How the Recent Polar Vortex Affected Electric Vehicle Owners
There are numerous reasons why you may consider purchasing an electric vehicle (EV). Maybe you don’t have a far commute and could benefit from a fuel-efficient vehicle? Or perhaps, you feel it’s your obligation as a citizen of this planet to reduce your environmental impact.
Regardless of the reason you decided to drive an EV, there’s a possibility you experienced your biggest hurdle yet if you live in the parts of the U.S. that recently experienced below zero temps. In fact, during the recent Polar Vortex—which brought bitter cold weather across large portions of the U.S.—many EVs experienced a multitude of different problems, and below are just a couple of them.
Loss of Range
On a nice spring afternoon, with a fully charged battery, you’d have no problem traveling up to 250 miles in a Chevy Bolt EV. However, on a frigid morning during the Polar Vortex, many EV owners experienced a significant loss of range with their vehicles.
If you weren’t aware, the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs are most efficient around a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. But unfortunately, in cold temperatures, the internal components of a lithium battery become more resistant to a passing current and will not function as effectively.
How Can EV Drivers Combat These Issues?
Aside from living in a state that often has warmer winters (like Arizona) an EV driver can maximize the range of their vehicle during cold weather by keeping it in a warm garage (if possible.) Also, experts suggest keeping your EV plugged in and using preconditioning to warm it up before you head out on the road.
With automakers continuously looking into ways to improve their products, EV owners can still hold out hope for a new generation of batteries. In fact, some automakers are already beginning research on batteries that replace the liquid slurry inside lithium-ion cells with a solid ceramic metal. This is believed to speed up charging times, increase range distance, and handle colder temperatures better!
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