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Weather and EVs: How to Enjoy Your EV All Summer Long

Posted 07/08/2021

Extreme weather can affect EV performance. Most EV drivers know that cold weather can cause range loss in electric vehicles, and that running the heater can make the loss greater. But most drivers don’t consider the effect of hot weather. Extreme temperatures of any kind can have a detrimental effect on an EV, causing range loss, body wear and tear, and premature battery replacement. According to AAA, when the outside temperature is above 95 degrees and the air conditioner is used, the EV can lose 17% of its range or more. However, there are tips you can follow to get the most of your EV this summer while protecting it from severe weather conditions. According to CNBC, “lithium-ion batteries like the same sort of temperatures that we do”, and perform best at a balmy 70 degrees. EVs lose power under 65 degrees, and lose it quickly under 50 degrees, however, temperatures in excess of 86 degrees also rob the vehicle of power. It’s no wonder EVs use 15% more power in the Upper Midwest and Southwest than on the California coast. Didn’t know heat can adversely affect EVs? Follow these simple tips to keep your car in peak performance during the hottest summer months. 1—Leave Your Car Plugged In. Even while the car is stopped and unplugged, processes are going on in an electric vehicle, and all of them sap energy. In hot weather, those processes will work harder to keep the battery cool, and could a drain car of energy overnight. According to Steer EV, leaving the car plugged in can prevent loss of power. 2—Precondition the Car. Remember to cool the person, not the car. The greatest loss of power is due to our desire for comfort. Running the heater and the air conditioner are the biggest drains on the battery. EVs with the newest technology can be pre-conditioned to be warm up or cool down before drive. Pre-cool the cabin and even take advantage of cooling seats. For those without these features, keep the air conditioning on low, open the window, and consider adding a hand-sized personal fan to your dash. Try washing your car with cold water before you drive and always park in a garage or shade at home to keep the car cooler. Making your EV a refrigerator in the summer can cost you miles of range. 2—Keep cool behind the wheel too. Sudden starts and stops are bad for any car, and particularly for EVs. Wear and tear on the vehicle increases when we drive too fast and then slam on the brakes, or make sudden movements, screech tires, or hit the gas too fast. Whether you have to skip a second cup of coffee or set your alarm five minutes earlier avoiding the speed/brake cycle adds years to your battery. 3—Take advantage of regenerative braking. Siphon a portion of energy from the brakes to the engine to potentially save up to a 100 miles of range. How? It’s as simple as taking your foot off the gas pedal, don’t brake, but let the car slow down on its own. 4-- Use Eco Mode. The Eco Mode reduces power available for all processes, including acceleration. Using it often will add years to your car’s life. 5—Watch where you park. Sometimes we’re grateful for any parking spot at busy times, but try to find one in the shade, under a tree, or the shadow of a building or sign. Your car will be scalding if it sits in the sun all day, and you will want to run the air conditioning high just to tolerate it. Sun-blocking windshield covers can also help. 6—Entertainment. The more accessories you’re using, the more power you’re losing. Keep it simple and focus on the road while driving. We all know focusing on texting, panel and touchscreen accessories, and talking on the phone, rather than driving, can be deadly. It can also drain your battery. Don’t treat an EV like your laptop. 7—Keep your vehicle charged at mid-range. Lithium batteries aren’t as efficient as they could be and need to be replaced sooner when they’re overcharged, as most people have found out with laptops and phones. It’s also true of EVs, particularly in extreme temperatures. Keep your charge below 90%, and stay within 65-80% if you can, to help the car run as efficiently as possible 8—Don’t bring everything with you. Weight is a big deal for EVs. If you know you’re going biking, skiing, or kayaking, it’s reasonable to bring necessary equipment. However, the more gear and the heavier the items in your car are, the more drag it will have, and the less efficient the battery will be. Take heavy items out of your car when they’re not necessary, and limit what you bring. While it would be rare for a battery to overheat, it’s very dangerous for EV. The EV will send every drop of energy to cooling battery before that happens. The best way to prevent problems in hot weather is to come up with ways to provide as much as extra power to the engine as possible, and that may mean doing without every creature comfort from the air conditioning on high to accessing the internet Following these simple tips can help you get the most of your EV this summer, and stop for recharging a lot less than you may be used to.

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