As record temperatures soar across the country, it is important for electric vehicle (EV) owners to keep their cars performing well in the blistering heat. EV owners can take several steps to maintain their vehicles’ ability to operate efficiently, safely and reliably in hot weather. These six tips can help an electric vehicle avoid major performance issues and expensive repairs as well as run smoothly for years to come.
Park in the Shade
Many people skip parking in the shade if it means a slightly longer walk to the supermarket entrance or puts their vehicles out of direct line of sight from their office windows. While it may seem obvious, parking in the shade on a hot day is good for all vehicles.
This extra cover is particularly important for EVs. Parking in the shade or using a cover can help reduce the temperature inside the vehicle and protect the battery from overheating. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, parking an electric car in direct sunlight can cause the battery temperature to increase by up to 12 degree Fahrenheit, while parking in the shade can keep the battery temperature at or below the ambient temperature.
Keep the Battery Charged to 80%
High temperatures can cause an EV battery to degrade faster, reducing its overall lifespan. By keeping the battery fully charged, you can help prevent unnecessary wear and tear and ensure that your vehicle has the power it needs to perform well in hot weather.
According to Tesla, keeping a battery charged between 20% and 80% can help prolong its lifespan, while letting it sit at a high state of charge for extended periods can cause it to degrade faster.
Use Air Conditioning Sparingly
While it may be tempting to blast the air conditioning (AC) on full power during hot weather, doing so can have a negative impact on your EV’s range. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, running the AC on high can reduce the range of an electric vehicle by up to 25%.
Instead, try to use the AC conservatively and turn it off when it is not needed. Try pre-cooling the car before you enter, which can help reduce the amount of time needed to run the AC.
Monitor Tire Pressure
Electric vehicles require less maintenance than gas ones, so it’s easy to forget that they still need some attention.
Hot weather can cause your tires to expand, which can lead to overinflation and reduce an EV’s range. To prevent this, monitor the tire pressure regularly and adjust it as needed. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your EV in the owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s side door. While not a huge savings, keeping the tires inflated improves overall efficiency by about 3%, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Why not make every bit count?
Avoid Rapid Charging in Extreme Heat
While rapid charging can be convenient, it can also cause your battery to overheat in extreme heat. According to a study by the Idaho National Laboratory, charging an electric vehicle at high temperatures can cause the battery to degrade faster and lose capacity more quickly than charging at lower temperatures.
Whenever possible, avoid rapid charging an EV during the hottest part of the day or in extreme heat conditions. Instead, plan charging sessions for cooler times of day or use a slower charging method.
Maintain Your Electric Vehicle’s Cooling System
EV cooling systems are designed to keep the battery at a moderate temperature and prevent overheating. Regular maintenance is the key to ensuring your vehicle’s cooling system is working properly. Advice on how often to check the cooling system varies widely, but the general range is every 30,000 to 80,000 miles or every five years. This inspection should include checking the coolant levels, inspecting the cooling fans and replacing any worn or damaged parts.
The summer sun is lovely but definitely can take its toll on electric vehicles. Protect EVs from those hot rays all summer long. By taking the hot weather seriously, you can significantly improve your electric vehicle’s performance and longevity, throughout summer and beyond.
Kate Harrison is the co-founder and Head of Marketing at MoveEV, a first-of-its-kind EV transition company powered by an AI-backed green tech solution that helps organizations and municipalities convert fleet and employee-owned gas vehicles to electric and take advantage of federal, state and local tax incentives. With more than a decade of experience as a serial entrepreneur and seasoned marketer, Kate has worked with small businesses, nonprofits and government organizations to make the world a better place. She is a best-selling author, thought leader and frequent speaker at conferences and events, sharing her insights and experiences with others who are working to create a more sustainable future.