6 Essential Tips for Keeping Your EV Cool This Summer


India's scorching summer is here, with temperatures climbing past 45°C in many areas. While you might be reaching for a cool drink, your electric vehicle (EV) might be feeling the heat too! Research shows extreme heat can reduce an EV's driving range by up to 20%. 

EV summer driving tipsEV summer driving tips

Why the meltdown? Two main culprits:

  • Increased Air Conditioning Use: Combating the heat naturally leads to more reliance on air conditioning, which consumes significant battery power.
  • Impact on Battery Performance: High temperatures can directly affect battery efficiency, reducing the overall range achievable on a single charge.

The combination of these factors can significantly disrupt your summer driving experience. However, this guide offers practical solutions! We'll explore six essential tips to help you maintain optimal performance and comfort in your EV during the hot months. Our goal is to maximize your battery life and ensure efficient, enjoyable driving throughout the summer.

1) Utilize shade and preconditioning

Parking your electric vehicle (EV) in the shade can significantly mitigate the heat absorbed by your car. Studies show that on a sunny day, the temperature inside a vehicle parked in direct sunlight can increase by up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour. In contrast, vehicles parked in the shade during the same period see a rise of only 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This reduced temperature gain not only improves passenger comfort but also decreases the load on the air conditioning system.

Now let's talk a little about the preconditioning.

Preconditioning, an essential feature for electric vehicles, involves setting the vehicle's interior to a comfortable temperature before driving. This is achieved while the vehicle is still connected to the charger, utilizing grid electricity rather than draining the battery's stored energy. According to various studies, preconditioning can improve overall energy efficiency and reduce battery strain, which is pivotal during hot weather.

Some case studies and global data can help us understand this in a better way
  • In Germany, a trial with a fleet of EVs demonstrated that preconditioning increased the average range by about 10% during summer, as cars required less energy for cooling once on the road.
  • In India, data from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) suggests that proper shading and preconditioning practices can increase the effective range of EVs by up to 12%, particularly in cities like Delhi and Mumbai where temperatures often exceed 35°C (95°F) in summer.

Owners can also use mobile apps, which are increasingly common with modern EVs, to activate preconditioning. So whenever you have to use your vehicle, you can simply use your EV app to switch on the AC, which means you always enter your vehicle which will be at a comfortable temperature.

2) Optimize charging practices

Maintaining optimal battery health is crucial for the longevity and efficiency of electric vehicles (EVs), especially during the hotter months. Overheating can accelerate battery degradation, reducing its lifespan and performance. Adopting effective charging strategies can help mitigate these effects.

Adopt the 20/80 charging rule

One widely recommended strategy is the 20/80 charging rule, which suggests charging the battery only from 20% to 80% capacity. This approach can significantly prolong battery life:

Global studies suggest that following the 20/80 rule can extend battery life by up to 40% compared to regular charging to 100%. As per various research, lithium-ion batteries kept at a charge level between 20% and 80% retain their capacity for a longer period, exhibiting less than a 20% capacity loss over 500 charge cycles.

With average temperatures in India often soaring above 40°C in summers, the heat can have a severe impact on EV battery health. Indian EV manufacturers and experts recommend this charging practice to optimize battery efficiency and lifespan, essential in the country's climatic conditions.

3) Time your charging

The timing of charging sessions is another critical factor. Charging an EV immediately after driving, when the battery is still hot, can exacerbate thermal stress and degradation.

In cooler countries, like Sweden and Canada, EV owners are advised to charge their vehicles during the night to take advantage of lower temperatures and reduced electricity rates. This practice also helps in reducing grid stress during peak hours.

In Bangalore, a pilot study involving 50 EVs showed that shifting charging times to early morning or late evening reduced battery temperature spikes by an average of 15%. This shift not only preserved the battery health but also aligned with off-peak electricity tariffs, reducing charging costs by approximately 10%.

Additional steps that can be taken involve using smart chargers and introducing cooling systems
  • Use of smart chargers: Implementing smart charging technology can automate the charging process, ensuring that charging occurs during optimal times and within the recommended charge levels. Smart chargers can adjust the charging rate based on battery temperature, further protecting against heat damage.
  • Cooling systems: For EVs operating in particularly hot climates, like in many parts of India, manufacturers are increasingly integrating advanced cooling systems to manage battery temperature effectively during charging and operation.

