How will extreme heat impact my electric vehicle?
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and first explain how heat can impact your electric vehicle:
High temperatures can decrease your EV’s range (how far your electric vehicle can travel on a single charge). How? Because as your battery tries to keep itself cool, it eats up more energy. In turn, you won’t travel as far as your EV usually does after a full charging session. If you then add in the use of other gadgets and features that help keep the temperature down (like blasting your air-conditioning), your usual range will decrease even further.
The life source of your electric vehicle is its lithium-ion battery, and when exposed to higher temperatures, it’s at risk of overheating. If your battery gets too hot, it can affect the cells’ chemistry, encouraging premature battery degradation (where your EV will lose some of its charging capacity).
When explaining how to manage your electric vehicle in hot weather, and with the previous effects in mind, it’s best to split our tips into two categories – maintaining range and protecting your EV’s battery.
How to maintain your electric vehicle’s range in summer:
1.Remote Cool Your EV Interior
Some cars allow you to remotely cool your car. But why would you want to do this? In extreme heat (above 95°F or 35°C) and if your car is already plugged in, if you activate and pre-cool the cabin, you will do two things:
You’ll create a comfortably cool environment from the moment you get in the car. And,
You’ll lessen the load on the battery to run the air conditioning system. As the cabin will already be cool, your car will be more efficient to drive in the hot weather.
Remote cooling is a type of ‘preconditioning’ but that term more accurately describes preparing the battery to accept charge under optimal conditions, when you are experiencing extremely cold conditions. You don’t need to precondition in hot temperatures.
2.Use Eco Mode
Your car has an inbuilt way to cut back on energy use. It’s called Eco-Mode and it’s your car’s intelligent way to optimize battery use, automatically. But it does require driver input. Further efficiency will come from using regen braking and using smart driving skills (see above).
Electric vehicle batteries are heavy, so when coupled with excess luggage, more energy will be used to transport the additional weight. With this in mind, we recommend packing light during summer drives to best preserve your range.
How to look after your battery in summer:
4.Park your EV in the shade
As well as avoiding charging in extreme heat, keeping your EV out of 40 degrees heat generally will help extend the lifespan of your battery. Park your car in a garage, covered car park or find a shaded spot under some trees. Relaxing in a leafy spot and finding somewhere nice to have lunch is a good way to enjoy every moment of your trip.
5.Charge before you go
Take advantage of your regular charging method before you set off as this will be the final time that you’re in control of the pricing and rate of charge. Plus setting off with a nearly full battery (c.80%) will give you a significant number of miles before you’ll need to top up for the first time. If you have a longer-range EV, such as the Volkswagen ID Buzz Pro then you’ll be able to drive 100 miles with still 50% battery remaining.
6.Don’t charge quickly when it’s hot
Under normal circumstances, frequent fast charging of electric vehicle batteries is a bad thing in itself. According to a study by Tsinghua University in China, the temperature rise caused by higher currents accelerates battery degradation.
The same applies to overloading batteries at high temperatures. The choice of fast charging, combined with high temperatures due to weather conditions, can cause EV batteries to overheat unnecessarily. It is recommended to use slow charging.
7.Don’t charge immediately after driving
Your electric vehicle battery will be hot from the previous drive, so it’s best to avoid charging it straight away (especially if your charger is in direct sunlight!). The best time to charge your electric vehicle is overnight or early morning when the temperature drops. Plus, charging will be cheaper since you aren’t topping up during peak times!
8.Keep your EV plugged in to charge at home
Most EVs benefit from thermal management systems, so if your electric vehicle is plugged in to charge, it will regulate your battery’s temperature without draining it. Moreover, keeping your charger plugged in at home helps with the preconditioning feature, as even though you have set your EV to cool, your charge won’t decrease due to the constant flow of electricity from the supply. Although, it might be wise to set your electric vehicle to stop charging once it gets to 80% to support battery health. But don’t fret; your electric car won’t overcharge if left.