In a recent study, data analytics company Recurrent has shed light on the potential effects of climate on the longevity of Tesla electric vehicle (EV) battery packs. Contrary to expectations, the study indicates that colder weather may be advantageous for the long-term health of these batteries, despite the well-known reduction in range that occurs in lower temperatures.
Recurrent has access to a vast dataset comprising over 12,500 Tesla vehicles in the United States, allowing for insightful analysis of EV battery performance. Previously, the company dispelled the myth that frequent Supercharging negatively impacts Tesla battery longevity. Now, their research delves into the impact of different climates on battery health.
To assess battery condition, Recurrent employs a “range score,” which represents the percentage of retained original range. For instance, a Range Score of 90 would signify that the battery pack retains 90% of its initial range.
Surprisingly, Recurrent's findings reveal that Tesla vehicles in colder and coastal climates, which are often associated with reduced range due to energy-intensive thermal management, tend to exhibit a better Range Score compared to those in hotter climates across the US.
The study offers an intriguing hypothesis to explain this phenomenon, drawing an analogy between battery aging and human aging. It suggests that, akin to how lifestyle choices can impact human health, battery health can be affected by environmental conditions. In this analogy, exposure to heat is likened to smoking cigarettes, as it contributes additional energy to electrochemical reactions within the battery. These reactions can accelerate unwanted chemical processes that prematurely age the battery. The generally accepted threshold for accelerated battery degradation is approximately 30 degrees Celsius or 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
This study adds a new dimension to our understanding of EV battery performance and suggests that while cold weather may reduce range, it might confer certain benefits in terms of battery longevity.