How do heatwaves affect electric vehicle batteries?

How do heatwaves affect electric vehicle batteries?

Every summer we see heatwaves become more common and longer, and many places where it used to be almost impossible to exceed 30 or even 40 degrees Celsius now can likely encounter these temperatures. As with combustion cars, high temperatures can also affect how our electric vehicles work, not only in terms of common components such as tyres and brakes, but also in terms of how the engine and batteries work.

 

We have already talked you about how to adapt to extreme temperatures and how they affect our charging. Now, however, we want to focus specifically on the effects that heat has on the performance of our vehicle.

Cooling system and how we drive, the key factors

Many users are aware that low temperatures affect the range of our electric car, reducing its capacity by up to 30% according to some studies. However, it is less well known that extreme heat also affects batteries and can lead to operational problems.

 

As a general rule, once the temperature drops below 20°C and exceeds 25°C, lithium-ion batteries, which are the most common in electric vehicles, are affected. That is why in summer, the role of the car’s battery cooling system is essential, as it significantly prevents the range from being affected. However, depending on the highness of the temperatures and the degradation of the battery, it can be deeply affected by overheating, especially from 45°C onwards.

 

On the other hand, how we use the vehicle will also influence its range. It is well known that driving uphill or using the air conditioning affects the performance of any vehicle, and this is no different for electric vehicles. Therefore, opting for behaviours that reduce energy consumption, such as avoiding boot overload, driving in ECO mode or using the air conditioning with a reversible heat pump, will help our battery last longer.

 

Un cargador de Circontrol en el desierto de Chile
A Circontrol EV charger in the Chile desert

 

A reliable charge, even in extreme temperatures

But temperatures not only affect the batteries of electric vehicles during the journey, they also have an impact on the efficiency during the charge. Just like the components of the battery, the electronics of an electric vehicle charger can become less efficient in extreme heat.

 

To avoid these problems, it is always advisable to have our charging point in a place hidden from the sun, or if we charge outside the home, to choose chargers located in the shade or with solar panels, which will also provide them with extra energy. If we also choose to charge at dusk, at night or at dawn, we will avoid the high temperatures effect on the vehicle’s performance and we will better take profit of the capacities of the EV charger.

 

However, if we are forced to charge our vehicle in the sun in the middle of a heatwave, it is important to choose a robust and reliable charging point that is able to withstand the extreme heat. For Circontrol, resilience and adaptation to high temperatures are basic aspects that we take into account when developing our electric vehicle chargers. Therefore, they are prepared to be able to work with a wide temperature range, from -30 to +50 ºC, without any kind of problem, allowing you to charge with total peace of mind at all times.

 

You can find out more about our different EV chargers here.

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