Electric Vehicles In the Cold

Do electric vehicles suffer worse performance in cold weather? The idea that they might is grounded in basic battery chemistry. At colder temperatures the chemical reactions driving the battery are slowed down and this in turn reduces the current they produce. However, with proper insulation and a battery heater the loss in performance is completely negligible. This article on EV Cold Weather Performance reports that Canada's Environmental Technology Center found only a 0.4% drop in performance after cold soaking an electric vehicle for 42 hours at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

The special insulation and heaters needed are not a weakness unique to electric cars. As the article points out, gasoline powered cars also need a laundry list of adaptations to make them able to handle winter weather. Among the necessary modifications are engine block frost plugs, block heaters, winter gasoline mixes, special winter oil and radiator antifreeze. Cold conditions are tough on all manner of animals and machines, so it is no surprise that electric vehicles need to get dressed up for the winter too! And when they are prepared, they can take the cold without giving up performance.

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