produce as much range for a few reasons. Recurrent’s recent study provides a brief summary of why EVs lose range in cold weather:
“Winter range loss occurs for a few reasons. We cover them in detail in our hot and cold temperature article but the two main contributing factors are chemical and mechanical.
Chemical and physical reactions in the battery occur more slowly in cold temperatures. This reduces the EVs power. Cold temperatures inhibit chemical reactions and act as resistance that slows down the physical processes.”
The article goes on to explain that while electric vehicles produce their own heat, gas cars use the excess heat created by the internal combustion engine. All that wasted heat also reminds us of how inefficient a gas car is compared to an EV, but it does help warm the car. For an EV to warm a car’s interior, there actually needs to be a power source, which pulls energy from the battery, resulting in fewer miles of range.
With all of that said, Recurrent’s new study for 2022 highlights real-world cold-weather and winter-driving data from 7,000 vehicles and tens of thousands of various data points within its community. The new study included all Tesla’s models, the Nissan LEAF, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Volkwagen ID.4.
Based on details from the study, Recurrent put together the following chart showing range loss in 14 popular EVs. The chart shows the range at 70°F versus freezing temps.
Recurrent writes that it recently updated the winter range for many vehicles since it has now verified many more models’ cold-weather range with real-world data. While this chart gives you a solid idea of what to expect, always keep in mind that real-world EV range is impacted by many factors, and may not match up with the data in the chart.
How does your EV handle winter? Do you use snow tires? What is your average range this time of year compared to the warmer months? Start a conversation in our comment section below.
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