The recent brutal cold snap in many parts of the U.S. undoubtedly put a lot of strain on vehicle batteries, which lose a lot of their cold cranking capacity under such conditions. But what happens when the s battery charging system is the focal point of virtually all vehicles functions —as is the case with electric vehicles?
According to recent tests conducted by the AAA, the results were not good. AAA found that cold temperatures can reduce vehicle battery capacity by as much as 40 percent if the car heater is used. Hot temperatures also adversely affecting charging capacity, but not as much, the survey found.
With electric vehicles gaining momentum, there’s more anecdotal evidence from owners of electric vehicles, such as top-selling Tesla, that cold weather battery performance is severely hampered. Owners complained on social media about reduced range and frozen door handles during the cold snap.
For prospective electric vehicle buyers, awareness of electric vehicle limitations in cold weather is needed. “As long as drivers understand that there are limitations when operating electric vehicles in more extreme climates, they are less likely to be caught off guard by an unexpected drop in driving range,” says Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering, in a statement.
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