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Squeezing More Mileage Out of Electric Cars

EV Battery Tips to Drive Longer

To help drivers learn more about electric vehicle driving range limitations, AAA conducted research to determine if hot and cold temperatures and the use of heating and A/C has any effect on range… it does, in a big way!

Weather Factors

Our research found that extreme temperatures outside, such as those often experienced in Eastern Washington, and the use of HVAC to control the temperature inside your EV, can significantly impact your range between charges. When the mercury dips to 20°F and the heater is used to warm the interior, the average EV driving range decreases by 41 percent!

On the flip side, when the mercury headed up to 95°F and the A/C was used to cool the interior, the EV battery only experienced a 17% decrease in range.

When HVAC was not used at these temperatures, there was only a 12% decrease in driving range at 20°F, and a 4% decrease at 95°F.

Why does cold drastically impact EV batteries? According to our partner Recurrent Auto, cold weather slows the chemical and physical reactions that make batteries work, specifically conductivity and diffusivity. Read on for details on the impact of heat and cold temperatures on lithium ion batteries.

Squeezing More Power

To squeeze out more driving range during extreme temperatures, AAA recommends:

  • Before hitting the road, heat up or cool down the inside of the vehicle while it is still connected to the charger. This will reduce the demand on the vehicle’s battery to achieve the proper cabin temperature.
  • Reduce, but don’t avoid using your HVAC systems.
  • Avoid parking it unplugged in extreme heat. EVs’ automated temperature control system will use your battery to keep temperatures down.
  • Plan ahead to get farther. When you’re aware of the weather conditions before heading out, especially on a longer trip, you can more easily plan for more frequent charging stops.

The charging infrastructure for electric vehicles continues to grow with the number of charging stations across the United States numbering more than 44,000 according to the US Department of Energy. Drivers can access charging locations through a variety of mobile apps.

Find More Information

For more detailed information about most EV car models’ driving range and how they compare to other EVs, visit AAA’s Car Guide.

Automakers are continuing to make advancements in EV driving range, but being an informed EV owner is your best defense for running out of juice.

For complete study results, and more AAA automotive research, visit AAA’s Exchange website.

– Written by Jennifer Cook

AAA Washington Insurance Agency is here to help. If you are looking to review your car insurance or simply have questions, call (877) 222-4678 for a free, no-obligation consultation. You also can find an agent near you, or request a quote online.

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