Recent research from AAA has found that extreme temperatures can have a drastic effect on the driving ranges of electric cars. The research reveals that when temperatures reached 20 degrees Fahrenheit, driving range was reduced by 12 percent. When temperatures rose to 95 degrees, there was a 4-percent decrease in electric vehicle range.
The effects were more significant when the cars’ heating and cooling systems were in use. In cold temperatures with the heat running, driving ranges decreased by 41 percent. When factors were reversed (high outside temperatures, air conditioning in use) driving range decreased by 17 percent.
“The research clearly shows that electric vehicles thrive in more moderate climates, except the reality is most Americans live in an area where temperature fluctuates,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automotive Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “Automakers are continually making advances to improve range, but with this information, drivers will be more aware of the impacts varying weather conditions can have on their electric vehicles.”
AAA urges electric vehicle owners to be aware of a reduction in range and the need to charge more often to minimize the chance of being stranded by a dead battery. Drivers should also make time to pre-heat or cool down the inside of their vehicles while still connected to the charger. This will reduce the power demand on the car battery. Owners should also park in a garage, if possible, to stabilize cabin temperature.
“The appeal of electric vehicles continues to grow since a greater variety of designs and options with increased range have come onto the market,” said Greg Brannon, director of automotive engineering and industry relations at AAA. “As long as drivers understand that there are limitations when operating electric vehicles in more extreme climates, they are less likely to be caught off guard by an unexpected drop in driving range.”
Motorists can find charging stations along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA Roadside Assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/Mobile.