The cold, hard truth about winter’s effects on EV batteries
By Consumer Reports | December 19, 2021
With a proliferation of choices covering electric vehicle styles and driving range, more Americans are considering purchasing an EV. One of the common hesitations, aside from range anxiety in general, is how an electric car will perform in extreme temperatures. But should this concern prevent a potential buyer from making the leap to an EV?
The main reasons driving range goes down in cold weather are the impact on battery chemistry when parked and the drain in order to maintain battery temperature and supply cabin heat. Cold temperatures can reduce an unplugged EV’s range by about 20 percent, according to testing by the Norwegian Automobile Federation, and recharging takes longer than in warm weather.
Running the cabin heater, seat heaters, defroster, and other accessories that combat the cold weather inside the car all sap range. For cold temperatures, what we have found is that 20° F and colder is when the range really drops. (Learn how to get the most out of your car’s heater.)