How does the cold affect electric cars?

Although this type of vehicle stands out from thermals, as they take advantage of all the energy stored in its battery; in return they lose their effectiveness with extreme temperatures.

THE electric car continue to gain ground in Chile. A growing supply and growing demand confirm this. According to figures from Anac, the sale of this type of vehicle increased by 40.5% in the first half of this year , reaching 777 units sold. Check out the latest numbers here.

Therefore, its technology and operation are attracting growing interest among the Chilean consumer, raising a series of questions in this regard. Among them, how much does it cost to charge an electric car? Is it cheaper to do it at home or at an electrical terminal? Why are these vehicles so much cheaper to maintain than a gas-powered vehicle?

Thinking about it, precisely, today we echo the low temperatures typical of this time of year, to ask ourselves now How does the cold affect electric cars? Below is the answer.

Well, batteries don’t like the cold. And everyone can see it, when battery-powered devices – like a smartphone or tablet, for example – are exposed to low temperatures, they lose efficiency and consume their energy charge faster.

The same thing happens with electric cars, since almost all of them are equipped with lithium ion batteries which must be at a temperature of above zero degrees centigrade to work well. If the temperature is lower, the electrolyte liquid inside the battery cells moves more slowly and the battery loses its efficiency.

According to Juan Barichevich, director of Mechanics and Electromobility INACAP, “the cold directly affects the autonomy of electric vehicles. Although they are prepared to withstand extreme temperatures, The batteries have an operating range that could be considered optimal between 15° and 35° temperature.

“Similarly, you have to consider that in winter, in addition to having the heating on, if it rains, you will also have the windscreen wipers and the anti-fog function of the rear window working, all these systems consume energy, which is directly related to autonomy “, he adds.

Under study

In 2020, the Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF, for its acronym in English), a country where the electric car is very popular, conducted an experiment to verify the percentage of autonomy that this type of vehicle lost due to the cold.

The test was carried out with 20 purely battery-powered models, which were driven in town and on the highway at speeds between 60 and 110 km/h, and at temperatures ranging between -6ºC and 3ºC.

The main conclusion was that the range of cars has decreased by an average of 18.5% compared to the values ​​approved by the manufacturers in the WLTP cycle.

Now, taking as an example the models of You’re here In the study, the Model X was seen to lose 17.24% of range, while the Model S lost 22.98% and the Model 3 28%.

The reason the Tesla Model 3 lost more range is because it was a 2019 model that lack of heat pump for heating , unlike the 2021 model, which already includes it and reduces energy consumption. In addition, today it also has a larger capacity battery, with 82kWh .

Not only autonomy

The loss of battery efficiency is not the only setback that the electric car can suffer due to low temperatures. And it is that when the cold is intense, the charge of the batteries is also generally less, Thus, the vehicle can be affected by the rate at which the power is flowing.

Likewise, excessive heat can cause charging to slow down. The electrical charging process generates heat. And if the ambient temperature is already high, the car’s systems can limit the power it receives to prevent overheating.

Thus, in winter, it is advisable to take some precautions when recharging an electric car…

The first is to never let the battery drops by 20% of its capacity. You will need this energy to be able to warm up comfortably at start.

It is also advisable that, if we have connected the car to the network to recharge it, the process ends no later than one hour before departure, since the heat generated during the transfer of energy will make it possible to start the vehicle more easily and without consuming as much electricity.

Finally, once running and for the sake of saving energy, it is better to fight against the cold in the passenger compartment, use heated seats than heating, a system which in electricity consumes a lot of energy.

Source: Latercera

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