Letter to the editor: EVs offer cool summer driving

Here’s good news for electric vehicle drivers who are afraid to use their air conditioning because it might reduce their EV’s driving range. A recent study by Recurrent Auto showed that use of AC in an electric vehicle has minimal effect on range up to outdoor temperatures of at least 85 degrees.

EV drivers know that cold weather reduces driving range — by up to 35% on some models. What is different about using air conditioning to cool the passenger compartment of your EV? The main reason is that on 85-degree days, cooling your car to a comfortable 70 degrees requires a change of only 15 degrees. In the winter, if the outdoor temperature is 20 degrees, you have to raise the inside temperature by 50 degrees, obviously requiring more energy. Another factor is that electric motors don’t generate waste heat, so your AC doesn’t have to offset that factor.

You can also reduce the effect of air conditioning on EV range by pre-cooling your car — turning on the air conditioning while it’s still plugged in. Parking in the shade helps, too.

So go ahead. If you are an EV driver, you can use your air conditioning to remain comfortable in the summer heat!

Spencer Putnam


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