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The anti-electric lobby could not have done better. As a wave of extreme cold hits France, images of electric cars stuck on the highway and covered in snow resurface. They are accompanied by comments suggesting that electric cars broken down due to the cold have blocked the highway. And to resurface a controversy dating from early December 2023 on this phenomenon of breakdown of electric cars in extreme cold.
Is it true that electric cars can break down in extreme cold? Yes, like any other vehicle. But this has nothing to do with their engine or their design but rather with negligence on the part of the drivers. Explanations.
Vive la voiture électrique !
De nombreuses autoroutes bloquées en Allemagne en raison de véhicules électriques déchargés par temps froid
Les voitures ordinaires sont également coincées entre les véhicules électriques et ne peuvent pas contourner les véhicules déchargés. pic.twitter.com/hFKLnEbnOb
— Stéphane (@Stephan95105295) December 4, 2023
To the question “une does electric car break down due to cold ?” the answer is NO. It is even less likely to break down than an old petrol or diesel vehicle. On the other hand, it is true that the cold has an impact on battery and charging performance.
Thus, all experts agree on say that an electric car works normally as long as temperatures are between 0°C and 45°C (with an ideal temperature of 20°C) .
Below or above these thresholds, battery performance deteriorates. Firstly because of the very design of lithium batteries, which are made up of chemical cells that can die in the face of extreme temperatures. Battery life may therefore decrease in extreme heat or cold. But under no circumstances cause a breakdown.
This reduction in autonomy is reinforced by the behavior of the driver. If it's very cold, it turns on the heating, which consumes more energy than at optimal temperatures. The reflex is the same in high heat, with air conditioning. These behaviors can reduce battery life by 20 to 30% depending on the model.
Finally, it is true that extreme temperatures have an impact on battery life. charge. “In very cold weather, the charging time of an electric vehicle is longer, even at fast charging stations” can be read on the Engie website.
In all cases, if there is a car breakdown, it is caused by a lack of vigilance on the part of the driver. It is anyway recommended to recharge an electric car between 20 and 80% to preserve it over time with a 100% charge once a week.
5 tips for driving an electric car in extreme cold
- Adapt your driving& nbsp;: favor eco mode and adopt smooth driving without sudden accelerations. This limits energy consumption.
- Ride light: try not to not make the car too heavy. Like thermal cars, driving light reduces energy consumption
- Use pre-heating as much as possible . Heating the car in the garage uses less energy than outside.
- Limit heating:on short journeys, favor pre-heating, when the car is already warm in the garage. For medium journeys, prefer heating the steering wheel and seats (if you have these options) rather than heating the entire cabin.
- Keep the car plugged in in very cold weather: “below -18°C, the heater the battery activates automatically, leading to depletion of the accumulator if the car is not plugged in” explains Engie. If these extreme temperatures rarely affect the country, it is better to be warned.
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