Does the weather affect EV batteries? Cold weather can effect the range of an EV battery as much as 40% as most drivers uses heaters which are a big drain on an EV battery. There are ways to save energy in bad cold weather which are discussed here.
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Some technological challenges still exist today for EV drivers. For example, increasing infrastructure, vehicle range, and battery sizes, but some of the challenges exist are also based on misconceptions.
One of those misconceptions that I want to deal with today is the fact that people have this belief that EVs are not suitable for drivers who live in climates that have to deal with winter.
Well, my brother lives in Canada and he deals with winter all the time. He Drives EVs and plug-in hybrids throughout all four seasons as part of his job, and I can tell you that that is largely a misconception because there are certain things that you can do to deal with the limitations that cold weather can have on battery electric driving.
Let’s be honest winter can have impacts on regular gasoline engines too, but in this report, I want to talk about some of those misconceptions as well as show you some tips as to how you can get rid of that misconception and enjoy electrified driving in cold weather or anywhere you want to drive.
In the wintertime it’s important to note that both battery electric plug-in hybrids and regular internal combustion engines are less efficient overall, they have different contributing factors that make them so.
Comparatively speaking an electric car is more efficient than a gasoline car because the electric motor is more efficient at turning the stored electricity into motion than an internal combustion engine would be at converting the chemical energy and gasoline into mechanical engineer which is needed to go forward.
In fact, internal combustion technology which is like a century old is still woofully inefficient, about 60% of the energy from gasoline is turned to heat while only about 20% of that is used to drive the wheels.
In wintertime that serves as an advantage for an internal combustion engine, because that wasted heat can be converted and blown into the cabin and that’s how a gasoline vehicle would heat up the car.
A battery that only loses about 10 percent of the energy and to heat has to struggle to do that since it can’t rely upon the wasted heat, so what it does is it has to manufacture heat.
The heating systems can be a big draw on the range of a car. There have been studies done that can show that the heating in the wintertime can waste as much as 40 percent of the typical range as it would have in optimal weather conditions.
What auto manufacturers are doing nowadays is to heat the vehivle using a heat pump, a heat pump is like the reverse of an air-conditioner. The challenge is when you’re taking the warmth from the air outside and bringing it in is the colder it gets the less efficient it becomes.
So how do you overcome these ideas and how do you overcome these challenges?
There are a couple of things you can do to extend the range of your vehicle in the winter
A lot of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have both heated seats and even heated steering wheels.
The first thing you could do is use the heated seats instead of the heater blower to warm up your car. Using the heated seats generally speak give you a feeling of warmth when you get into the car.
This can allow you to either lower the temperature setting for the blower unit or in some cases, you can just eliminate it. The best thing you could do to extend the range of your battery is to use the vehicle preheaters before you even get into your car and while it’s still plugged in.
In most cases, automakers have an app that you can download to your smartphone, before going out in your car you can turn on the heated seats or heater blower to heat your car while it is still connected to an AC power charging unit, as opposed to draining from the battery while you are driving.
It’s better to have your car battery warm because a battery performs better when it’s warm. A warm battery can receive the regenerative energy that comes with braking and that’s one of the ways you extend range altogether.
So by plugging it in you’re heating it without using any of the range or any of the energy stored in the battery.
Of course, you can do that with a regular ICE car but as we know to let your regular ice car sit there idling will burn gas and omit carbons, whereas with an electric car it’s just plugged into the regular AC supply.
There’s an adage when it comes to fuel-efficient driving and that is “it’s not what you drive, it’s how you drive”. And no matter what car you have, be it a V8 or an EV how you drive is going to affect your overall fuel consumption or energy use. In winter conditions with an EV that holds especially true
One of the key tricks is how you deal with the accelerator. One way to reduce fuel consumption and the amount of battery you’re going to use is how quickly you accelerate.
It makes perfect sense that the more you’re asking a vehicle to perform from a stop position, the more fuel or energy it’s going to use. With electric vehicles and in all vehicles you don’t necessarily need to be on the gas pedal or the accelerator all the time.
There are situations where you can coast, the benefit of driving an electric vehicle and coasting is that you allow the regenerative component of energy transfer to take place.
So if you’re on a downhill gradient instead of pushing on the pedal and if it’s safe to do so just let off the gas peddle and let the regenerative feature start to bring kinetic energy back into the battery.
Same thing when you’re braking, when you brake it’s far better to gradually brake as opposed to a hard brake. The more you’re pushing down on the brake pedal the more kinetic energy you can return to the battery thus extending the overall range of your car.
Another thing that’s important to mention is to dispel the myths about EV driving and cold weather climates. It’s interesting to note that the country in the world that has the highest EV usage rate per capita is Norway, and Norway is certainly a country known for its northern climate and winter conditions.
Of course, the high EV adoption rate in Norway has quite a bit to do with generous incentives that the Norwegian government has for EV drivers, but it needs to be said that you know nobody is going to buy a vehicle no matter how many incentives there are if it doesn’t meet their needs,
And Norwegians, by and large, are buying them and even in that weather condition if it meets their needs in their cold country it’s going to meet the needs of EV drivers in the USA or Canada.
There still are some technical limitations that are stopping the mass adoption of electric vehicles into mainstream society, but there are also misconceptions out there and one by one we’re trying to knock them down.
If you live in a climate that has winter conditions you can drive an EV, Norway is proven to be a perfect example of that and other northern climates are continuing to see adoption as well.
If you’re looking for more information about electric vehicles there are sites and online resources available where you can find out information about rebates and other information about new electric vehicles.
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