How Much Lower Will Your Electric Car's Range Be In Winter

in #science3 months ago

You might have noticed that batteries do not like cold. Even your phone likely lasts less time during the winter. So, how much will it affect your electric car?

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF) decided to create a large comparative test of twenty electric cars that can be bought in Norway currently. The test took place in “ideal Norwegian” weather – from -6° Celsius to +3° Celsius and mostly when it snowed.

You Average Winter Traffic

The test drive started in Oslo and ended in a city called Hafjell. If the cars choose the shortest route possible then they would drive roughly 200 kilometers. But a different route was chosen. One that in total took 482 kilometers but it would test the cars under a broader range of conditions and was supposed to – ideally – fully discharge them.

There were no special drivers behind the wheel – just your average guys who were charged with driving normally, keeping under the speed limit and just getting where they have to. The cars were in their power-saving regime, the air conditioning was set to 21° C and seat warmers were on the lowest setting.

The route itself included driving through cities, rural roads and even highways. The speed ranged – for the most part – between 60 kph and 100 kph. Part of the test was also charging the battery from roughly 10 % to 80 % which was done in -2° Celsius – to make sure the batteries were warmed up each car was driven for at least two hours before charging.

Charging Fast But 18.5 % Less Range

Without further ado – what were the results? The experts from NAF primarily focused on the difference between the range given by WLTP and the real range. The average difference of 18.5 %.

The best “ranger” was Hyundai Kona which was capable of driving 404.5 kilometers while its supposed range should have been 449 kilometers. On the other side of things was Opel Ampera-e is also known as Chevy Bolt. This car promised 423 kilometers but only managed to drive 296.9 kilometers.

In terms of charging Audi e-tron 55 Quattro was the clear winner as it got from 10 % charge to 80 % charge in just 27 minutes. Even the Tesla Model 3 did pretty well here as it took 35 minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, you could again find Opel Ampera-e together with Renault Zoe. Both of these cars have pretty large batteries but can only be charged with around 50kW.

Usable? Somewhat

An interesting thing is that the cars managed to handle at least one important aspect of the cold. Some were afraid that if the car got close to a full discharge it would just stop. Instead, the cars started with a warning to the driver, then they started shutting down some of the comfort features and later even limit the maximum speed.

And even if the car fully discharged that wasn't the end. After about 30 minutes the cars did start again and were capable of going a few more kilometers. The question is what would that do to the battery if done often though.

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