Electric Car Driving Range Plunges in Extreme Temperatures

Why do electric car’s driving ranges plummet in extreme temperatures?

Most people don’t like driving—or even stepping foot outside—when it’s freezing out let alone when a polar vortex comes through. And in parts of the country where frostbite might set in within minutes, the fear of being stranded with car trouble is real. That’s especially true among electric car owners.

As it turns out, plunging temperatures go hand-in-hand with plunging driving range for electric vehicles (or EVs as they’re called). In fact, a new study found that EV driving range can drop by over 40% in “more extreme climates”. In fact, the driving range reductions occur in high temperatures though to a lesser extreme than in cold temperatures.

Because auto manufacturers are generally upfront in their manuals about the possibility of reduced driving range based on climate temperature fluctuations, a breach of warranty claim based on temperature fluctuation alone would be inappropriate. But being forewarned will not help a stranded EV driver who failed to account for the shortened driving range in extreme weather.

Why does this happen?

Unlike internal combustion engines that generate their own heat to warm up the engine and its occupants, EVs rely on their battery for everything. So, anything that draws power from EV battery—like warming a car and its occupants—will further reduce driving range. The cumulative effect of a sluggish battery that doesn’t work at its peak level due to the cold temperature, along with the added drain from heating the vehicle for occupant comfort, could leave EV drivers vulnerable to being stranded on what would otherwise be and easily doable commute in less extreme weather.

Some recommendations drivers can follow (in addition to the obvious vigilant range monitoring) include heating or cooling their cars while they are still plugged into a charging station so they don’t draw that extra energy from the battery. Also, to not let the battery get below a 20% charge since fast charging capabilities may be limited in freezing weather. Solid state batteries without such temperamental liquid inside may solve this problem but are not likely to be available for another 5 to 10 years.  The study in question tested Tesla, BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, and Volkswagen EV models under identical testing conditions.

While it may not be the case in instances of weather-related EV driving range problems, many other car system failures may present frustrated owners and lessees with breach of warranty or lemon law claims against manufacturers whose products don’t live up to expressed or implied warranties or whose cars experience repeated failures of the same part or system significantly impacting the vehicles’ use, value, or safety.

If you live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. Depending on the nature of the problem you may be entitled to a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments and taxes, or a brand-new car or a cash settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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