Winter is coming: will the cold affect your EV driving range?
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One of the big concerns that prevents EV adoption is driving range.
And with winter on the way, the concern only grows as electric vehicles consume considerably more energy in cold conditions than they do in warmer weather.
Germany's ADAC, Europe's largest motoring association, has conducted a study showing how much more energy some EVs consume during the colder months.
It found that the VW ID.3 consumed the most energy of those it tested, using 99 percent more energy on a 23 km trip at -7°C than it did at 14°C.
Other vehicles tested, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Lexus UX300e, consumed between 46 and 59 percent more in colder temperatures.
The Fiat 500e and Renault Zoe were the most efficient in cold weather, consuming just 34 to 44 percent more energy on the short trip.
The ID.3 is less efficient on a short trip as it uses a heat pump to bring the battery up to its ideal operating temperature, between 20°C and 40°C. The system consumes a hefty amount of energy at the beginning of a journey, but once the battery is at its ideal temperature it consumes much less energy and improves efficiency. The plan is for VW to introduce a software update that improves this efficiency.
But even on longer trips, of 100 km at varying speeds, the battery performance was still affected by cold weather. It consumed 30 percent more power at 0°C than at 20°C. Both the Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208 consumed just 21 percent more power on the long-distance cold weather trip.
Electric vehicles work harder in cold weather, which means less driving range than in summer. But there are ways you can improve this.
Parking your vehicle indoors away from extremely cold temperatures can help, as can preheating the battery when it’s plugged in.
When you're in the car, using seat and steering wheel heating rather than aircon can also help to preserve energy, as those systems deliver heat more efficiently.
ADAC did find that EVs can help protect you from the elements if you're in a snowstorm or traffic jam in cold conditions, though. It found that the Renault Zoe’s 52 kWh battery was able to keep the cabin at a comfortable temperature for 17 hours.