What is the impact of weather and speed on range?

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If the cold has a strong effect on the autonomy of an electric car, which can reduce it by half, another factor also has a significant impact. This is the speed, which plays a decisive role in energy consumption. This new study allows us to analyze the impact of cold and speed on the autonomy of electric cars.

Ford F-150 under the snow
Ford F-150 under the snow

If you’ve ever driven an electric car in winter, or if you own one, you may have noticed that battery life is significantly shorter to the one shown in summer. And rest assured that this is not a technical problem, nor a hallucination, but a scientific fact. And it is mostly completely normal, although it can be disabling. Even more so when we know that autonomy is still a sensitive issue for motorists, who want it to be as long as possible. Even if it’s potentially a mistake to think so.

The cold, but not only

In fact, when it’s cold, the distance that an electric car can travel melts like snow in the sun. And this for many reasons. Firstly, in winter, heating is much more in demand, which increases energy consumption. Unless your car has a heat pump, like the Kia EV6 or the Renault Mégane E-Tech. This reduces the phenomenon.

But another element comes into play. In fact, theThe battery needs to be at an optimal temperature to work well.. And again, it takes energy to heat it. But not all cars are in the same boat, as we saw during a test conducted by the Norwegian site Motor.no, during which the Tesla Model S particularly shone with its range.

But there is also another element to consider. And you can totally play around with it to reduce your consumption. It’s all about speed, as the site explains. geo taboffering a detailed analysis of range fluctuations depending on temperature and driving behavior. To do this, the company compared data from a compact car and a light commercial vehicle in different scenarios.

The simulations are then based on vehicles equipped witha 65 kWh battery and rolling at a constant speed. Data from 350,000 500-vehicle trips was used for the sedan results and 2.8 million 2,000-vehicle trips were analyzed for the LCV.

A variable impact

Overall, the study carried out by the company specializing in telematics and fleet monitoring shows that Ultimately, speed has a much bigger impact than temperature. in the autonomy of an electric car. However, it is worth making some nuances.

In fact, the ideal speed to reduce consumption as much as possible depends on the temperature. For a private car, the autonomy will then be the most preserved driving at 30 km/h when the temperature is 20 degrees. At 0 degrees, the optimum speed is then 60 km/h.

But how is this done? Geotab explains that these figures are the result of a ” tradeoff between the amount of energy required to overcome the drag force and that required to maintain a comfortable temperature in the passenger compartment“. In concrete terms, it will sometimes be more prudent drive a little faster to get to your destination faster, and therefore they consume less heat. But driving faster also consumes more.

But then, is it the temperature or the speed that has the greatest impact? Actually, the answer is not so categorical because depends on various parameters such as vehicle type and route. As a general rule, speed has a greater impact when it is high, for example on the highway. In the city, on the other hand, it is the temperature that will play a more important role. However, it is essential to limit jerks and strong accelerations to limit consumption, especially in traffic jams.

Autonomy according to temperature and speed

We can give some examples: at 20 degrees Celsius, the average range of an electric car equipped with a 65 kWh battery is approximately 425 km at 100 km/h compared to 375 km at 130 km/h. With an ambient temperature of 0 degrees, we are going 375 km and 300 km respectively. But be careful: these figures are the result of an average. As we have seen in various tests, the results vary enormously from one car to another.

For a larger vehicle, such as a utility vehicle, temperature has a negligible effect and it will be better to drive slower. So when you slow down, no matter what gear you’re driving, you can increase your autonomy.

However, in winter it will be impossible to reach a value identical to that announced by the manufacturer according to the WLTP cycle. In fact, the certification tests are carried out in optimal temperature conditions to reach a maximum figure.

What is the real autonomy of electric cars in winter?

The Norwegian media Motor.no organized a large test among 28 electric cars to compare their autonomy in very cold climates. And finally it was the Tesla Model S that stood out, having achieved…
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