Very cold or hot outside temperatures may cause a substantial decrease in electric vehicle driving range, and the drop is compounded by use of the vehicle’s climate control system. This information comes from new research by the American Automobile Association (AAA).
When the mercury dips to 20°F and below, and the HVAC system is used to heat the inside of the vehicle, the average driving range drops by 41 percent. Correspondingly, when the outside temperature is 95°F and air conditioning is used, driving range decreases by 17 percent. The use of the car’s HVAC has a much greater effect on driving range than the outside temperature.
An EV with a compromised driving range will require charging more often, which increases the cost to operate the vehicle. For instance, AAA found that the use of heat when it’s only 20° outside adds almost $25 more for every 1,000 miles to operate the car than when it’s 75°F or higher outside.
More EVs have traditionally been sold in the Washington region than elsewhere, though changes in the EV tax credit could alter that going forward.Download Bulletin PDF