How does extreme weather affect EV battery performance?

Extreme hot and cold weather can impact battery performance in EVs.

In very cold weather (generally below freezing), the vehicle may need to use energy to heat the battery cells and this can reduce the vehicle’s driving range. That said, many EVs available today include technology that can collect heat from other parts of the vehicle during driving e.g. the electric motors, and use this heat to raise the temperature of the battery cells. Norway has a much colder climate than Australia, but currently leads the world with over 90% new cars being EVs. Clearly, EVs can perform well in cold conditions, but likely just will not drive as far as in warmer regions.

In very hot weather (~40 C), EV batteries can experience accelerated degradation. The extreme heat can cause battery systems to overheat which may damage cells and reduce the battery’s lifespan. Most new EVs have active thermal management systems that help to cool the battery cells and prolong battery life. This cooling uses additional energy which, in turn, can reduce driving range.