The range of electric vehicles can fall by up to a quarter when made to carry heavy loads, according to a study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) on Ford’s EV pickup truck F-150 Lightning.
Greg Brannon, director of AAA Automotive Engineering, pointed out that though the test revealed a “significant range reduction,” it was done with the EV loaded near its maximum capacity.
Winter ImpactEVs not only lose range when carrying heavy loads, but they also lose it during winter conditions. In December 2022, EV insight firm Recurrent published research on range loss among electric vehicles during freezing conditions, finding that the loss of range can go up to 35 percent.
Recurrent explained why EVs lose range in winter by comparing it with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. ICEs turn all the energy that they don’t use into “waste heat,” or lost energy. During cold weather, this energy can be redirected from the engine to warm the cabin.
“On the other hand, an EV has a much more efficient motor which does not generate as much heat. In the cold, available motor heat is routed to warm the battery itself, meaning that cabin heating requires a power source. Cabin heaters generally draw from the high voltage battery, reducing how much battery is left for driving,” it said.
Comparing 13 popular EV models in freezing versus 70 degrees Fahrenheit temperature, Recurrent found that Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Chevy Bolt all lost 30 percent or more range in colder conditions.
EV Ownership ChallengesIn addition to range issues, EVs also pose multiple other challenges for owners, like the cost of batteries. EV batteries usually come with manufacturer warranties of eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever is earlier.
The cost of replacing an EV battery ranges from more than $15,000 for a Tesla to over $23,000 for a VW e-Golf. So, people who own used EVs or plan to buy one might end up in a tough spot if the battery were to malfunction.
“That cost was around $0.31 cheaper than the amount paid by mid-priced EV drivers charging mostly at home, and over $3 less than the cost borne by comparable EV drivers charging commercially.”
“The lithium comes from one place, and it’s all processed in China. So, just building the alternate processing infrastructure … and by the way, we have to invade Russia too … just to get the materials to do EVs at scale is just laughable for the next decade. We need a new technological series of breakthroughs in material sciences before that is possible,” he said.