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Old 29th December 2023, 12:35   #1
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Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Winter has well and truly set in and Delhi is currently experiencing a cold spell. While cold weather truly brings out the best of an ICE car, the effect is the opposite with EVs.

My Nexon EV LR has done about 7000km. The car was initially averaging approx 130wh/km, giving a total range of 280-300km on a full charge. 240-250 on highway drives.

Over the past month, this energy consumption has increased to 150-155wh/km, and the range has dropped to 230-250km. On highway drives, the car is barely doing 200km nowadays, effectively needing charging every 150kms. The LR (long range) has turned into MR (medium range) for all practical purposes.

Same car, same set of drivers, same road and traffic conditions. So what changed? The weather! I always keep the automatic climate control set at approx 23-24 degrees in all my cars. Comfortable and cozy at all times, irrespective of the season. Which means regular use of the heater in winter months. While the heater runs off the engine’s heat through the coolant of an ICE car, it is electric in an EV. And resistance heating just guzzles electricity.

The energy consumption by the climate control system used to be 3-4% initially, when just the AC was in use. Nowadays, when the temperatures are in single digits all night and rarely go above teens, it is as much as 23% One fourth of the battery is going into just keeping the cabin warm! Furthermore, the system also runs the AC compressor simultaneously to keep the windscreen fog free, which adds to the load. If I brave the conditions the old fashioned way and switch the climate control off entirely, average consumption drops to 120-125 wh/km.

We’ve all read about people complaining about range dropping in winter months in Europe. I never imagined the drop would be this much in Delhi winters. It keeps getting worse progressively as it gets colder. Owners must keep this in mind when calculating range and planning their journey during winter months. This factor is also critical for prospective buyers for the LR vs MR decision.

Manufacturers should seriously consider providing heat pump based heating in EVs for India. Bulk of EV sales happen in north India, and this is really important in our part of the world.

Sharing snapshot of yesterday’s driving data from the Z Connect app.
Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months-img_5470.jpeg

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 29th December 2023 at 12:44.
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Old 29th December 2023, 14:19   #2
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re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Quite the opposite in Bangalore winter weather. I know it’s hardly a comparison

I used to average 120-130whkm on my Tiago in the summer and following months. This November and December I am averaging 100-105whkm. AC usage has almost stopped as the normal fan circulation is cool enough.
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Old 29th December 2023, 16:10   #3
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re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain View Post
Winter has well and truly set in and Delhi is currently experiencing a cold spell. While cold weather truly brings out the best of an ICE car, the effect is the opposite with EVs.
Yes, EVs use a resistance based heater because there is no heat energy generated by the motor like the IC engine. The solution (which is not ideal by any means) - I am using is to switch off the ACC and keeping the fan on speed 2 with internal circulation mode. I know it is not toasty warm inside the car but it is not super cold as well. During the evening/night time, if the front windscreen frosts up, I use the max defrost intermittently. With this I am getting 105wh/km


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Originally Posted by mally2 View Post
Quite the opposite in Bangalore winter weather. I know its hardly a comparison

I used to average 120-130whkm on my Tiago in the summer and following months. This November and December I am averaging 100-105whkm. AC usage has almost stopped as the normal fan circulation is cool enough.
That is the boon of living in a city which doesn't have extreme temps.
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Old 29th December 2023, 17:26   #4
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re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Quote:
Originally Posted by ferrarirules View Post
Yes, EVs use a resistance based heater because there is no heat energy generated by the motor like the IC engine. The solution (which is not ideal by any means) - I am using is to switch off the ACC and keeping the fan on speed 2 with internal circulation mode. I know it is not toasty warm inside the car but it is not super cold as well. During the evening/night time, if the front windscreen frosts up, I use the max defrost intermittently. With this I am getting 105wh/km

.
Some EVs use heat pump to heat the cabin, seats and battery. But they don't work well below a certain temperature like single digit and below. But is far more efficient then using resistive heater. A well designed heat pump can take 1kw of electricity and convert it to 4kw of heat vs resistive heater that converts 1kw of electricity to 1kw of heat.

Electric motor do produce lot of heat, the coolant temperature coming out of the motor and controller can be as high as 60 Celsius during deep acceleration or climbing a hill or towing, while the IC engine coolant outlet temperature is 95 C to 105 C by just idling.
If Tata was smart they should have used a seperate heat exchanger that uses the heat of the motor and controller to aid in heating the cabin, similar to IC cars.

Some EVs like Tesla use the motor to heat up the battery by using a oil to coolant heat exchanger. They heat up the motor without actually allowing the rotor to rotate, by locking the magnetic field in the stator, this is done because the Heat pump cannot work at sub zero temperature.
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Old 30th December 2023, 14:14   #5
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re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Quote:
Originally Posted by ferrarirules View Post
The solution (which is not ideal by any means) - I am using is to switch off the ACC and keeping the fan on speed 2 with internal circulation mode. I know it is not toasty warm inside the car but it is not super cold as well.
Fiddling with the ACC settings is not really practical or feasible in the Nexon EV on the move, with its touch based climate control. It is not intuitive at all. Making changes requires taking your eyes off the road, as well as multiple presses. Better to set the temperature and just leave it in auto mode. Especially if the car is being shared between the family, as not everyone is proficient or adaptable to new technology.

