Why does lithium battery performance deteriorate in winter?

In winter, the range of electric vehicles is much less than what the manufacturer has indicated, and some even reach more than one-third.

This starts with the principle of electric vehicle batteries. In winter, electric vehicles are parked outdoors, and low temperatures will directly affect the activity of lithium batteries. To restore the activity of batteries, electricity is needed to heat the batteries to restore the temperature, and this part of the electricity consumed is the part of the "shrinkage" of the range.

lithium-ion batteries

Generally speaking, the vast majority of electric vehicles and even electronic digital products on the market currently use lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly known as lithium batteries. Common electric vehicle lithium batteries are mainly lithium iron phosphate, lithium manganese oxide and ternary lithium batteries.

Like common batteries, lithium batteries are also divided into positive and negative electrodes, in which all lithium ions are stored in the positive electrode, while the negative electrode is composed of graphite (carbon). Between the positive and negative electrodes are electrolytes and diaphragms. The discharge process of lithium batteries is the movement of lithium ions from the negative electrode to the positive electrode, and the discharge of lithium batteries is used to provide the power required for the operation of various devices, including electric vehicles.

In low temperature environments, the main reason why electric vehicles have a shorter range is that extremely low temperatures affect the activity of lithium compounds. The most common compounds in lithium batteries are lithium iron phosphate, and lithium manganese oxide is also included. The activity of these compounds at different temperatures determines the range of electric vehicle lithium batteries at different temperatures.

For example, the most common lithium iron phosphate has a very good high temperature resistance, so it has the best discharge capacity in spring and summer between 20 and 40 degrees. However, in the winter in the north, as the temperature drops, the activity gradually decreases, and the discharge capacity will gradually decrease. Especially in the low temperature environment of minus 20 degrees, which is more common in the northeast, it will even be close to 50%.

As for why electric vehicles drop in range in winter, it is now clear. Too low temperature has a relatively large impact on the activity of both the positive and negative electrodes of lithium batteries. Therefore, the range of electric vehicles under low temperature conditions is obviously not as good as in other seasons.

In order to increase the activity of elements in lithium batteries, the temperature of the battery needs to be restored to the most suitable working temperature, so electric vehicle manufacturers will take some measures in the car to "keep warm" the lithium battery.

So to sum it up simply is: if an electric car is parked outdoors in winter or parked in a low temperature environment for a long time, the low temperature will directly affect the activity of the lithium battery. In order to restore the battery activity, electricity is needed to heat the battery and restore the temperature.

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