Nick Jarmusz, spokesman for AAA-Iowa, says this season of sleet, snow and super-low wind chills has a drastic impact on an electric car’s performance. Jarmusz says, “Our study found that electric vehicles can lose up to 41% of their driving range when temperatures dip below 20-degrees Fahrenheit.”
That means the colder the weather, the shorter distance the car will go on a charge. “On average, it’s about 100 miles that’s typical for right now,” Jarmusz says. “You’re talking about a 41% reduction so you could be getting as few as 60 miles on a single charge when temperatures are dipping into the sub-freezing range.” The report finds the decrease in an electric vehicle’s range is compounded by switching on the heater, something you’d likely want to do when it’s 20-degrees or colder.
“On a standard gas-powered engine, you’re going to be actually drawing the heat from the engine as the air passes through into the cabin,” Jarmusz says, “whereas in an electric vehicle, it has to artifically generate more heat than what the engine is creating in order to push it into the cabin.”
The motor club is not against electric vehicles, Jarmusz says, but believes Iowans who might be car-shopping likely would want to know how the cold weather effects them. Jarmusz says, “We do think it’s important for consumers who might be considering EVs to know the limitations so they can factor that into their calculations of whether an EV would be a right fit for their lifestyle and their needs.”
Coincidentally, the report also found extreme heat can hurt an electric vehicle’s range, too. He says if temperatures are heating up to 95 degrees and air-conditioning is used, the driving range decreases by 17%.