Traveling in electric vehicles in the summer is problematic

A car driving in the sun (Getty Creative)

Most enthusiasts know that extreme temperatures in the winter months can destroy the full range of an electric vehicle. In fact, proponents of gasoline cars often point to this quibble as the reason electric cars won’t really take off in certain parts of the country. And they may be right to some extent.

But according to experts Auto NewsExtreme heat can have similar effects.

According to a study by Seattle Analytics, ambient temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) can significantly reduce the range of an electric vehicle battery. Apparently, the group tested thousands of vehicles in different climates and noted that some lost up to 31% of autonomy when the mercury exceeded 38 degrees. Tests conducted at less extreme temperatures of 32°C / 90°F reported a loss of autonomy of approximately 5%.

The reason, as always, is current battery chemistry technology. A technical director at the University of Michigan explained to Automotive News that triple-digit temperatures can cause the so-called “negative emission layer” on the battery’s anode to rupture, causing the liquid electrolyte in the unit to be consumed. It’s also known that the operation of an electric vehicle’s ventilation systems (whether for heating or cooling) can affect range, as some of the energy from the battery is funneled into the cabin comfort rather than propulsion. The energy has to come from somewhere.

Third less autonomy

The article’s author recounts how he spent a week traveling across the southwestern United States, experiencing first-hand how heat of up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) with single-digit humidity could affect the performance of a car, gasoline. The economy was nothing short of impressive, thanks to the constant running of the air conditioners, not to mention the machine’s cooling fans routinely blasting louder. What happened to autonomy? It was reduced by about a third, the study says.

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As annoying as the massive gas mileage rate was, at least it was easy (and quick) to refuel and hit the road. The same can’t be said – yet – of electric cars, though that doesn’t seem to have stopped sales of Tesla, a brand that never stops breaking records.

The good news is that this research shows that the scale of range depletion is more logarithmic than linear, which means that healthy temperatures close to 30°C don’t cause batteries to reach outrageous levels. Advances in the development of solid-state batteries, such as those developed by Toyota, will also help, as it is generally accepted that some solid electrolytes are less sensitive to sudden changes in temperature than liquid ones.

Still, it’s food for thought, especially since meteorologists point out that our planet set a global average temperature record last month. With each passing year, electric cars experience worse times because of the heat.

More news that may interest you:

on video | Nissan introduces its new electric convertible. Future Max-Out

Myrtle Frost

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