Cruise Time: Extreme temperatures affect electric vehicle driving range - The Reflector: News


Cruise Time: Extreme temperatures affect electric vehicle driving range

Study shows range can be nearly 60 percent lower in extreme cold and 33 percent lower in extreme heat

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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:00 am

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are energy efficient and environmentally-friendly with the added benefit of reducing fuel costs for motorists. But, just as motorists need to know how far the gas in their tank will take them, EV drivers need to be aware of how far their vehicle can travel on a single charge.

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.

“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 degrees, but dropped 57 percent to 43 miles when the temperature was held steady at 20 degrees. Warm temperatures were less stressful on battery range, but still delivered a lower average of 69 miles per full charge at 95 degrees.

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.

AAA has initiated several projects including mobile recharging units and EV charging stations to support members who drive electric vehicles. EVs provide owners with many benefits, but every motorist needs to be aware of conditions that can impact vehicle driving range. EV drivers need to plan carefully in hot and cold weather. Mapping tools such as the AAA TripTik® Travel Planner pinpoint charging stations to keep motorists on the go.

Additional information regarding AAA’s electric vehicle testing is available on the AAA NewsRoom.

AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904.  The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its 1,075,000 members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s stores in Washington and northern Idaho, at, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.

© 2015 The Reflector. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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