Do Electric Cars Get Hot? (Explained)

Electric cars are gaining prime interest these days. However, just like in gas-powered cars, your electric car’s heat components demand knowledge and attention.

If you are planning to get an electric car, or you have gotten it already, and want to know the details about their compatibility to heat, you are on the right page.

In this article, we will explore if electric cars get hot and overheat, the similarities and differences between the temperature of the gas and electric cars, how electric cars react to weather, and others.

Here’s the answer to whether electric cars get hot:

Electric cars get hot, but not as hot as cars with internal combustion engines. The battery pack, electric motors, brakes, and climate control systems all produce heat and get hot, which is why manufacturers use a series of cooling systems to maintain their temperature.

Do Electric Cars Run Hot and Overheat?

Electric cars can run hot and overheat. According to experts, the normal temperature for cars is between 195 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cars that have a higher temperature than 220 degrees Fahrenheit are overheating and need attention. So far, there have been cases of electric cars running hot and reaching a temperature beyond 220 degrees.

This is because, in certain cases, the heat the batteries generate can be too much for the cooling system to handle.

The cooling system maintains the temperature of the electronic motor (s) and other heat-generating components. However, in some cases, the cooling system may not handle the heat because of some factors.

These factors differ in cars.

Check here how warm weather affects electric cars.

Factors That Causes Electric Cars to Overheat

Here are factors that can cause electric cars to overheat:

  • Tropical environments which cause the car to struggle with cooling down quickly.
  • The improper use of the car by owners, especially when car owners don’t consider not all electric cars can run consistently over a long period.
  • The lack of ventilation where hot air cannot escape from the electric motor.
  • Wrong installation of the motor, where the motor is too large or too small for the car.
  • The pattern of charging in the cases of overcharging. This can include charging up to 4 times a day.
  • Driving patterns, which include driving at top speed without breaks, etc.

Over time, the build-up of heat from the listed factors can lead to overheating when the heat cannot find a means of escape from the car. How hot the electric car can get depends on the car model, age of the vehicle, driving pattern, and others.

Also, older and mismanaged electric cars may overheat quicker compared to new and properly managed electric cars when owners expose them to the factors we listed above.

Can the Motor Overheat and Get Damaged?

The motor can overheat and get damaged. In fact, one of the common factors responsible for motor damage in electric cars is overheating.

According to EASA, the higher the temperature of a motor, the lower the lifespan will be. It further states that every 10 degrees Celsius increase in the operating temperature of a motor reduces the expected life by 50%.

Conversely, if there is a reduction by 10 degrees in the operating temperature, then the expected life of the motor doubles.

There have been many cases of motor overheating in electric cars. However, one of the common factors of overheating in the motor is overload. Overload can occur because of load variation in the car components and other factors. Whichever it may be, overload can cause the motor to overheat and damage it.

Also, according to experts, electric car motors best operate between the temperature of 59 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the driving range reduces in chilly weather, while the danger of overheating increases in extremely hot weather.

Thus, hot weather can cause the motor to overheat and suffer serious damage if you continue driving the car without allowing the motor to cool down.

Another common factor is the stress that overcharging over a long period causes to the battery. This can cause the motor of your car to overheat. While rapid charging is quick and convenient, it is detrimental to the health of your battery and can eventually damage it.

In many cases, the damage to the motor by overheating begins with an insulation breakdown. According to All Test Pro, 56% of engine damage originates from electric insulation damage, and over 50% of insulation failures in electric cars are because of overheating.

Overheating plays a huge role in degrading the lifespan of motors. Over time, the degradation can lead to short circuits and leakages, then eventually failure. Note that motor failure can occur when driving and cause the vehicle to shut down unexpectedly. This may cause accidents in some cases.

Therefore, owners should take care of any overheating problems their cars may develop as soon as they can.

Do Electric Cars Get Hot Like Gas Cars?

Electric cars don’t get hot like gas cars. In most cases, electric cars generate a paltry amount of heat in contrast to gas cars. So far, there have been rare cases of electric cars overheating to an extent where coolants boil or dangerous things happen, unlike in gas cars.

Gas cars rely on temperature regulation that coolants and airflow provide to cool the engine. The water pump powers the coolant to pass the liquid through many passages of the engine.

