Effects of Regional Temperature on Electric Vehicle Efficiency, Range, and Emissions in the United States

Environmental Science & Technology (Web publication date Feb. 11, 2015; DOI: 10.1021/es505621s) / by Tugce Yuksel and Jeremy J Michalek (Free download with registration)

We characterize the effect of regional temperature differences on battery electric vehicle (BEV) efficiency, range, and use-phase CO2 emissions in the U.S. The efficiency of a BEV varies with ambient temperature due to battery efficiency and cabin climate control. We find that annual energy consumption of BEVs can increase by an average of 15% in the Upper Midwest or in the Southwest compared to the Pacific Coast due to temperature differences. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from EVs vary primarily with marginal regional grid mix – which has twice the GHG-intensity in the Upper Midwest as on the Pacific Coast. However, even within a grid region, BEV emissions vary by up to 22% due to spatial and temporal ambient temperature variation and its implications for vehicle efficiency and charging duration and timing. Cold climateEne regions also encounter days with substantial reduction in EV range: the average range of a Nissan Leaf on the coldest day of the year drops from 70 miles on the Pacific Coast to less than 45 miles in the Upper Midwest. These regional differences are large enough to affect adoption patterns and energy and environmental implications of BEVs relative to alternatives. [H/T: Green Car Congress]


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