If you’ve purchased an electric car recently, or are thinking about purchasing one, you may have wondered what kind of effect the heat could have on your car. Can it damage things? Will it decrease your range?
So, is hot weather bad for electric cars? Hot weather can be bad for electric cars. While it reduces your range, it also causes extra stress on your car which can lead to premature battery or electric motor failure. Heat can also cause your battery to lose its charge faster, so it’s much better to keep your electric car in a garage or shady spot if possible when parked.
When anyone buys anything new, they want to take care of it for as long as possible. Whether it’s a new car, new house, or a new toy, people want it to stay nice for as long as possible. Many people will eat food and drink soda and other drinks in an old car but as soon as they have a new car, they won’t allow food or drink in it. Many people experience the same things when purchasing an electric car.
As such, it becomes extremely important that you take good care of your electric car. Protecting your car from the elements can be one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to preserve the life of your battery and your car in general. Let’s dive into the effects that heat can have on your electric car.
Why Extremely Hot Weather Can Be Bad For Your Electric Car
One of the big threats to your battery’s life is the environment that it’s located in. Extremely cold and hot temperatures will both cause extra wear on your battery. If you live somewhere that gets decently hot in the summer, it’s best to park your car in the shade so it doesn’t get quite as hot. Likewise, if you live somewhere that gets very cold in the winter, parking in a garage that gets some heat from your house will help to make your battery last as long as possible.
High ambient temperatures can cause your battery to lose charge quicker. As components get hotter it will cause the charge to drop quicker. Also, once you start your car, your car will have to work much harder in order to cool the car back down. Both of these things will have an impact on the charge of your car. If at all possible, it’s best to park an electric car in a garage or in the shade. Doing this will help keep everything cool so you lose less charge.
In addition to just the effects on your battery’s charge, the heat also causes extra stress on battery components. This extra stress can shorten the life of your battery. In addition, your electric car can have either one or multiple motors for driving the wheels. As these motors get hotter, the resistance of the windings will increase. This extra resistance also causes your battery to work harder. To maximize the life of your battery, be sure to park it in the shade or in a garage when you can.
What Temperature Is Considered Extreme Heat And When Should You Do Something To Protect Your EV From It?
So, what exactly is considered extreme heat? When is your EV at risk? The term “extreme heat” is somewhat relative. Depending on where you live, your summer might not be nearly as hot as other places. There are places where summer can get up to 120°F. If your car is exposed to this and in direct sunlight, it can be really bad for your car.
In other areas, your summer might only get up to about 90°F. Although this is significantly lower than the locations previously described, while parked in the sun, your battery can still get very hot. In general, anything over a mild temperature (about 80°F) or so will have an effect on your battery. You will notice a larger drain while just parked and there will be some more stress to the battery. Obviously, as that temperature goes up, the drain and the stress both increase.
It is always best to take the best possible care of your electric car. Anytime the weather is warm, it’s best to park your car in a shaded area. While your temperatures may not be extreme, the more you protect your car from the heat, the longer everything will last. If you want to make your electric car last as long as possible, keep it out of the heat and sun as much as you can.
Tips For Protecting Your Electric Car In Extreme Heat
So, what can you do to protect your electric car? The easiest thing that you can do is park your car in covered areas when you can. If you have a garage at home, this becomes much easier. Your garage is generally partially cooled by your house in the summer and partially heated by your house in the winter. As such, it is generally milder than the temperature outside. In addition, your car isn’t in direct sunlight, so you don’t have to worry about solar radiation heating things up.
If you don’t have a garage, this can become harder. Any sort of carport or covered parking will offer more protection than nothing. If those aren’t options, you can find an area with trees or some shade from nearby buildings, this will be the next best thing. If you are parking in public, finding cool parking can become even harder. Especially if you are parking your car for a long period of time while you are at work or doing something else, it’s a good practice to find a place that is as shaded as possible during the hotter months of the year.
There are also car covers that you can place on your car if you have no other option. While these won’t keep your car super cool, they will reflect a good portion of the solar radiation coming in so your car doesn’t get quite as hot.
While parking in the sun isn’t necessarily bad for your car, it will have an effect on the life of your battery over time. You also will use up a portion of your daily charge just from sitting in the sun. Doing these things every now and then won’t have a big impact on your car, but if you want to take the absolute best care of your car possible, avoiding the heat as much as possible is best.
How Extreme Heat Affects Electric Cars And Regular Cars Differently
Extreme heat is bad for both electric cars and internal combustion cars. This heat can affect them in some of the same ways but also in different ways. The direct sunlight can quickly eat away at the paint on your car. It can cause the exterior plastics to fade and crack. These types of things are true for both types of cars.
Internal combustions cars are affected in several different ways. First off, an internal combustion engine has a battery as well. Although it is very different from electric car batteries, heat still has a negative effect on the battery. Additionally, internal combustion cars require a higher level of cooling. Internal combustion cars get their power from igniting fuel. This obviously generates a significant amount of heat.
You have a cooling system in your car to maintain an ideal temperature. In extreme heat, your car’s cooling system has a much harder time maintaining the temperature and you can end up with an overheating car if you aren’t careful.
In your electric car, the main concerns are the lithium-ion battery and the motors. As we previously mentioned, the heat causes extra stress on the electric battery. This shortens the life of the battery. In addition, it increases the resistance in the motor windings which forces the battery to work harder. All of these things can lead to your battery dying sooner than normal if your car is regularly exposed to these things.
Electric cars can be a big investment. The upfront cost of electric cars is slightly higher than that of an internal combustion car at the moment. The most expensive component in the entire vehicle is the electric car battery. In addition, as this battery gets worse and worse, your car’s range will get lower and lower. So not only can a bad battery cost you a lot of money, but it can also make your daily driving less and less convenient.