How climate control settings are affecting my EV range in winter months

I always keep the automatic climate control set at approx 23-24 degrees in all my cars.

BHPian Shreyans_Jain recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

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:

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