Extreme weather affects electric vehicles sales

Article by Anita Panait, on January 31, 2012

Electric cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leafs may just have found natural enemies – the weather. It seems batteries of the electric cars suffer whenever they’re subjected to drastic changes in outside temperature. The driving range of electric cars dips when it is too cold or too hot. This was confirmed by General Motors spokesman Randy Fox, who said electric vehicle's range is subject to driving technique, terrain and temperature.

Generally, the Chevrolet Volt can travel 35-40 miles on battery power alone in the summer, provided the batteries are fully charged, Fox said. "A general rule of thumb is the Volt will experience a 5 percent loss per 10-degree Fahrenheit change in ambient temperature,” according to Fox, adding that a 70- to 20-degree Fahrenheit drop results in an around 25% loss in the car’s range.

For dealers to sell more electric vehicles, it is better to conduct test drives during seasons when temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Any potential buyer may end up refusing to buy electric cars after finding out that their range dips in extreme temperatures.

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