Extreme Temperatures Can Dramatically Lower EV Range, Study Says

By | March 21, 2014
Most know that electric vehicles have a limited driving range, and that this only gets worse in extremely hot or cold climates. But perhaps what we didn't know is just how severe the problem can be. An electric vehicle's driving range can drop by as much as 57 percent in extreme temperatures, according to a new study by AAA. In neutral climates of 75 degrees, the electric vehicles involved in the experiment averaged 105 miles per charge. But this decreased dramatically to 43 miles when the cars were subjected to 20 degree weather. When the temperature reached 95 degrees, EV range also dropped considerably, but not by as much. The EVs managed to get just 69 miles in these hot conditions, or 33 percent lower than average. AAA ran tests on a 2013 Nissan Leaf, 2012 Mitsubishi iMieV, and a 2014 Ford Focus Electric during December 2013 and January 2014. Following standard EPA-DOE testing procedures, AAA subjected the cars to moderate, hot, and cold climates in a city driving environment. The study was conducted with the help of the Automobile Club of Southern California Automotive Research Center. "Electric motors provide smooth operation, strong acceleration and require less maintenance than internal combustion engines,” said the Automotive Research Center (ARC) Manager and Chief Engineer Steve Mazor. “However, EV drivers need to carefully monitor range in hot and cold weather.” These fears persist despite actions the automakers have taken to reduce range loss in extreme temperatures. Both the Ford and Mitsubishi cars in the study came with active thermal management systems that provided both heat and A/C for the battery pack. But the same can't be said for the Nissan, which only had a heating unit. Complaints that the Leaf EV suffers from poor range in hot weather has led Nissan to prepare for an improved battery pack on future models. Source: AAA