We all know, the rechargeable batteries found in our smartphones are prone to overheating, and when the outdoor temperature is very low, their autonomy is decreasing alarmingly. One may wonder if the same rules apply in the case of an electric vehicle. The organization AAA (American Automobile Association) non-profit at the service of motorists has been made to undergo a battery of tests with five models rolling to electricity to answer this question: a BMW i3s (2018), a Chevrolet Bolt (2018), Nissan Leaf (2018), a Volkswagen e-Golf (2017) and a Tesla Model S 75D (2017).

Before talking about the results of these tests, it is interesting to dwell on a few elements found in the user’s manuals of different vehicles. At BMW, we read that the energy recovery systems can be ineffective if the temperature is too high or too low. In addition, when it is very hot, the battery must be cooled before the charging begins, which increases the charging time. In similar conditions, if the vehicle is too exposed to the sun, the battery will overheat and it will be impossible to start.

At Nissan, we note that from -25 degrees the battery may freeze, and will not be responsible, nor send energy to the electric motor before being moved into an environment that is more forgiving. In the manual dedicated to the Volkswagen e-Golf, we read that when the battery freezes, it undergoes irreversible damage. Take knowledge of these facts shows us that the electric vehicle is not at ease in the face of extreme temperatures. The results of the tests of the AAA did not confirm the behaviour of batteries in some situations.

According to the AAA, with an outside temperature of 35 degrees and the air conditioning switched on, the autonomy of electric vehicles decline by an average of 17 %. The cold seems to have a much more devastating, since by -6 degrees with the heating activated, the models tested have lost on average 41 % of their autonomy! This last is already not high in optimal conditions, take the risk in such an environment with an electrical machine would be a real way of the cross. Mountain climbers and holiday makers who have in the idea to join their station of winter sports favorite with a electric vehicle may regret it.


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