High temps’ effect on EV battery range

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A report that AAA released in March 2014 found that outdoor temperatures that are higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit can shorten the battery range of an electric vehicle (EV) by 34 percent. However, one expert tells us that it’s unlikely that such heat will reduce the battery range on your EV by that much.

John Voelcker, who is the editor of the automotive-news website Green Car Reports, says the range typically will decrease by 15 percent to 25 percent when temperatures reach 95 degrees F, particularly if the consumer relies on air conditioning to cool the interior.

To conserve an EV’s battery power during hot days, you should roll down your windows instead of using the air conditioner, which is powered through the EV’s battery, when you travel slower than 40 mph, Voelcker says. You also can air-condition your vehicle while it’s charging before you leave home. This lets you cool the cabin by drawing power from the charging station instead of your battery, Voelcker says.

AAA, which tested the 2014 Ford Focus, the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the 2013 Nissan Leaf, reported that the average EV battery range of the three tested vehicles dropped to 69 miles per charge from 105 miles per full charge when temperatures rose to 95 degrees F from 75 degrees F. (The report also found that when temperatures hit 20 degrees F, the average battery range was reduced to 43 miles per charge.)