Skip to main content (Press Enter)
Search For AAA Approved Auto Repair Facilities
The AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility Locator is a powerful search tool that gives you easy access to information on over 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America.
Search

AAA finds that icy temperatures cause drop in electric vehicle range

In recent years, electric vehicles, also known as EVs, have gained popularity as more variety in design, style and options have become available. Not only are these electric cars considered environmentally friendly, they offer other benefits such as lower-than-average ownership costs and the latest in advanced safety technology.

Despite how far electric vehicles have come in the past several years, many drivers are still hesitant to purchase one due to “range anxiety.” This is the fear of running out of power before reaching home or the next charging station. AAA Automotive Engineers say the key to overcoming this fear is to understand what factors can impact electric vehicle range. To help drivers learn more about what limitations exist, AAA conducted primary research to determine if outside air temperature as well as the use of heating and A/C has any effect on range.

How Far Do Electric Cars Go?

AAA’s study found that both hot and cold temperatures can reduce driving range. However, when the mercury dips below freezing, electric vehicle range is more dramatically affected. But, the use of HVAC to heat or cool the inside of the vehicle places additional strain on the battery and diminishes range at a higher rate – driving range for vehicles tested decreased an average of 41 percent. Should drivers turn off electric car heating and air conditioning while driving to save on battery? Absolutely not! There are other ways to preserve driving range that will not endanger the safety or disrupt the comfort of the car’s occupants.

Extend Your EV Battery Range

The best way to maximize driving range is to plan ahead. When drivers are aware of the weather conditions (i.e. changes in temperature) before heading out, especially on a longer trip they should plan for more frequent stops for charging as well as identify the location of charging stations. Charging infrastructure for electric vehicles continues to grow with the number of charging stations across the United States numbering more than 16,000. Drivers can access these locations through AAA’s Mobile app or TripTik Planner. Also, before hitting the road, AAA recommends “pre-heating” or cooling down the inside of the vehicle while still connected to the charger. This will reduce the demand on the vehicle’s battery to achieve the proper cabin temperature while driving.

“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,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations.

Plan Ahead When Driving an Electric Car

Most Americans live in regions where temperatures fluctuate during the year, however climate should not discourage someone from considering an electric vehicle for their next car. Those interested in owning an electric vehicle just have to do some additional planning when driving during more extreme conditions.

Click here to view the full AAA Electric Vehicle Range Testing report

Related Articles
See All (106)

Helping Others is the Family Business

Helping people is something Kevin’s family has done for years – through his own towing company rescuing stranded drivers and his work with this local community. So it was no surprise to Kevin when one of his drivers, Scott, went above and beyond when he witnessed a horrific accident....

Tow Providers Never Give Up

Roland, of Arrowhead Services, received a call for a vehicle stranded in very remote area. He was determined to find him no matter how long it took. He is someone’s father, husband and he wanted to be sure he made it home okay....

Keeping Cool When Things Heat Up

In the summertime, afternoon temperatures in Florida can easily get above 100 degrees. Johnnie, a tow provider with Meyers Towing, responded to a member whose car had stalled out on the side of the road....

Giving Back to Those Who Have Served

Hakem, owner of Elite Roadside Assistance, finds helping stranded AAA members to be a very rewarding experience. That’s why he was honored to help a member who served our country make it to his great granddaughter’s graduation....