Electric vehicles lose part of their range in winter conditions due to the slowdown of chemical and mechanical processes in sub-zero temperatures. However, all Tesla vehicles have the lowest range loss in winter conditions, a study shows.
All electric vehicles experience some loss of range in cold weather, which becomes important for owners in colder winter climates. This is due to the slowdown of chemical and mechanical processes at low temperatures. During the winter months, you need to adjust your daily driving and charging behavior in order to enjoy using your EV. However, partial loss of range is temporary and does not cause long-term damage to the battery. As the temperature warms up, the vehicle's range on a full charge should return to normal.
Recurrent conducted a study on the range of electric vehicles in winter conditions, based on data collected from 7,000 electric vehicles. They compared 14 of the most popular electric vehicles to show range loss under various driving conditions. The estimated winter range for several vehicles has been updated in 2022 to reflect the winter range that they have verified with real-world data.
Note that estimated winter ranges are based on on-board telematics and reflect the OEMs proprietary range calculations and software. Verified winter ranges are based on original Recurrent research using a combination of on-board devices and real-time usage data providing more than 35,000 datapoints.
The data showed that all Tesla vehicles had the least range loss, as confirmed by real-world data. Model X D75 and Model Y Long Range lost only 15%, Model 3 Long Range with a 75kW battery lost 17% of range, and Model S P100D lost 19% of range. Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD and VW ID.4 fared the worst of all, losing 30% of their range.
Model X is an SUV built onto the Model S platform and has been on the market since 2016. Both the X and S come with an optional Subzero Weather Package, which includes any or all of the following, depending on the exact year and software package:
- Heated rear seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Heated washer nozzles
- Heater windshield wipers
- Heated side mirrors
- Camera heaters
All of these features help to reduce reliance on energy intensive cabin heating and defrost necessary car components. Of course, it’s easy to set a departure time and precondition the car and battery, too. And, as of 2021, Model X is also now equipped with a heat pump.
Whereas the Model 3 heating system was known to use waste heat from the motor only to warm the battery itself, Model Y uses a more sophisticated heat pump system to help regulate temperatures without drawing on the high voltage battery. The patented Model Y heating system alludes to “a total of 12 heating modes and 3 cooling modes. The system even uses the thermal mass of the battery to store heat. Then, the battery can be used as a heat source as we draw down the thermal energy stored in the pack.”
Tesla Model S was the original mass market Tesla, released in 2012 after the Roadster’s popularity made Tesla a household name. While they are generally considered the higher end models, as opposed to the more moderately priced Model 3 and Y, S did not originally come with the sophisticated winter weather engineering discussed above. However, as of last winter, all new models now come with heat pump technology.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.