What Effects do Heat Waves Have on Electric Vehicle Batteries?

Industry News – August 23, 2022

Heat waves, as currently seen throughout Europe, are becoming more frequent and longer. Many places where it used to seem impossible to get up to 40 degrees Celsius are now affected. But what specific effects does heat have on the performance of our vehicles?

Almost every emobilist knows that low temperatures affect the range of e-cars. According to numerous studies, capacity is reduced by up to 30%. Less well known, however, is that extreme heat can also affect batteries and cause operational problems. Lithium-ion batteries in particular, which are installed in most electric vehicles, do not like extreme temperatures. As a rule, they work best between 20 and 25°C. In the summertime, long drives combined with high speed increase the risk of battery overheating. Above 45-50°C, the battery's electronics deteriorate faster and there is a general decrease in charging performance. Depending on the quality of your battery, this phenomenon will be more or less influenced. Therefore, the cooling system of the car battery is of crucial importance, especially in summer, as impairment of the range is largely prevented.

Reliable charging even at extreme temperatures

Temperatures not only affect electric vehicle batteries while driving, but also their efficiency during the charging process. Just like the battery's components, the electronics of an electric vehicle charger can lose efficiency in extreme heat.

The closer the battery gets to its overheating point, the slower the charging speed becomes. The battery monitoring system (BMS) adjusts the charging power received to the temperature of the battery. To avoid overheating, the charging power and charging time are more or less affected. In extreme cases, the charging process may even be interrupted for safety reasons until the battery has cooled down.

To avoid these issues, it is always advisable to place the charging station in a place protected from the sun or, with a view to public charging, to choose charging stations in the shade or with solar panels that also provide them with additional energy. On the other hand, there are no problems when charging during dusk, night or dawn. This avoids the effects of high temperatures on the vehicle's performance, and also allows the charger's capacities to be better utilized.

Tips for charging in hot weather:

  • Prefer covered charging stations / in underground garages.
  • Charge early in the morning or at night
  • Pre-air condition the vehicle interior
  • Reduce accelleration
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