Honestly, this would have been much less of a hassle with physical buttons and dials.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 30th December 2023 at 14:16.
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Old 30th December 2023, 22:30   #6
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re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Adding on to the car heater being power hungry - in western countries LFP batteries have been reported to reduce in range with cold weather and the batteey charging in terms of time and rate of charge too gets adversely affected with low temperatures.
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Old 31st December 2023, 05:44   #7
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re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

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Originally Posted by Sandegov View Post
Adding on to the car heater being power hungry - in western countries LFP batteries have been reported to reduce in range with cold weather and the batteey charging in terms of time and rate of charge too gets adversely affected with low temperatures.
My observation has been no reduction in charging speeds or any extra charging time on account of cold weather. I had taken the car to Theog, where it was fast charged in 1 degree C temperature at night twice. Even there, it charged at normal speeds. Perhaps this is because Nexon EV charging speed is capped at 30kw, and the effect comes into play at higher loads. Can MG or Hyundai EV owners corroborate this point?

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 31st December 2023 at 05:45.
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Old 31st December 2023, 09:27   #8
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re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

It's not the charging speed per se, it's that the battery needs to be at optimal temprature ( just like ICE engines) to perform efficiently.

In colder climates the car batteries are also warmed up on EVs by the circulating coolant which in turn consumes more power. There are lot of articles and road tests in Autocar UK where they specifically test range in their frigid winters which show more consumption.

So, to summarise the battery efficiency will be upto 10 to 20% less during winter months. This is normal expected behaviour.

P.S : our Tiago tigor EVs average 120 to 130kwh in crawling Trivandrum traffic with its sweltering temprature. Ac is always at 23 to 25 degrees setting( outside temprature 35 ). This I feel is standard consumption in choc a block inclined road conditions and reasonably brisk driving of ours in Trivandrum.

Last edited by Nanolover : 31st December 2023 at 09:32.
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Old 31st December 2023, 11:10   #9
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Re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Would seek opinion on Kona please. If anyone can share whether Kona has battery temperature management and how it works.
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Old 31st December 2023, 11:19   #10
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Re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Based on my experience with my Comet, I have been logging in each and every detail since I took delivery on 11th November 2023. The average distance I have covered till yesterday (30th December) for the 30 days of December is 88 kms. The range and SOC is the same as it has been. A drop of 1% for every 2 kms driven. I always drive with the windows up. With the temperature having dropped suddenly in the last couple of days (I reside at Delhi), I have the heater ON at all times. Due to its small passenger cabin, the windscreen tends to fog up, directing air towards the dashboard front vents does the trick very effectively in defogging the windshield.
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Old 31st December 2023, 11:58   #11
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Re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Hence proved go old fashioned way of switching off heater/ac to get max range in EVs as we all are doing with ICE vehicles for ages. Manufacturers should come up with a software based solution like winter mode or summer mode to get best of both worlds ie range & comfort.
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Old 31st December 2023, 17:46   #12
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Re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

In Mumbai, it is the opposite!
I get much better efficiency in Winters than summers. In summer months especially April-June my consumption is around 160 wh/km. In winters it is around 120 wh/km
All conditions remain the same - The traffic, AC at 22.5

I think this is because the ambient temperature of EVs is around 22-25C which is what Mumbai is at during winters.
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Old 31st December 2023, 18:37   #13
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Re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

On the contrary I have never got below 160-175 wh/km in summers with AC on all time and car driven like any regular ICE car by both me and my driver. The car faces really bad traffic most times in Karol Bagh (Delhi) and my normal consumption was more than 200 wh/km. In winters I have started getting 130-135 wh/km from last 5-6 cycles.

Last edited by prateekchanana : 31st December 2023 at 18:51.
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Old 5th January 2024, 16:43   #14
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Re: Effect of climate control on EV range in the winter months

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain View Post
Nowadays, when the temperatures are in single digits all night and rarely go above teens, it is as much as 23% One fourth of the battery is going into just keeping the cabin warm!
Exactly what is happening with my Nexon EV MR. Earlier I used to get ~210 km easily during summer months, with AC on all the time. For a brief period during Delhi Autumn (October - November), the range further went up ~230km due to lesser use of AC.

And now in the cold wave days am barely reaching 180-190km before the battery reaches the danger zone.

Resistance heating related loss was expected, but didn't think it will bring down the range like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandegov View Post
Adding on to the car heater being power hungry - in western countries LFP batteries have been reported to reduce in range with cold weather and the batteey charging in terms of time and rate of charge too gets adversely affected with low temperatures.
Have been reading about this on many forums. But I do notice that when I drive with the climate OFF, I reach 115-120 Wh/km which is very similar, if not less than the summer months (without AC). So the cold weather impact on Nexon battery seems not significant.

What is working for me is that the moment I get inside the car, I switch on the ECO mode on, and once the air becomes toasty enough, I switch off the climate and continue the drive. This is working for me.

The Pulse and Glide just got a new definition.

Last edited by KingAlec : 5th January 2024 at 17:03. Reason: Clarified the AC ON OFF factor in summer months
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Old 5th January 2024, 17:08   #15
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The reason for this is not that the battery chemistry is affected which is giving you less range . The reason is that to warm up the car (which I assume people in Delhi are doing) the method used is resistive heating which consumes a lot of electrical energy and converts that to heat. It is an inefficient way of working. You need a heat pump as an efficient way of warming up the car (reverse of ac), but in India manufacturers do not install it as it impacts only some people for maybe just 2.5 months at max.

https://www.volkswagen.co.uk/en/elec...%20heat%20pump.

Here is an article if you like to read more

Last edited by Sheel : 5th January 2024 at 22:46. Reason: Please edit or multi-quote (QUOTE+) your replies instead of back to back posts. Thanks.
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