How Will Your Electric Vehicle React to Extreme Weather?

BATTERYpack
BATTERYpack

While there have been many discussions and arguments with regards to the pros and cons of electric vehicles, there is no doubt that they are here to stay and the technology associated with these vehicles is improving day by day. One subject that has not necessarily been reviewed as much as you might have expected, is whether electric vehicles are susceptible to performance changes in extreme weather conditions. So, how will your electric vehicle react to extreme weather conditions?

Hot and cold

While some of the media coverage with regards to performance changes during extreme weather conditions in electric vehicles is alarming, we must also bear in mind that these issues are often prevalent in traditional fuel vehicles. However, it is perhaps the fact that electric vehicles have a relatively short journey capacity at this moment in time and therefore any significant change in performance will result in fewer miles per charge.

Nissan has been commenting upon the Nissan Leaf and the fact that in perfect conditions it can travel up to 138 miles per full charge, although this could in extreme circumstances of cold and "stop start traffic", fall to just over 62 miles per full charge. This is obviously a major impact upon the performance of the vehicle but we cannot highlight enough the fact that this is possibly the extreme of the extreme conditions you might encounter.

Challenging extreme weather conditions

This is perhaps an area where hybrid vehicles come into their own because in the event that the electric battery charge falls short of optimum performance the gasoline/petrol powered system will kick into place and recharge the batteries. However, the likes of Nissan have also suggested that in line with traditional fuel vehicles you should always warm up your electric car on cold days and ensure it is as cool as possible on hot days.

You could then argue that any warm up period will impact yet further on the capacity of the cars batteries although the fact that you can "start and warm up" your vehicle using a mobile phone app, is very useful. It is also worth noting that you can actually warm up your vehicle while it is still plugged into your home charger and the power from this system will be used directly to warm the vehicle until it is taken off the charging device.

Performance impact

As we touched on above, it is the fact that journey capacity on a full electric car charge does not yet compare with traditional fuel vehicles, therefore any impact upon performance by even just a few percent points can result in a significant reduction in miles per charge. In order to balance the argument it would be interesting to see the difference in performance of a traditional fuel powered vehicle in extreme weather conditions because we think many of you would be surprised to learn of the impact which temperature can have upon the efficiency of your car.

This impact from cold and hot weather will reduce overtime as technology improves and new battery systems are released to the market. In future, this will be something of a nonentity when looking to buy an electric vehicle but at this moment in time it is yet another dagger in the back of the electric vehicle industry where perhaps balanced arguments are few and far between.

Conclusion

It will come as no surprise to learn that your electric vehicle may well be impacted by extreme weather conditions such as you would expect from a traditional powered vehicle. When journey capacity reaches par with traditional vehicles of today, we will wonder what all the fuss was about and why so many people seemed to take a negative stance on electric vehicles.

There are still a number of issues to be resolved with regards to electric cars, battery capacity is nowhere near its optimum and this drip feed of negative comment and negative news is not helping the situation. Whether some companies criticising the electric vehicle market have ulterior motives remains to be seen but many experts believe that electric vehicles are not getting a fair crack of the whip.