Is It Safe To Drive Electric Vehicles In A Heatwave?

Like anything that’s new, unusual and unknown, electric vehicles are the subject of plenty of scrutiny. Are they safe in the rain? Can they drive through floodwater? Are they going to spontaneously combust? Today, it’s time to tackle the UK’s most elusive weather event – the heatwave. Let us explain how an EV will fare when the mercury rises.

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An electric car charges on a sunny day in a residential street

Do Outside Temperatures Affect EV Range?

Yes, and it can have a massive impact on the distance your car will go before it needs charging. However, the most significant losses in range actually come from cold temperatures, with a reduction of around 25% seen in some models!

That said, it doesn’t mean hot weather is all fun and games. The impact on your battery shouldn’t be as severe, but you can still expect a loss of range up to around 15% when the temperature hits 35 degrees celsius – although, when do we ever get that kind of heat here in the UK?

What Happens To An Electric Car’s Range In A Heatwave?

So, let’s say the temperature in the UK has hit the lofty heights of 35 degrees (or there about). What’s actually going to happen to the vehicle?

When it gets extremely hot, your EV’s battery will get hotter than usual (which is not a good thing in any car or van) and therefore, your vehicle will be fighting harder to keep itself cool. This often happens in the form of slower charging. Annoying, since the time it takes to ‘refuel’ an EV is already a major sticking point for those drivers unwilling to convert from combustion engine cars.

To make matters worse, your battery will also drain faster than it would in average weather conditions, in no small part because you’re going to have your air con on full blast. This in itself will be a huge drain the power your EV has stored up.

Why Does It Take So Long To Charge My EV In Summer?

Your electric vehicle will take longer to charge in hot weather because the battery needs to compensate for the added heat. As it charges, it’ll warm up anyway, so imagine trying to do that whilst it’s inside a metal box sitting under 30 degree heat!

Slowing down the charge will ensure the battery doesn’t get quite as warm, therefore ensuring that it doesn’t overheat and suffer any damage.

Are Electric Cars Safe In Hot Weather?

Yes, electric cars are safe in hot weather. Sure, they might charge slower, run out of battery faster, and are still susceptible to overheating just like regular cars, but they’re no more likely to explode, combust, melt, or anything else that you might have heard from the EV sceptic down your local.

What Temperature Is Too Hot For An EV? 

Just like a regular car, there are certain extreme temperatures that an EV will struggle in. As we mentioned above, research has found that 35 degrees celsius is when things start to get a bit too warm. To be fair, the same can be said for people, as well as their cars.

If the thermometer hits 35 or above, your battery will begin to struggle to hold its charge and it’ll replenish slower when plugged in. However, if you’re thinking more long-term, there is a slightly lower temperature that will have an impact on your battery over years rather than miles. Read on for more…

At What Temperature Does An EV Battery Degrade?

Following on from the previous section, let’s talk about battery degradation. The general consensus amongst experts and EV experts is that 30 degrees celsius is when batteries in electric vehicles will begin to wear down. Of course, this is not something that’s going to happen in the space of a couple of days, or even over the course of a single summer (especially with the weather we get over here in Britain).

How To Protect Your Electric Car In A Heatwave

There are a number of ways to do this, with most of them being relatively simple:

  • Climate control – Most EVs will have advanced climate control/air conditioning systems that should be made use of. Not only will they keep the occupants cool, they’ll also help reduce the temperature of the car itself.
  • Park in the shade – Choosing a savvy place to park in the summer will help your car cool down while not in use.
  • Charge to 80% – This seems unusual, but it’s surprisingly common advice when talking about EVs. Fully charging them isn’t necessarily the best idea, but in hot weather, the degradation that comes with ‘filling up’ to 100% becomes more of a worry.
  • Keep on top of maintenance – Don’t neglect your car throughout the rest of the year. Get it serviced when it’s due!

Ready to make the swap to electricity, or do you already have an EV that’s no better than scrap? Call Scrap Car Comparison and we can get you the best deals for it, offered by professional scrap & salvage dealers based in your local area. We’ll even arrange for the collection of your vehicle to be completed, totally free of charge, from anywhere on our network across the UK! Give us a call on 03333 44 99 50 or use our scrap value calculator to get a quote now!

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