Left Out in the Cold: Electric Vehicle Batteries Lose Significant Range in Freezing Temps

Left Out in the Cold: Electric Vehicle Batteries Lose Significant Range in Freezing Temps

March 9, 2022

Last week during his State of the Union Address, President Bident reiterated his administration’s push to promote electric vehicles. “We’ll build a national network of 500,000 electric-vehicle charging stations,” said the president. But Americans who drive electric vehicles face an even bigger problem than finding a place to charge their cars: winter.

Axios reports that electric vehicle batteries lose significant range in colder temperatures. Some brands of electric vehicles lost nearly a third of their range in temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The colder temperatures slow down the chemical reactions in the battery and using the heater can burn even more power. Winter weather will require drivers to make unplanned stops for extra charging on trips. Axios writes:

“In January, Margaret and her husband took their first road trip in their new Mustang Mach-E from Washington, D.C., to a cabin near Wardensville, West Virginia, roughly 110 miles away. Their car has an EPA range of 300 miles, but in the chilly weather the estimate before they left home was only about 200 miles, so they had to build in a stop for recharging.”

Margaret and her husband are not alone. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “Over 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions, which receive more than five inches (or 13 cm) average snowfall annually. Nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in these snowy regions.” That’s a real problem for a lot of electric vehicle drivers.

Axios writes that these findings are consistent with research from other cold regions around the globe:

“In Norway — where half of all new cars are plug-ins — tests show that EVs lose about 20% of their driving range and take longer to charge in cold temperatures, according to the Norwegian Automobile Federation. AAA found the loss in driving range could be as high as 41% with the heater on full blast.”

As the White House wages a war on domestic oil production, it’s doing everything it can to push people to buy electric vehicles. Americans should have the freedom to choose what kind of car they purchase, whether it be gas-powered or electric. But drivers who choose electric vehicles should know that their battery might leave them out in the cold.