By incorporating these strategies, EV owners can significantly reduce the impact of heat on their vehicles, ensuring better performance and longer battery life even during the challenging summer months.

4) Adjust driving habits

Driving habits significantly influence the temperature of the battery and the overall performance of electric vehicles (EVs). By modifying how you drive, you can enhance your EV's efficiency and extend its battery life during hot weather. By adopting simple processes or habits, the battery life or EV life can be enhanced like not doing sudden acceleration or driving in Eco-mode.

Sudden acceleration leads to significant energy drawn from the battery, which can cause it to heat up quickly. In city traffic conditions prevalent in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, it's advisable to accelerate smoothly to prevent rapid battery heating.

For Indian EV drivers, leveraging Eco mode not only conserves energy but also helps in managing the extensive heat, especially in the peak summer months from April to July.

In Norway, a country with one of the highest per capita rates of EV ownership, drivers are encouraged to use driving modes that optimize battery life. Data from the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association shows that drivers using Eco mode can extend their vehicle's range by an average of 10% during warmer months.

5) Limit the use of fast charging stations

When discussing how to beat the heat in your electric vehicle (EV) during the summer, it's crucial to consider the impact of charging methods on your EV's battery health. Fast charging, especially under high temperatures, can significantly affect battery efficiency and longevity. Here's an expanded look at why limiting the use of fast charging stations during summer can benefit your EV.

Impact of fast charging on battery temperature

Fast charging stations, often referred to as DC fast-charging, can charge an EV's battery to 80% in approximately 30 minutes. However, this convenience comes at a cost. Fast charging generates a considerable amount of heat. According to a study by the Idaho National Laboratory, battery temperatures can rise by 6 to 10 degrees Celsius during a fast charging session under normal conditions. During summer, this effect is exacerbated by ambient temperatures, which can further stress the battery.

Global data on battery health and charging

Research indicates that when the battery temperature in an EV exceeds 30 degrees Celsius, the rate of battery degradation accelerates. A study conducted across various geographic locations found that in climates where the temperature frequently tops 30 degrees Celsius, such as in many parts of India, battery capacity can degrade twice as fast as in cooler regions. Specifically, data from Battery University suggests that maintaining a battery's temperature between 20 to 25 degrees Celsius can extend its life by up to 25%.

To mitigate the summer impact on the EV's, it is advisable for EV owners to:

  • Prefer AC charging during summer months, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Use DC fast-charging sparingly, particularly when the ambient temperature is high.
  • Park and charge the vehicle in shaded or cool areas whenever possible to assist in keeping the battery temperature lower.

6) Implement in-car temperature control techniques

To effectively beat the heat in your electric vehicle (EV) this summer, it's crucial to implement strategies that enhance comfort while maintaining efficiency. Utilizing in-car features such as sunshade windshield covers and pre-cooling the cabin through remote activation can provide significant benefits. Here's how you can make these strategies work effectively:

Sunshade windshield covers
  • Functionality: Sunshade covers reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the vehicle's interior. This simple accessory can reduce cabin temperature by up to 15°C on a sunny day.
  • Global data: According to a study by the Department of Energy (DOE) in the United States, using sunshades can reduce the interior surface temperatures by 11-15°C, which translates into lower ambient temperatures inside the car.
Pre-cooling the cabin
  • Efficiency improvement: Pre-cooling your EV while it's still plugged in can improve overall energy efficiency. This practice uses power from the grid rather than the battery, preserving the battery's charge for driving rather than cooling.
  • Indian case study: In regions like Delhi, where summer temperatures can soar up to 45°C, pre-cooling has proven to significantly enhance the driving experience. A pilot study observed that pre-cooling EVs 10 minutes before departure reduced the cabin temperature by approximately 8°C, leading to about 3% conservation of battery charge over typical trips.

Integrating these techniques not only enhances your comfort but also contributes to the efficient operation of your EV during hot weather, ultimately preserving battery life and reducing the frequency of charges needed. By understanding and utilizing these in-car temperature control strategies, drivers can ensure a cooler, more pleasant driving experience even during the peak of summer.