Strong heat and battery never go well together. During this heat wave, adopting certain behaviors can effectively protect the battery of your electric car. We take stock together.
During this summer period, the mercury can reach particularly high values. As the Météo France website shows, several departments in the east of the country are on heat wave alert. This is particularly the case of Bouches-du-Rhône, Vaucluse, or even Var, while the Alpes Maritimes are on Orange alert.
Of course, this high heat can considerably affect the performance and range of your electric car. Nevertheless, it is possible to adopt certain behaviors to spare the battery of your electric vehicle. But let’s first see how these extreme conditions can impact the battery.
What impact on the battery during the heat wave?
As you may know, Lithium-ion batteries begin to degrade from 50°C. And once the 70°C mark is exceeded, their integrity is simply threatened. Of course, this temperature depends on the activity of the battery and the external environment.
Thus, an overheating battery will inevitably reduce your range. To find out the threshold temperature of your vehicle’s battery, you should check with your manufacturer. Unsurprisingly, the cooling system used will play a key role in regulating the temperature of the battery.
The importance of the cooling system
On this point, two camps oppose each other:
- vehicles with liquid circuit cooling
- vehicles with fan cooling
Liquid circuit cooling is more efficient than a ventilation device in case of high temperatures. This technology is found at several manufacturers, such as Tesla, Hyundai, Audi and Kia. On the other hand, certain models like the Nissan Leaf or the Renault Zoé are equipped with a ventilation device.
Also, note thatregular and prolonged exposure to high heat can accelerate the loss of autonomy of your electric car. Here again, the cooling system will play a major role:
- Liquid circuit cooling: -10% autonomy over 5 years on average
- Cooling by ventilation: between -20 and -30% autonomy over an average of 5 years
The right behaviors to adopt to protect your battery and its autonomy
As said above, it is possible to adopt certain behaviors to save the battery and gain autonomy during the heat wave.
Park in the shade
First of all, and this is just common sense, avoid parking in direct sunlight and look for a place in the shade. In this way, you will reduce the temperature in the passenger compartment (which will avoid putting the air conditioning on fully when you return) and protect the battery from possible overheating. As our colleagues on the site point out Clean Automotiveparking your electric car in direct sunlight can cause an increase in battery temperature of a maximum of 7°C.
Maintain a charge level between 20 and 80%
This is valid for the batteries of our smartphones and it is also for our electric cars: keeping your battery charged between 20 and 80% extends its overall life. Indeed, keeping your car charged at 100% over long periods of time damages the cells over time. Add to this bad practice the strong heat and you will certainly lose autonomy.
Use air conditioning sparingly
Turning on the air conditioning once on board is the best way to drastically reduce the range of your electric car. To give you an idea, you will lose between 15 to 30 km range on a 200 km trip with air conditioning at full power (usually between 1 and 2 kW).
Fortunately, the vast majority of electric cars can control the air conditioning remotely via a dedicated app. It is therefore best to activate the air conditioning beforehand, preferably when your car is still connected to a terminal.
Don’t overinflate your tires
Owners of electric cars tend to overinflate their tires slightly to reduce tread and limit friction in order to gain a few kilometers of range. Only, the high temperatures accentuate the phenomenon, which fatally increases the risk of bursting. Refer to the pressure recommended by your manufacturer to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Beware of fast charging
In this heatwave period, note that the recharge time will also be longer. To avoid overheating, the batteries adjust the power of the load. In other words, with high outside temperatures, your battery will go to safety faster, which will lengthen the charging time.
In this regard, many manufacturers, including Tesla, recommend that users use fast charging preferably in the morning or at night, during cooler hours. Because, the charging stations also suffer from the heatand during the day, they will also tend to deliver limited charging power to avoid overheating.
If you absolutely have to charge your electric car during the day, instead, look for a station that is covered or installed in an underground car park For example.