Temperature outside and in is a factor
One general rule is that electric cars’ range and consumption are more affected by temperature than cars with an internal combustion engine. The outside temperature affects both the efficiency of the traction battery itself and, of course, the need to heat or cool the interior. And that cooling or heating, by the way, is not accounted for in the test cycle. “For the traction battery itself, the ideal working temperature (inside the cell modules) is between about 10 and 35°C. At higher temperatures, battery cooling will already be activated by a high-voltage air conditioner, which consumes electricity. At lower temperatures, due to the nature of the chemical processes in the Li-ion cells that happen more slowly, the battery’s charging and discharging capacity is gradually reduced, which in turn reduces recuperation efficiency, for example. At sub-zero temperatures, the battery there needs to be actively heated again (using high-voltage water heating),” explains David Pekárek from ŠKODA’s High Voltage Energy Systems department.
Electric cars’ range is influenced by several factors, among then the drivers and their driving style.
And then factors such as air conditioning and heating come into play. “Sunny spring or autumn weather is ideal for an electric car, when the sun has just enough energy to warm the interior to a comfortable temperature without the need for heating or air conditioning, and the traction battery will not require active heating or cooling,” Pekárek and Beneš add. Of course, the battery is also affected by the driving style: hard-braking, hard-acceleration driving can heat up the battery so much that it will need to be cooled even in otherwise cold weather. So the driver himself can affect consumption considerably – in addition to intensive acceleration and deceleration, high driving speeds also have a negative effect.
The recommendation is to charge all-electric cars’ batteries to 80% in normal circumstances.
You can find out roughly how different factors affect an electric car’s range by using ŠKODA’s smart range calculator. Simply choose your car (currently you can find the different versions of the ENYAQ iV, including the ENYAQ COUPÉ iV) and enter the following conditions: season, environment in which the car is mainly driven (city, out of town, motorway), driving style (eco-friendly, normal, sporty) and the number of people in the car. You can also enter the desired temperature in the car’s interior.
What’s more, the ever-improving charging infrastructure and the sufficient range of electric cars mean that driving across Europe is now almost as convenient as travelling in a car with an internal combustion engine. Proof of this can be found in ŠKODA Storyboard’s My ENYAQ iV series, for example, in which the proud owners of this ŠKODA electric car share their experiences. German couple Martin and Evita drove their electric car for around 3,000 kilometres during their holiday in France and Switzerland, and Martin says: “Driving 300 kilometres in one go on the motorway is no problem, even if you’re going quite fast.” Swiss owner Christian agrees: “I drive the way I like to drive. The range is ideal for us, I think it’s fine to take a 20-minute or 30-minute break every 300 or 350 kilometres on longer journeys,” says the owner of an ENYAQ iV his family have named Jarvis.
So EV range doesn’t have to be a major limitation, even if the values measured on the WLTP cycle may not be easy for everyone to achieve in practice.