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Drivers say electric vehicle batteries perform worse amid cold weather

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — This brutal cold isn’t just hard on our bodies, it can kill your car, or make it impossible to fire it up in the first place.

It’s especially tough for folks with electric vehicles.

In weather like this, Jonathan Rosenberg from Edina says he needs to get behind the wheel of his Tesla with a plan.

“When you get really cold weather and some high winds, you definitely get some significant loss of range for sure,” he said. “Maybe even over 25% I would say.”

Rosenberg was charging his car at the Tesla supercharging station in St. Louis Park Tuesday.

“It definitely dies a lot faster,” said Savanah LeFlore, who was also charging.

MORE NEWS: Does the cold have your furnace in a funk? Here’s what you need to check.

This happens to electric vehicles because the chemical reactions powering the battery slow down.

Keeping the heat on inside the car also takes up battery life.


A helpful feature on Teslas is that the car will tell drivers if there isn’t enough battery life to reach the destination in the GPS.

Drivers say the cold can slow down the charging too, which costs money and time.

“I would say I’m spending $25-to-30 every other day [charging],” LeFlore said.

The cold can drain the battery on a regular car too.

Wilson Halley, the owner of Wilson’s Auto World in Minneapolis, says they sold the most batteries they ever have in one day this weekend.


Halley says if you notice your car starting slow, it’s a good time to get the battery replaced and a good opportunity for a tune-up.

“Never too late,” he said. “It’s a good way to get an evaluation. Give the car a once-over. See how everything’s going.”

Car emergency kits including jumper cables or a jumper pack are critical when it’s this cold too.

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