New study reveals surprising effect of cold weather on Tesla battery longevity: ‘Does the same apply to other brands?’

While lower temperatures have typically been associated with lower performance for electric vehicle batteries, a new study outlined by Electrek has revealed that cold weather might actually be a good thing for the long-term health of those batteries.

Recurrent, a clean tech startup that researches electric vehicle technology, released some data on the 12,500 Teslas it is currently tracking and found that those in colder and coastal climates retained their battery life better than those in warmer climates.

Recurrent assigned each vehicle a Range Score, which shows how much of its original capacity each battery retained since Recurrent began tracking it (an unspecified period of time). The sample of 2020 Model Ys in warmer climates averaged a Range Score of 92, whereas the ones in colder climates averaged a Range Score of 95.

Earlier this year, Tesla was fined $2.2 million by the government of South Korea for failing to tell its customers that battery ranges would be shorter in colder temperatures. But for the affected customers, things might work out for them in the long term as their batteries may degrade slightly less over time.

Recurrent explained the phenomenon somewhat, writing, “Environmental heat contributes extra energy to the electrochemical reactions in the battery, which can accelerate unwanted chemical reactions that age the battery prematurely.”

Another recent study found that Tesla batteries are not as affected by frequent Supercharging as was previously thought.

“Interesting. For the lower degradation in colder climates, that makes sense. All electro-chemical processes slow at lower temperatures, so degradation should as well,” one Electrek commenter wrote. “Concerning the lack of degradation from Supercharging, more data is needed. Does the same apply to other brands?”

“The data is really starting to show that the way to kill lithium batteries is through heat. This points to a robust thermal management system being the key component of any EV when it comes to long term reliability,” another commenter wrote.

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