During this process, your gas car coolant absorbs heat from the engine and releases it through the radiator system.

In electric cars, the thermal system cools the battery packs and some electronics. The thermal system includes a combination of forced air cooling, liquid cooling, and thermoelectric cooling.

Auto-makers designed the electric car cooling system differently from gas cars because they don’t generate heat as much as gas cars do.

While heat is the primary energy source in gas cars, it is a waste product in electric cars.

Gas vehicles need heat to produce a volume of compressed gases which produces mechanical energy that makes them function. This causes gas cars to generate more heat than electric cars. From research, unlike an electric car that produces around 10% heat, gas cars produce around 80% heat to work.

So far, the amount of heat gas cars can generate makes it possible for gas cars to get extremely hot in contrast to electric cars.

According to J.D. Power, a gas car can get as hot as 1400 degrees Fahrenheit, while Get Jerry reports that electric cars have an operating temperature 113 degrees Fahrenheit. 

However, note that in gas cars, overheating at very high temperatures can be because of a defect in the engine/cooling components. Every case of overheating should get urgent attention from car owners as soon as possible.

Overheating at very high temperatures is not only dangerous to the car but is also dangerous to the passengers.

Related: Why Do Electric Cars Not Have Grilles? (Explained)

Do Electric Cars Work Well in Hot Weather?

Electric cars may and may not work well in hot weather, depending on some factors. Just like a gas car needs special attention during a certain period, so does your electric car during certain weather, namely the cold or hot season.

Reports show that extremely hot weather is detrimental to the health of the electric car battery as it can deteriorate the charge of lithium-ion that electric cars have.

The deterioration in battery life can affect how your electric car works in hot weather. For the best performance of your car in hot weather, make sure you do not leave it under the sun.

Whether you are charging your car or you parked it, always make sure there is a shade over it. Parking under the shade will protect your EV battery from deteriorating quickly and prevent the degradation of car performance.

Also, there have been reports that putting on the AC while driving your electric car in extremely hot weather can affect its performance by reducing the range. According to research carried out by AAA, the driving range of electric cars reduces by 17% when driving at a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit while the AC is working.

For the optimum performance of your electric cars, we advise you to precondition your car while you are charging it. Preconditioning is a feature that comes in most modern electric cars. It helps you to cool the cabin of your car before driving it.

Preconditioning your cabin during charge will not affect the battery’s life. Instead, the AC draws energy from the source of charge. This will help you conserve your energy and travel the specified range expected of your car.

Also, for the best performance of your electric cars during hot weather, car owners should only charge their vehicles up to 80%. Charging your car up to 100% can cause your battery to overcharge and get too hot. Coupled with the hot weather, this can cause the degradation of your car battery capacity to hold a charge.

While charging up to 80% is the best practice during hot weather, charging up to 100% occasionally does not affect your battery’s health, especially when on a long journey.

Also, you may need to avoid driving during the hottest period of the day. Driving in the early hours or later in the day can protect your car from the extreme temperature that may cause your car to use more energy than usual or overheat in certain cases. Unless it is necessary, avoid driving your electric car during the hottest time of the day.

Don’t forget to make sure your car tires are in perfect condition before traveling in hot weather. This is because hot weather affects your tire by expanding the air in it, causing the pressure to be higher. To check your tire pressure, we recommend you get a tire pressure gauge.

While some people may believe electric cars do not work well in hot weather, we believe this is because owners do not consider these listed factors. Taking proper care of your electric car during hot weather will maintain its performance just like in moderate weather.

Related: Who Owns The Battery In An Electric Car? (Explained)

Do Electric Cars Need Cooling?

Electric cars need cooling because they produce heat. Cooling systems in electric cars include air cooling, liquid coolants, cooling fins, and phase change material.

However, the popular cooling system in electric cars is the liquid cooling system. This is because they are more efficient and consistent at all temperature levels.

However, electric car owners should ensure their cars are maintaining the right temperature they need to work perfectly. They should ensure the cooling system of their cars is working fine.

This mainly involves consistently monitoring the temperature and taking care of faults that can cause the cars to overheat.

Related: Why Do Charging Electric Cars Take So Long? (Explained)

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