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All you need to know about weather and electric cars

Jul 1, 2022

Find out everything there is to know about the impact of heat on your electric car and make the most of your electric holiday with simple tips! Summer is fast approaching, and temperatures have already soared in recent days, reaching over 40 degrees in some parts of France.

In times of heatwave and in anticipation of the holidays, it is important to know the effects of heat on our electric vehicle, but also on the terminals and the good practices to adopt. Here is all the information and advice you need to free yourself from summer stress and make the most of your holiday!

Heat and electric vehicles

Overheating of the battery

Like your phone batteries, the lithium-ion battery works best at temperatures between 20 and 25°C, but above 45-50°C its components may suffer degradation, as well as reduced performance when recharged.

Battery cooling

However, the manufacturer has foreseen that your battery will overheat, and your vehicle will be cooled by a system designed to do so. Depending on the type of cooling you have, your vehicle will be more or less sensitive to the effects of heat. Today there are two types of cooling systems:

  • The liquid cooling system

  • The fan cooling system

Liquid cooling is found on most of today's electric vehicles such as Tesla, Hyundai, Kia, Porsche, Jaguar... and is very effective in hot weather, avoiding the risk of power loss or battery deterioration.

However, if your vehicle is equipped with fan cooling, such as that found on the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, you may experience a drop in performance, so take this into account when planning your journeys.

In any case, don't worry, the car will regulate the power by itself to avoid any damage to the battery.

Heat on charging stations

Charging stations, like cars, can also be sensitive to heat in high temperatures. They generally have a very wide optimal operating range for the most efficient charging stations, up to 55°C. If these temperatures are exceeded, the only risk is that the power delivered by the charging station is temporarily reduced.

In summer, a bollard in the shade or with a cap is best to ensure optimal efficiency. If you are installing a bollard at home, consider placing it in a place protected from the sun, such as a garage.

What risk to battery life?

Will my autonomy be affected by the heat? Yes, slightly... but mainly because during heatwaves our first reflex is to turn the air conditioning on full blast.

Indeed, the range will be affected by the air conditioning, which of course draws its energy from the battery to operate. However, there are a large number of electric vehicle models equipped with a reversible heat pump system which is very economical and greatly reduces the impact on the vehicle's range.

More concretely, air conditioning consumes about 1 to 2 kW, i.e. 1 to 2 kWh per hour. On a journey at 100 km/h with a consumption of 18 kWh/100km without air conditioning, then the consumption with air conditioning increases to about 10-20 kWh / 100 km. You will therefore have lost about 3-4 kWh, which corresponds to about 20 km less range, which is quite reasonable to enjoy a journey in pleasant conditions.

Good practice

Before you get behind the wheel, here is a selection of tips for driving in the best conditions during the heatwave!

If possible, load your vehicle in the shade or cooler

As far as possible, choose a cool parking space or an underground car park to avoid power loss and to keep your car cool.

You should also consider recharging at times when it is cooler, such as in the morning or at night, if you can. These temperatures are optimal for both your vehicle and the outdoor charging stations!

To help you, on the Electra app you can quickly identify whether the station is located indoors or outdoors.

Flexible driving

It all starts with smooth driving! This simple practice will help you avoid unnecessary battery heating and save range.

Pre-condition your car while charging

Finally, remember to precondition your car during charging to avoid using the battery's energy and instead consume that of the charging network. The aim is to leave the charge point in the best possible condition, having saved as much range as possible.

With the Electra app, you can set a charging target and track your consumption, use this feature to activate your preconditioning a little before the end of your target to save time and energy!

We hope you have been able to learn some useful information to prepare you for driving in hot weather. The Electra team wishes you a great holiday and looks forward to welcoming you to our stations!

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