How are electric vehicles really performing in cold weather?

 In Electric Vehicle News

Volt in SnowFleets have raised concerns about the climate affecting the performance of electric vehicles (EVs) in their operations.  We know, for example, that EV range is impacted in cold weather.

Recent buzz on how the first generation of these vehicles have performed in winter is growing.  For example, in this news story, the CBC reports electric cars are indeed impacted by cold weather although not enough to sufficiently affect the commuting habits of most drivers.  In this isolated study, the owner of a Mitsubishi iMiEV in Manitoba, Canada shares the data from his personal journal where he kept track of changes in daily temperature and his vehicle’s projected range.

Other manufacturers of electric vehicles such as Nissan, General Motors and Ford are constantly reassuring consumers and fleet operators that these vehicles do hold up in cold weather as reported in this article from the Chicago Tribune and this YouTube video.  Manufacturers stress that their battery thermal management systems have been engineered to ensure that the battery continues to operate at normal capacity, even in the extreme climate conditions.

Researchers have also begun to assess this potential issue. In one preliminary report from Transport Canada, laboratory test results for EVs in various operating conditions were presented.  These lab results suggested that EV driving range could be reduced significantly in extreme conditions when vehicle operators use maximum cabin heating.

FleetCarma has been working with fleets this winter to begin assessing this issue with real-world electric vehicles doing real-world fleet jobs.  The goal is to reveal the truth about electric vehicles in cold weather.

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Our initial data is now captured on four vehicle types including the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi iMiEV, Ford Transit Connect EV, and the Chevrolet Volt.

These data will be presented at an upcoming free webinar on Thursday, March 15th at 2:00pm EST.

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