Dispelling EV cold weather driving myths

A couple that set off on a 27,359 kilometre (17,000 mile) journey from the North to South Pole in an electric Nissan Ariya learned some valuable lessons about driving an electric vehicle.

Chris and Julie Ramsey wanted to dispel common myths around EVs, including how these types of vehicles manage in extreme cold weather. According to Select Car Leasing, which shared the couples’ story, when driving an EV year-round, consumers may notice a big difference in range compared with the rest of the year.

“The chemical reactions that take place inside a battery’s cells slow down when the mercury drops, causing charging times to increase and maximum ranges to dip,” Select Car Leasing in its news release. “An EV battery is made of lithium ‘ion.’ When it’s cold, the little ions can’t move around as fast, and your car’s range reduces accordingly.”

Consumers that feel anxious about this can manage the issue by adjusting their schedule and planning ahead.

Drivers that keep the heat on in their vehicle can also expect it to use up some of their battery’s charge, while noting a decrease in range. Since consumers can have range anxiety when shopping for an EV, dealers can advise them to preheat the cabin while the vehicle is still plugged in—rather than keeping the heat on the entire drive. The same can be said for air-conditioning.

The Renault Group estimates extreme heating or cooling can reduce the range by as much as 30 per cent, according to Select Car Leasing. Heated seats use less energy, and can be a good alternative.

As for the battery, the company said an EV cannot be charged as much as when the vehicle was purchased.

“For example, a brand new electric vehicle with an 80 kWh battery can be charged today at 100 per cent. But in five years’ time, you might only be able to charge it up to say 95 per cent. It would then in effect act like a 76 kWh battery (95 per cent of 80 kWh),” said Select Car Leasing. “This gradual loss of charge capacity means a corresponding reduction in range.”

However, they also noted that the overall effect is minimal and that EV batteries appear to be holding up well.

Consumers often have questions and concerns about EV batteries and range, and dealers can help dispel these myths by offering this information upfront.

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