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Electric Cars

Driving Faster Could Increase EV Efficiency in Cold Weather

If you didn’t already know, the batteries in EVs tend to take a significant hit in the range they can offer when subjected to cold temperatures. A study from 2014 showed that extreme cold could reduce EV range by as much as 57 percent. However, that was quite a while ago, and while current EV batteries can stand up much better to winter weather, they still can suffer a loss of range. According to a report from Carscoops, a possible remedy to the cold weather battery problem is to simply drive faster. It sounds odd at first, but this conclusion isn’t what you may think. It certainly doesn’t mean that slamming the pedal down in your Hyundai Ioniq 5 is going to magically give you more range.

The research comes from Geotab, a fleet vehicle telematics firm. In its data model, the firm found that for a EV with a 65 kWh battery, the ideal speed to maximize range is about 19 mph when operating at 68°F. However, when the temp drops to 32°F the ideal speed jumps up to 37 mph. Geotab says the results show the tradeoff between the energy an EV has to put out to overcome aerodynamic drag and the energy required to keep the vehicle interior comfortable. So, what does it actually mean? The answer is more simple than you may think.

Driving faster means reaching your destination sooner. The sooner you reach your destination equates to less time using the heater to keep the car’s cabin warm for the occupants. The less time you use the heater, the less energy you’re asking from the battery, which results in more energy to move the car. As mentioned, this is a very simplified version of the results and things get much more nuanced when digging into the data provided by Geotab. The differences in range can vary depending on the temperature and vehicle type. For example, an electric van has a much harder time with drag so the differential there is not the same as a sleeker, smaller sedan or coupe.

While speed seems to make a difference, obviously we will still strongly recommend following all local traffic laws and not driving faster than conditions allow; especially when driving in cold weather when roads can be slippery. Or you could just shut the heat off, but we don’t recommend that either.

Read the full article here

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