AAA: Extreme Temps Hurt EV Range

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
aaa extreme temps hurt ev range

Yes, we know water is wet too, but this study from the AAA provides some interesting findings regarding how extreme temperatures affect the driving range of electric vehicles.

Apparently, the extreme temperature problem cuts both ways

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.

Anyone who has spent time in Texas in the summer knows that high temperatures are sufficient to render your phone too hot to use, and the cold is notoriously harsh on battery life for any electronic device, let alone an electric car. But how about the use of wipers, HVAC systems and other essentials for winter (and well, summer) driving, all of which requires battery power when used in an EV.

In temperate climates like Southern California, EVs will always be a viable, 365-day proposition. In cold countries like Norway, where driving distances are short, fuel is astronomically expense and taxes are high for gasoline and diesel cars, EVs can make sense. But given the drops in range when the temperatures hit either end of the scale, it’s tough to see how they can become a viable, mass-market proposition in the near future for much of the United States and Canada.

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  • Mikey Mikey on Mar 22, 2014

    Real life input from the B&B ,with their everyday EV experience's are to me information that you can't get anywhere else. My financial guy tells me to "quit buying cars for awhile" As a 60 year old I'm still in awe, at how the engineers, can get 150 CU IN engine to move an Impala around. As EV/ battery technology improves, I'm certainly not going to rule out an EV in the future.

    • Shaker Shaker on Mar 23, 2014

      The same engine moves my 2013 Malibu around well enough, but an Impala seems like a bit much (at least in hilly terrain). I was getting an oil change at the dealer the other day, and there wasn't a 4 cyl Impala on the lot, and the 7 or 8 V6's that were there started @ $34,000. That's a bit of a jump from the previous generation.

  • Mikey Mikey on Mar 23, 2014

    @ I bought an 09 Impala LTZ as part of my package, when I retired. It was great car. I had no complaints. IMHO, and many wouldn't agree, the 2014 is a whole different car. We don't have a lot of hills in southern Ont. I did drive through an area,we call the Ridges. Yup..thats when you get reminded your driving a four banger.

  • Buickman GoneFast.
  • SCE to AUX I sat in a 200 in the showroom, and promptly walked away. The back seat was extremely awkward to ingress/egress, and the car was small inside.Turns out even Sergio agreed, and he was upset about it: attractive exterior hid a terrible car. Those early 9-spd autos were awful.
  • Pianoboy57 I've always thought the 300D was just about the perfect car. Mine would have been green like my current Outback is. Once upon a time there was a Volvo diesel at the nearby BHPH lot. Too bad nobody rescued that one. I did have the privilege of owning a TDI Sportwagen and I would have kept my 02 Passat if it had been a diesel wagon. A few years ago I used to see older TDI Passats for sale on CL by owners who claim to have taken good care of them. Too bad you can't get a diesel in an Outback.
  • ToolGuy "A 920-volt electric system is rumored to enable faster charging times than any EV on sale today." If you can find a compatible charger, that is??• Differing voltage standards -- yet another way to slow down EV adoption.Engineers R Awesome™
  • SCE to AUX "without a must-have feature or selling point, the VF8 won't be top-of-mind for buyers"Yep, that's the problem with any new product, let alone an entire aspiring brand. I think they hoped the battery subscription would be a helpful distinctive, but they discovered that it was a negative instead.Perhaps they got their product launch guidance from Ford.