The Truth about Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Hot Weather – UPDATE: Webinar FULL

 In Inside FleetCarma

EVs in Hot WeatherAs an exceptionally hot summer comes to an end, many people are looking back at the ways in which the weather affected business and industry.  Vehicle fleets are not immune to weather concerns.  Many electric vehicle owners are aware of the effect that cold weather can have on battery performance, but may be wondering whether or not hot weather has an effect as well.

EVs in the market today employ different technologies to help combat the heat.  From the Leaf’s air cooled battery to the Volt’s liquid cooled pack, automotive manufacturers continue to innovate and experiment to determine the best way to maximize performance.

Over 50% of EV’s projected to be sold in the United States this year are located in the 17 states with the highest average annual temperatures.  Some EV owners in warmer climates are expressing concerns about the effect high temperatures this summer may have on the batteries within their vehicles, and how the power draw from the AC affects the range.

Air Conditioner Use in Plug-in Hybrids and EVs

The effect of air conditioning on gas mileage has been a much debated topic even for conventional vehicles.  Use of climate control within EVs results in a direct reduction in available range, as the energy that could be used to propel the car is instead used to cool the cabin.  A trend has been seen with EVs and even hybrids with some drivers choosing to opt out of using air conditioning and brave the heat in favour of higher mileages. Research institutions and automotive manufacturers alike are aware of the effect a cooler cabin can have on the range.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) studied Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and suggested that the use of A/C can cause range to decrease 34 – 43%.

Need for Real-World EV Data

The fuel economy ratings posted by manufacturers are arrived at by standardized government testing of vehicles under near ideal conditions in a laboratory.  Nissan USA published some information suggesting that the effect of climate control and driving patterns together will reduce the range of the Leaf from 138 miles under ideal conditions to 68 miles in warmer weather.

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The bottom line is that fleet operators need to make informed decisions on how these technologies will operate in their own real-world operating conditions.  FleetCarma has been gathering data from real-world electric vehicles in order to find and present the truth about electric vehicle performance in hot weather conditions.  We will be presenting this information at an upcoming webinar on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:00pm EDT.  The vehicles monitored for this presentation are the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi iMiEV, Chevrolet Volt, and the Ford Transit Connect EV.

UPDATE: We’ve hit capacity on the webinar.

If you would like to see the material please email Eric (emallia@fleetcarma.com).

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  • Priyanka Shekhawat

    LEAF battery is not even air cooled! “The LEAF battery has no thermal management system and the temperature is controlled by adjustment of the battery’s internal resistance, according to Nissan. Nissan says the battery works without an external cooling mechanism because it is “engineered” to avoid overheating”.