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Tesla Disputes Study That Icy Weather Leads To 41% Drop In EVs Range

Tesla says that a new AAA study on electric vehicle (EV) range in icy or hot temperatures has shown results inconsistent with the experience of Tesla drivers and that the drop in range in frigid weather is not “anywhere near” the 41-percent decrease that AAA has estimated.

New research from AAA has shown that at temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit, combined with the use of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to heat the inside of the vehicle, the average driving range is decreased by 41 percent, AAA said on Thursday. This essentially means that for 100 miles of combined urban/highway driving, the range at 20 degrees Fahrenheit would be reduced to 59 miles.  

In its research, AAA tested five electric vehicles, 2018 BMW i3, 2018 Chevrolet Bolt, 2018 Nissan Leaf, 2017 Tesla Model S, and 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf.

If drivers don’t use the HVAC system, the estimated driving range for EVs was “moderately impacted by hot and cold temperatures” compared to the range during tests conducted at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, AAA said. Without HVAC in use, outside temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit resulted in a reduced driving range by 12 percent, while at 95 degrees Fahrenheit without HVAC use driving range is reduced by 4 percent.

HVAC use, however, “resulted in considerable reductions in driving range”, AAA said, noting that an outside temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit resulted in a 41-percent decrease in driving range, while an outside temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit resulted in a 17-percent decrease. Related: China Faces An Uphill Battle For Energy Independence

Commenting on AAA’s research, a Tesla spokesperson sent a statement to Electrek, saying:

“Based on real-world data from our fleet, which includes millions of long trips taken by real Model S customers, we know with certainty that, even when using heating and air conditioning, the average Model S customer doesn’t experience anywhere near that decrease in range at 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and the decrease in range at 95 degrees Fahrenheit is roughly 1%.”   

Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, said, commenting on the research: “As long as drivers understand that there are limitations when operating electric vehicles in more extreme climates, they are less likely to be caught off guard by an unexpected drop in driving range.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Elliot Geno on February 07 2019 said:
    Even if the supposed 41% energy drain were true... (Which it isn't - considering I just went through this last Polar vortex here in Ohio) My Model 3 is essentially a 130 MPG car... That means it's still a 76.7 MPG car in the winter according to this metric.

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