In the winter, EVs can lose a substantial amount of range due to cabin and battery heating. Based on that logic, would air conditioner usage and battery cooling affect EV range in the summer? Not quite. The reasoning behind this is actually relatively straightforward.

In a research report conducted via Recurrent, the technology firm gathered data points from nine different electric vehicles: the Bolt EV, Ford F-150 Lighting and Mach-E, Hyundai Kona EV, Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla lineup. Based on the knowledge, the company determined range loss estimates at various temperature intervals.

  • Range loss at 75 degrees: 0%
  • Range loss at 80 degrees: 2.8%
  • Range loss at 85 degrees: 3.5%
  • Range loss at 90 degrees: 5%
  • Range loss at 95 degrees: 15%
  • Range loss at 100 degrees: 31% (too little data)

Interestingly, as long as the temperature wasn't scorching, the range percentage drops would not reach the double-digit mark. Even at 92 degrees Fahrenheit, the range reduction would be 8.8%.

The reasoning behind this is ambient versus cabin temperature. When it's 95 degrees outside, the air conditioning unit would keep the interior around 25 degrees cooler (70-degree interior temperature). On a frigid day, say 15 degrees, the unit would keep the cabin 55 degrees warmer. In other words, the temperature disparity would be twice as significant on a cold day.

Nevertheless, A/C usage consumes energy, but there is a smart way to do it. Since the unit uses more energy initially to bring the cabin down to a reasonable temperature, it is best to do this while charging. Using shore power to do the most energy-intensive task of cooling the cabin is far more advantageous, especially if taking a road trip.

With a cool cabin, the unit will not consume a great deal of energy to keep it at a constant 70 degrees. Effectively, this report means that drivers won't have to opt for a mobile sauna to reach their desired location.

Range Loss by Temp - Recurrent
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