As winter weather arrives across the U.S., some electric vehicle (EV) owners realise their cars do not perform as well in frigid temperatures.
This past week in Chicago, multiple Tesla drivers found their EV batteries had died amid below-zero cold, with some charging stations also not operating properly or taking longer to charge vehicles.
The reduced driving range and longer charging times demonstrate a known issue with EVs in cold weather. Chemical reactions within the batteries slow down, and EV cabin heaters rely on battery power rather than engine heat.
Still, EV winter woes can be prevented through simple steps like preheating your car's interior before driving and keeping charge levels above 20 per cent.
Lower Temperatures Slow Chemical Reactions, Draining Charge More Quickly
Electric vehicles rely on lithium-ion batteries and chemical reactions within those batteries to generate power. But extreme cold weather slows those chemical reactions, reducing the power available to the vehicle.
Research by battery analytics firm Recurrent found that below-freezing temperatures can cut EV driving range by up to 30 per cent on popular models.
For example, an EV normally capable of 200 to 215 miles per charge may only achieve 150 to 175 miles in very cold conditions.
While such a range still suits most drivers' daily needs, some EV owners risk unexpectedly running out of charge if they drive near the limit of their car's range.
Unexpectedly losing battery power could leave drivers stranded in remote areas without cell service or forced to walk long distances in dangerous temperatures.