no, it does not drain 80% of your battery in very cold weather


“Heating at 21 degrees, immediately the air conditioning uses no less than 80% of the battery”. 80%? Really ? Let’s sort out the truth from the falsehood about the range of electric cars in winter.

Source: Unsplash

Imagine going on an adventure in the snowy regions of Norway, behind the wheel of an electric Hyundai Kona. This is exactly what he did a journalist from Turbo, on M6, driven by curiosity. His goal ? Testing the limits of an electric car’s range in the freezing cold, with the heater on full blast.

What was revealed seemed, at first glance, alarming: “ Heating at 21 degrees, immediately the air conditioning uses no less than 80% of the battery, so almost all the energy is dedicated to heating the passenger compartment, as a result the autonomy melts like snow in the sun “. This statement provoked strong reactions, let’s take a closer look at the facts.

Source: Turbo / M6

Already, this percentage of 80%, displayed on the meters, could seem astronomical, but it is crucial to understand the context. This measure was taken in a very specific case, during a descent where energy consumption for propulsion was minimal. It is an instantaneous measure. So, is it true that heating and cooling drain electric car batteries? The answer is reassuring.

The heat pump system

That’s right, the cold has an impact on consumption. But, it is not as devastating as people say.

The technology of heat pump, increasingly widespread in electric cars, is changing the situation. The Kona is also equipped with a heat pump. It allows efficient heating and cooling without drawing heavily on the battery. These systems are designed to maximize range, even in very cold weather.

The efficiency of a heat pump is such that it can significantly reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. In terms of consumption, we are far from the image of greedy heating initially evoked.

A heat pump allows to reduce heating energy consumption by 3 to 4 times compared to conventional resistances. Thus, this system finds its place within an electric car where autonomy is an important factor and where the heating of the passenger compartment can obviously influence it.

How much does a heat pump consume in cold weather?

Let’s take a concrete example. At -10 degrees Celsius, a heat pump might only need about 2 to 3 kWh to keep the interior warm, compared to 0.75 to 1.5 kWh at 0 degrees Celsius. Far from the 80% mentioned, right?

To further illustrate, consider the case of a Tesla Model 3, with an 80 kWh battery. If the heater consumes on average 1.36 kWh in the freezing cold (-8 degrees in this example), on the Tesla Model 3, this means that in theory you could stay warm for almost 59 hours on a full charge . It’s like spending two and a half days in your car, heating on, without moving!

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This little calculation shows us that electric cars, far from being chilly, are perfectly capable of standing up to the Nordic cold, especially if they are equipped with a heat pump.

This journey in an electric Hyundai Kona therefore reveals less of a weakness of electric cars than a lack of understanding of their operation and their advantages. It’s really a shame that these kinds of errors are still shown on TV. This casts a chill on the image of electric cars, sowing doubt where there is no need.






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