All-Electric Vehicles Perform Better in Cold Climates, Study Shows

A recent study conducted by Recurrent Auto reveals that electric vehicles (EVs) operated in cold and marine climates tend to retain a higher percentage of their original range compared to those used in hot climates. By analyzing data from over 12,500 Tesla vehicles in the United States, Recurrent Auto assigns a “range score” to each EV battery, indicating the range retention percentage.

The study shows that 2020 Tesla Model Ys operated in colder regions have a range score of 95, meaning they retain 95 percent of their original observed range. On the other hand, EVs subjected to hotter temperatures receive an average range score of 92. Recurrent Auto uses the observed range when the vehicles are new instead of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) range, which can be inaccurate from the beginning.

One of the reasons Tesla vehicles were chosen for the study is due to their popularity among EV owners in the United States. Additionally, Tesla’s proactive battery thermal management system, which regulates the battery temperature to a safe level whether the vehicle is plugged in or not, played a role in the selection process.

The study also finds that some EVs operated in hot climates still have range scores comparable to those in colder climates. This may be attributed to the vehicles being well-protected during heat waves. The study recommends EV owners park their vehicles in a garage or shade during hot and sunny weather. Additionally, partially charging the battery instead of fully charging it can have long-term benefits, especially for vehicles without an active thermal management system.

Contrary to range limitations in cold weather, the study shows that these losses are only temporary, with the battery’s performance returning to normal as the weather or battery temperature warms up. Previous research from Recurrent Auto indicates that EVs predominantly using DC fast charging experience similar rates of range degradation compared to those primarily using AC charging.

This study sheds light on the importance of climate and temperature conditions when it comes to EV performance. The findings can help EV owners better understand how to optimize their vehicle’s range retention and overall battery lifespan.