Transport Theory

Your EV's battery life depends on where you live

Posting in Energy

A new report shows that EV battery life can vary significantly depending on the temperature in different parts of the country.

Recently, Nissan Leaf owners in hotter U.S. states have noted a significant drop in their cars' battery capacity.

Turns out, according to the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy together with Pike Research, your battery life can fluctuate depending on where you live by up to five years.

As Pike Research specialist John Gartner wrote in a blog post last week, the lithium-ion battery packs found in electric vehicles exhibit the best performance and lifespan when kept at betweenn -10 and +30 degrees Celsius (that's 14-86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Battery packs kept at temperatures higher or lower than that may underperform: at colder temperatures, the batteries may not reach full power; at higher temperatures, the battery can lose capacity.

While the 2012 Chevrolet Volt and the 2012 Tesla Model S use battery cooling technology, the Nissan Leaf does not, leaving it susceptible to such performance issues as a result of outside temperatures. It follows that a Nissan Leaf in Phoenix may lose 25 percent of its performance five to ten years earlier than the same car in Minneapolis, where summer temperatures are milder.

The lesson to prospective EV buyers? If you live in a state with hot summers, you may want to consider an EV that uses a battery cooling system.

Photo: Nissan

via [Green Car Reports]

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Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure