AAA Survey Reveals Cold Affects Battery

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Feb. 7, 2019—Electric car batteries are greatly affected by cold temperatures, a new by AAA study reports, according to ABC News. The study measured how five electric vehicles reacted to both high and low temperatures.

According to ABC News, the study found that high temperatures can affect battery range, but returns to normal when present in comfortable temperatures. Electric vehicle users made the cold-weather discovery during the Polar Vortex, ABC News reports, where Tesla owners complained on social media of frozen door handles and reduced battery range. 

"As long as drivers understand that there are limitations when operating electric vehicles in more extreme climates, they are less likely to be caught off guard by an unexpected drop in driving range," Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering, said in a statement to ABC News.

The survey placed the following vehicles in a climate-controlled cell on a dnyamometer: BMW i3s, Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf from the 2018 model year, and the 2017 Tesla Model S 75D and Volkswagen e-Golf, ABC News reports. 

Temperatures inside the cell ranged from 20 degrees to 95 degrees, compared to when 75 degrees, according to a report from the survey. 

AAA said to ABC News that the following about the results: "At 20 degrees, the average driving range fell by 12 percent when the car's cabin heater was not used. When the heater was turned on, the range dropped by 41 percent."

In addition, at 95 degrees, range dropped four percent without use of air conditioning, and fell by 17 percent when the cabin was cooled, according to the survey, ABC News reports. 

According to the survey, "Tesla's range when fully charged at 75 degrees was 239 miles, but it fell 91 miles, or 38 percent, at 20 degrees."

Tesla released a statement to ABC News regarding the AAA survey results, stating that "the average Model S customer doesn't experience anywhere near that decrease in range."

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