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.

Nissan’s LEAF runs on laminated compact lithium-ion batteries that deliver a power output of more than 90kW. Meanwhile, it has an electric motor that generates 80kW/280Nm. This ensures that you have a highly responsive and fun driving experience and that the things you expect from any conventional, gasoline-powered vehicles are met by the new LEAF.

Unlike vehicles that are equipped with ICE or internal-combustion engines, the LEAF's power train does not have any tail pipe, so it also has no CO2 or greenhouse gas emission. Moreover, a combination of the car’s regenerative braking system and its lithium-ion battery packs allows it to deliver more than 160km or 100 miles of driving range in one full charge.

According to extensive consumer research, this driving range satisfies the everyday driving requirements of over 70% of the world’s drivers.

Nissan's approach makes the task of charging very easy and convenient. Using a quick charger, the LEAF may be charged up to 80% full capacity in less than half an hour. On the other hand, the LEAF takes about eight hours to charge if you use a 200V home outlet. This is enough time for an overnight refresh.

Nissan LEAF’s engineers and designers worked together in order to come up with a real-world car that is competitively priced and, at the same time, would take the carmaker to the top spot in terms of mobility in the age of zero emissions. Furthermore, to ensure spaciousness, comfort, and cargo capacity, the car uses an entirely new body layout and chassis.

Masato Inoue, Product Chief Designer at Nissan, says that the LEAF is the world's first, medium-size, electronic vehicle that motorists can afford and that they would want to drive every day. The Nissan LEAF’s styling will identify not only the brand but also the driver or owner as a participant in the age of zero-emission mobility.

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