Extreme weather can have an impact on the functioning of an electric vehicle’s battery, thereby reducing its range and charging time. Yet why? The chemistry of an electric car’s battery pack, your driving habits, and other elements determine the response.

HOW AN ELECTRIC CAR’S BATTERY IS AFFECTED BY EXTREME WEATHER

according to AAA (Opens in a new window) can reduce EV range because it is commonly seen as being below 20 degrees or above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The range will return to normal as the temperature rises or falls, but according to Recurrent notes (Opens in a new window) , “at high temperatures, ‘battery’ processes happen more quickly and its protective structure can disintegrate.”

To control their temperature, most EVs are equipped with heating and cooling systems. The dashboard range frequently does not reflect temperature effects since Tesla, in instance, “controls these effects very tightly and often does not make them visible to the driver,” according to Recurrent.

WHY DOES ELECTRIC CAR RANGE DECREASE IN COLD WEATHER?

Recurrent notes (Opens in a new window) . The projected range of your car after a full charge should revert to normal when the ice melts and the temperature rises. This graph illustrates how different EV models respond to temperature drops, thus your Tesla Model 3 may manage a Minnesota winter differently than a BMW i3.

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When it comes to Li-ion batteries, too much heat might be dangerous. Heat quickens the battery’s typical chemical processes, making them last longer than they otherwise would with use and normal aging. A battery’s case may shatter if there is an excessive buildup of gas due to overheating. A battery can catch fire or explode in severe circumstances, however EV batteries use liquid coolant systems to prevent their battery packs from overheating. Therefore, even if it might not be an immediate issue (your EV won’t blow up after one particularly hot day), it’s still a good idea to take all reasonable precautions to lessen the impact of severe heat on your car’s battery.

Many electric vehicles include onboard battery management systems as standard equipment, which keep tabs on the battery’s temperature and overall condition. To maintain consistent temperatures, these systems will automatically activate built-in cooling or heating systems. However, there are a few techniques to maintain your battery’s functionality.

When it’s possible, top off during the day, for example, if you’re parked next to a business with a charging station. A decent rule of thumb is to always keep the battery between 20% and 80% of its capacity. When it’s cold outside, quick charging is throttled in order to safeguard the battery.

Find shaded parking spaces in hot weather, including those beneath trees or in well-ventilated garages. Use a less powered charger or wait until the car has cooled off before plugging it in for charging.

Before starting your car in chilly weather, warm up the interior and the battery.

Prior to severe weather arriving, be aware of how your range will be affected. To estimate your mileage, check the manufacturer’s range and online sources like the Electric Vehicle Database (Opens in a new window) , then take some battery loss into account while planning your journey.

Nevertheless, even when their range is decreased by cold or hot weather, the majority of EV drivers won’t be left stranded. You can easily drive from point A to point B in an electric car as long as you have a plan, take precautions to keep the battery at a healthy temperature, and are aware of the locations of nearby charging stations.

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