Why do EV's lose so much range in the cold?
All vehicle types experience some loss of efficiency and range in cold weather including Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles.
ICE vehicles will lose on average 12% of their range at -6°C (20°F) due to:
- Denser air leading to higher aerodynamic drag (majority of range loss)
- Engine and transmission friction
- Higher electrical loads
- Warm up time
- Low tire pressure
- Winter gas
Electric vehicles typically lose 22% of their range at 0°C (32°F) and up to 40% at -20°C (-4°F)
Why do EV's lose so much more range in in the cold than ICE vehicles?
There are two main differences:
- Compared to ICE vehicles our electric motors are very efficient and produce very little surplus heat that can be used to warm the cabin, and
- When our batteries are cold their capacity to store energy is reduced. A batteries advertised capacity is typically assessed at 25°C
- A study done on a common electric vehicle measured only 77% of it's rated capacity at -10°C (14°F)
In cold weather our batteries ability to supply power is reduced as it's need to supply power is increased.