As winter approaches, it is important to consider how cold weather affects the range of electric vehicles (EVs). While it is no secret that the range of EVs decreases in lower temperatures, the magnitude of this decrease varies among models. Battery data analytics company, Recurrent, gathered data from 10,000 EVs during the winter season of 2022-2023 to understand how freezing temperatures affected their range.
According to Recurrent’s findings, the average range observed in winter, taking into account real-world variables such as climate, terrain, and driving patterns, was 70.3% of the normal range of EVs. Cold temperatures hinder the chemical and physical reactions that release energy from the battery, leading to a lower range. Additionally, heating the cabin consumes energy from the high-voltage battery, further reducing the range.
Although EV manufacturers have implemented measures to combat range loss in cold climates, the effectiveness varies among models. Many modern EVs now come equipped with heat pumps, which recycle excess heat from the battery and motors to improve efficiency. Recurrent’s analysis reveals that the Audi E-Tron and the 2019 Nissan Leaf showed relatively minor range degradation in winter. The winter range of the E-Tron was only 16% lower than its normal range, thanks to its early adoption of a heat pump. The Leaf, especially newer models with battery heaters, experienced a 23% loss in range at 0 degrees Celsius.
It is worth noting that Teslas demonstrated impressive thermal management capabilities. The Model 3, Model Y, and Model X experienced an average range loss of 24% in winter. The introduction of a Tesla-patented heat pump in 2021, along with features like battery preconditioning, contributed to minimizing the range decrease. Recurrent analyzed a significant sample, including 4,375 Model Ys, 4,576 Model 3s, and 249 Model Xs, highlighting the reliability of the data.
While Recurrent’s analysis provides insights into specific EV models, it is always interesting to hear from EV owners themselves. If you have experienced similar or different winter performance in terms of range and charging, we encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. Understanding the impact of winter on EV range is crucial for optimizing your driving experience during the colder months.