Extreme Temperatures Affect Electric Vehicle Driving Range, AAA Says

March 26, 2014 Updated Mar 26, 2014 at 2:47 PM EDT

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Extreme Temperatures Affect Electric Vehicle Driving Range, AAA Says

March 26, 2014 Updated Mar 26, 2014 at 2:47 PM EDT

(AAA news release) According to new AAA research conducted with the AAA Automotive Research Center in Southern California, electric vehicle range can be reduced by an average of 57 percent based on the temperature outside.

According to an AAA news release:

“Electric motors provide smooth operation, strong acceleration, require less maintenance than internal combustion engines, and for many motorists offer a cost effective option,” said John Nielsen, managing director, AAA Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, EV drivers need to carefully monitor driving range in hot and cold weather.”

To better understand the impact of climate on electric vehicle batteries, AAA conducted a simulation to measure the driving range of three fully-electric vehicles in cold, moderate and hot weather. Temperature made a big difference in driving range for all three EVs.

Vehicles were tested for city driving to mimic stop-and-go traffic, and to better compare with EPA ratings listed on the window sticker. The average EV battery range in AAA’s test was 105 miles at 75°F, but dropped 57 percent to 43 miles when the temperature was held steady at 20°F. Warm temperatures were less stressful on battery range, but still delivered a lower average of 69 miles per full charge at 95°F.

AAA performed testing between December 2013 and January 2014. Each vehicle completed a driving cycle for moderate, hot and cold climates following standard EPA-DOE test procedures. The vehicles were fully charged and then “driven” on a dynamometer in a climate-controlled room until the battery was fully exhausted.

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