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AAA: EV Range Falls Sharply in Extreme Weather

March 20, 2014

Illustration courtesy of AAA.
Illustration courtesy of AAA.

Electric-vehicle driving range can fall almost 60 percent in extreme cold and 33 percent in extreme heat, according to a report from the AAA Automotive Research Center.

Many of the battery-electric vehicles now offered by automakers provide a range of at least 100 miles in ideal conditions. An EV that can reach 105 miles amid a 75-degree temperature would only travel 69 miles in 95-degree heat and 43 miles in 20-degree cold.

For its study, AAA conducted a simulation to measure the driving range of three fully electric vehicles in cold, moderate, and hot weather. Vehicles were tested for city driving to mimic stop-and-go traffic to better compare with EPA ratings.

AAA performed testing between December and January. Each vehicle completed a driving cycle that followed standard EPA-DOE test procedures. The vehicles were fully charged and then driven on a dynamometer in a climate-controlled room until the battery was fully exhausted.

"Electric motors provide smooth operation, strong acceleration, require less maintenance than internal combustion engines, and for many motorists offer a cost effective option," said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering and repair. "However, EV drivers need to carefully monitor driving range in hot and cold weather."

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