Scientists Scramble to Address Cold Weather Performance Issues in EV Batteries

Researchers are working hard to develop novel battery technologies that increase electric vehicle range in cold climates compared to the current li-ion batteries. The range of electric car batteries is reduced in cold weather; hence, longer journeys may be challenging during the colder seasons.

It’s a challenge that certain electric passenger car owners and the officials in the transport sector around the world are experiencing in freezing areas. At 20°F (-7°C), electric vehicles simply don’t travel to the extent that is expected at the ideal 70°F. One reason is that using conventional technologies to warm the car depletes the battery. But vehicles with effective heat pumps see less range loss in the chilly weather.

At this critical period when emissions in the transport sector must drastically decrease to combat climate change, certain car producers as well as drivers worry that low battery power in freezing temperatures could hinder the acceptability of electric vehicles. But, there is hope since researchers are rushing to find solutions for electric vehicle batteries’ performance problems during the cold weather.

Batteries become problematic in chilly conditions. According to Stretch Blackard, whenever there is relatively cold weather with temperatures at -50℉ (-46°C), notably in Alaska in the American North, his operating expenses for the Tok electric bus increase by half when the temperature drops below zero.

Traveling long distances during the winter can also challenging for personal EV owners. In most American areas, cold periods occur at least occasionally every winter, causing electric vehicles to lose anything ranging between 10% to 36% of their battery range.

Mark Gendregske claims that whenever temperatures fall between the 10 °and 20℉ (-7° to -12°C) range, things become so serious that he often observes a range and charge time loss of above 20 percent.

In Norway, where electric vehicles accounted for around 80% of new car sales in 2022, the range reduction hasn’t stopped people from buying electric cars.

According to CEO Scott Case, internal resistance heaters are a common feature of electric vehicles. The vehicles that perform better are fitted with effective heat pumps, which reduce their range loss during the cold. He added that the existence of heating pumps has been around for a long time, and they can extract heat outside the environment including in freezing weather. However, Case said they have just lately been adapted for use in autos.

It remains to be seen what specific adaptations EV makers such as ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. Ltd. (NASDAQ: SOLO) might implement to increase the winter performance of the batteries in their cars.

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