It is well known that lithium-ion batteries lose some of their capacity when temperatures drop. This is the technology used by electric cars, although winter affects some more than others.
The questions that potential users of an electric car ask themselves are numerous. For example, about the time it will take to charge, how much it will cost to do it or to what extent the autonomy indicated by the manufacturer is real.
Related to the latter, another usually arises: is it true that the autonomy of electric cars is reduced in winter? If it is. Although it does not do it in the same way in all models.
Why an electric car has less autonomy in winter
The scientific reason for the loss of autonomy in winter is mainly in the batteries, specifically lithium-ion batteries . These are the ones that currently monopolize the market and are based on a liquid electrolyte, a substance that contains free ions and that allows the transfer of electrons between the anode and the cathode.
The cold increases the internal resistance of the batteries and slows down the physical-chemical reactions , reducing the available autonomy. In addition, low temperatures cause premature degradation of batteries. To minimize this, manufacturers use a battery preconditioning system that heats the batteries.
The charging process is more difficult when cold.
On the one hand, this means that even more energy is consumed and, on the other hand, the heat generated is not used to heat the passenger compartment, as is the case in vehicles with combustion engines.
The 5 electric cars that lose less autonomy in winter
A Recurrent study, which has carried out a collection of more than 35,000 data points present in 7,000 electric vehicles , determines that all the units studied lose autonomy to a greater or lesser extent due to temperatures.
Said study has been carried out comparing the data collected with temperatures of 20 ºC and those collected with temperatures between -1 and -6 ºC . In some cases, the result is an estimate based on data collected by the vehicle’s own system. In others, in addition to these, the data collected by the original Recurrent sensors have been used.
The Jaguar I-Pace withstands winter better than any other electric car.
This has come to the conclusion that these are the five cars that best withstand winter:
- Jaguar I-Pace : 3% loss of range at 20ºC (estimated)
- Audi e-tron : 8% loss in terms of autonomy at 20ºC (estimated)
- Tesla Model X : 15% loss of autonomy at 20ºC (verified)
- Tesla Model Y : 15% loss of autonomy at 20ºC (verified)
- Tesla Model 3 : 17% loss of autonomy at 20ºC (verified)
The 5 electric cars that lose more autonomy in winter
At the opposite extreme we have the five vehicles that suffer the most from low temperatures, losing a significant number of kilometers of autonomy as a result. They are the following:
- Chevrolet Volt : 32% loss regarding autonomy with 20ºC (estimated)
- Volkswagen ID.4 : 30% loss of autonomy at 20ºC (verified)
- Ford Mustang Mach-E : 30% loss in range at 20ºC (verified)
- BMW i3 : 24% loss of autonomy at 20ºC (estimated)
- Volkswagen e-Golf : 23% loss compared to autonomy with 20ºC (estimated)
Al, Volkswagen ID.4 winter does not suit him too well, according to the Recurrent study.
Among the vehicles that have provided data to this study, the Hyundai Kona and the Tesla Model S also stand out , which lose 19%, or the Nissan Leaf , whose autonomy is reduced by 21% due to the cold.