The physical meaning of low mileage is that an Electric Vehicle’s battery is delivering less range than expected. Everyone wants their electric vehicle to go further. And it doesn’t matter how far our Electric Vehicle can go; we always want that extra mile.
“Range” refers to the distance an electric vehicle can travel before the battery needs to be recharged. Range is considered as a key parameter of electric vehicles. Increasing electric vehicles range is important for acceptance of electro mobility. Battery capacity is the main parameter influencing electric vehicles range.
The range of electric vehicles (EVs) varies greatly – depending on key factors like the weight and size of the car, battery size and electric motor specification. But also things like the driving style, terrain and local climate of a particular journey do influence Electric Vehicle range. With the right insights into what affects EV range, we will also be able to conserve power and extend the distance we can travel even further.
Why EV Range decreases?
The range of an Electric vehicle decreases due to decrease in battery efficiency which is discussed in detail below.
As the EV battery decreases in efficiency, it has to use more of its stored energy to power the vehicle for the same distance. By using more energy, it heats up even more. This continues the vicious cycle while robbing the lithium battery of its own energy and cutting into electric vehicle’s range.
Factors That Affect Electric Vehicle Range:
- Speed & Driving Style
Driving at high speeds reduces the electric car’s efficiency. The reason for this is the faster you drive, the more work the electric motor has to do.
If you are fast on the accelerator and late on the brakes, this will also use up far more energy, thereby decreasing range.
- Wind Resistance
Another factor that affects electric vehicle range is wind–headwind that is. The higher the headwinds, the more resistance the vehicle experiences, therefore, the motor has to work harder to combat the negative effect.
Like wind, the more payload the more the motor has to work to offset the weight. There is minimal data to, again, quantify this as a percent decrease per payload weight. However, it is
safe to say the more passengers and cargo you load into the vehicle, the less efficient the EV will be and thus the lesser range.
- Driving Terrain & Tire Traction
The topography of the land also affect how far an EV can drive on a single charge. Powering up steep inclines uses up more energy than driving on flat terrain.
Poor tire traction results in less efficiency. The three factors that contribute to tire traction are tire quality, tire inflation, and road conditions. If you are driving an EV with tires that are at the end of their life and the roads are wet from rain, then you can expect the range to slightly decrease.
- Extreme Weather Conditions
The cold ambient weather is unfriendly to electric cars. This is because they need to operate at a neutral temperature. Excessive cold, or excessive heat, will result in loss of range.
During cold ambient temperatures, the battery will need to use energy to heat itself up. With an ICE vehicle, the engine block creates a vast amount of heat (that is wasted to the environment), which can heat up the cabin, fuel, or other vehicle parts and functions. Naturally, the ICE vehicle warms itself up for optimal operation. With an EV, that heat needed to warm essential parts and functions must be created using energy from the battery.
Below 30 degrees, the range loss becomes more apparent. Electric cars experience a range loss of 12% in 20 degree F temperatures. And that is with the HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) off. This leads to the next factor that affect electric vehicle range–HVAC.
Cycle life @ 45° Celsius
- Battery Degradation
Over time, the battery slowly loses its capacity. Battery degradation is a natural process that permanently reduces the amount of energy a battery can store, or the amount of power it can deliver. EVs experience around 2% of battery capacity loss per year. There are many factors that contribute to this degradation.
A battery’s condition is called its state of health (SOH). Batteries start their life with 100% SOH and over time they deteriorate. For example, a 60 kWh battery that has 90% SOH would effectively act like a 54 kWh battery.