A/C use not a significant cause of electric vehicle range loss

Battery-focused software firm Recurrent reports that air conditioning (A/C) has a negligible impact on electric vehicle driving range, based on an analysis of 7,500 cars.

Recurrent notes that cooling an EV in hot weather requires slightly less energy than turning on the A/C in a petrol vehicle due to the lack of warm air flowing from the engine. Battery power is also conserved by connecting it to a charger during the initial cooling period. Air conditioning units used in EVs also start faster than those used in ICE models. Thanks to these three advantages, the electric vehicle brands studied by the company displayed a range loss of 2.8% at 80 degrees, 5% at 90 degrees and 31% at 100 degrees while using air conditioning.

Range anxiety occupies the minds of many prospective EV buyers and is often cited as one of the main obstacles to wider adoption. It is true that, due to the effects of cold temperatures on batteries, travel distance is significantly reduced in the winter. This issue is further compounded when drivers switch on the car’s heating systems. However, while the electric vehicles in Recurrent’s study did show slight decreases in range, the effects were minimal.

Liz Najman, climate scientist and content marketing manager at the company, told CBT News that the “summer range variation shouldn’t be a deterrent at all” to consumers. “The range variation we saw due to air conditioning is the same in whatever kind of car you’re driving – gas or electric.” Najman also noted that drivers could save even more battery power by using energy-efficient heating or cooling methods, such as installing seat warmers or keeping the electric vehicle plugged in for the first several minutes of A/C use.

Car buyers are still largely hesitant to abandon their gas-powered models. With electric vehicle stock beginning to pile up, dealers may be able to move inventory faster by educating their clients on the facts and myths surrounding the technology. Should they live in a hot area, many customers may be convinced to purchase an EV once they realize that the A/C is not a significant source of range loss.

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