MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The American Automobile Association, or AAA, says electric vehicle owners need to charge their cars more frequently when the weather reaches below freezing.

New research conducted by AAA revealed that when temperatures dip to 20 degrees Fahrenheit and a driver uses heat to warm up their car, the driving range of the vehicle decreases by 41 percent.

This could prove to be dangerous for some drivers — potentially causing them to become stranded in extreme weather.

“As long as drivers understand that there are limitations when operating electric vehicles in more extreme climates, they are less likely to be caught off guard by an unexpected drop in driving range,” explained Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group.

The driving range of electric cars is not only impacted in cold climates, but in extremely hot environments too.

AAA’s research also found that when temperatures reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit and a driver uses air conditioning to cool their car, the driving range of the vehicle decreases by 17 percent.

“The research clearly shows that electric vehicles thrive in more moderate climates, except the reality is most Americans live in an area where temperature fluctuates,” said Megan McKernan, manager of Automotive Research Center. “Automakers are continually making advances to improve range, but with this information, drivers will be more aware of the impacts varying weather conditions can have on their electric vehicles.”

In times of extreme heat or cold AAA recommends that drivers:

  • Park car in a garage
  • Locate charging stations ahead of time
  • Make time to ‘pre-heat’ or cool down your vehicle before you leave

To read AAA’s full report click here.