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AAA confirms which Tesla, BMW, Nissan EV owners suspected of cold weather



  Visitors look at a BMW i3 electric car during the Paris Motor Show October 14, 2014 in Paris, France

Chesnot | Getty Images

Visitors are looking at a BMW i3 electric car during the Paris Motor Show October 14, 2014 in Paris, France

There were several surprises that arose from the research, according to Brannon, beginning with the fact that the Influence on Reach was quite smooth among all five AAA tested batteries: BMW i3s, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S and Volkswagen e-Golf.

"That's something Car manufacturers are going to tackle when they push for further EV distribution because there is something that can surprise consumers," says Brannon.

Various factors can affect the loss of reach, he and others have Experts noted, just turning on electric vehicles, or EV, AAA studied in 20 degree weather revealed a 12 percent loss in range – on a vehicle like the Chevy Bolt, with an EPA rating of 238 miles per load, it would go down to 209 miles, but that part of the test was supposed to drive the vehicle with neither cabin heat nor even seat heaters turned on.

Climate control revealed an even greater surprise, according to Brannon, as a range reduced by an average of 41 percent – something that would bring an EV like the bolt down to just 140 miles of reach.

The problem is that unlike a car with an internal combustion engine that can heat the cabin with waste heat, EV's tape must enter the batteries to drive

Part of the problem, said the AAA director, is that "lithium ion batteries are the same temperatures we do, around 70 degrees."


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