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Extreme heat affects EV battery performance

  • EVs can lose up to 20% of their range in 95 degrees or hotter
  • Study: When it gets hot, the EV battery starts to lose 15-30% efficiency
  • Why? Battery uses more energy to cool down, chemistry doesn't work as well

DALLAS (NewsNation) — With much of the country experiencing scorching heat from Arizona to Texas to Florida, those driving electric vehicles might notice that they aren’t going as far before needing to recharge.

New data revealed that electric vehicles can lose up to 20% of their range when it’s 95 degrees or hotter outside.

That means, if the vehicle normally drives 100 miles, it can only go 80 miles instead in extreme heat.

Some EV drivers said they haven’t noticed a change in the way their vehicles run, while others said they definitely can tell the difference and that they can’t go as far or take as many trips before needing to charge when it’s this hot out.

Recurrent, a website providing battery reports for electric vehicles, studied the batteries of 7,500 EVs and found that when it gets hot, the EV battery starts to lose 15-30% efficiency.

Why does the battery lose efficiency in extreme heat?

The vehicle’s battery is using up more energy to try to cool itself down. Also, the chemistry inside the battery doesn’t work as well when it’s super-hot.

“You know, you get in your car and it says 110 degrees. Imagine that with a battery underneath, you know, so it’s trying to cool itself down,” EV driver Stacey Brown said.

The Biden administration wants at least two out of every three new cars and light-duty trucks to be electric by 2032. The EPA says right now there are more than 130,000 chargers across the U.S. But there’s going to have to be a lot more if we want to see more EVs on the road.

So when it comes to investing in an electric car, some say it’s buyer beware.

“In this example, when it’s this hot, the car is still going to work for the most part. It’s just not going to work as efficiently for as long as planned. So if you didn’t know that, I think some buyers could be upset by that,” Autotrader executive editor Brian Hoover said.

Hoover said there are some weather-proof batteries in the works at companies like Toyota and Hyundai. NewsNation reached out to car makers for comment, but they did not reply or couldn’t comment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electric car sales accounted for less than 5% of all car sales in 2021. Florida, Texas and California have the most registrations.


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