Combustion engine cars and electric cars perform less as temperatures rise and travel less distance. In short, all cars cannot handle the heat, but the reasons are different.
Temperatures may rise to tropical values next week, but cars don’t like that. In combustion engines, the decrease in performance is due to the fact that warm air is less dense than cold air. As a result, warm air contains less oxygen, and because a combustion engine needs oxygen to ignite the fuel, less oxygen means less powerful combustion and therefore less energy.
The importance of cold oxygen is demonstrated by the increased power provided by the so-called intercooler. Turbofans pump extra air into the engine via a rapidly rotating paddle wheel, but because this air gets warm, the effect is not ideal. This is why many turbo engines have an intercooler, which cools the air and results in much better performance.
However, an intercooler turbo engine – just like a regular car engine – is not insensitive to extreme heat. Sometimes the loss of power is noticeable. Especially when driving far when the car has been in the sun for a long time. The decrease in the amount of usable oxygen also has an impact on consumption. The downside is that on cold mornings you recover this ‘loss’ partly because the engines perform better than average – and the Netherlands has more of that.
Air conditioning also reduces performance
Not only the engine, but also the air conditioning causes additional consumption and decreased performance during the summer. In cars with light engines, the drop in power is noticeable as soon as the air conditioning is turned on. This is because the air conditioning pump is often connected directly to the engine, so the engine has to work harder.
Up to 17 percent less range in heat
With electric cars, it’s mainly the range that suffers on tropical days. The American Automobile Association (AAA), which says charging times are increasing and that range can be up to 17 percent lower in outside temperatures of 35 degrees. Unlike combustion engines, you can’t make up for this loss on cold days, because batteries perform less well even in cold weather.
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