How Much Electricity Do Heaters Use in Electric Vehicles?

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular across the United States as the population grows more climate-conscious and there is an increased need for vehicles that do not rely on fossil fuels for their power. This is only going to increase as electric vehicle technology improves and the prices of these vehicles get more competitive.

If you’ve just switched to an electric car, you’ll have a lot of differences to get familiar with as you learn about your new vehicle. For example, heating and air conditioning in electric vehicles is a bit different than in standard gasoline cars. The total amount of energy in an electric vehicle is significantly less than that coming from a standard gasoline vehicle, and every ounce of energy used will have a clear impact on the vehicle’s traveling range.

Here are some issues to consider with the electrical usage of heaters in EVs.

Heaters in electric vehicles

Consider this: The average 15-gallon gas tank provides the equivalent of about 505.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy. This is quite a bit more energy than what most electric vehicles carry when fully charged.

There’s also the issue with waste heat from the engine in a gasoline car, which is used to heat the cabin without impacting efficiency. In an electric vehicle, the heat and air conditioning come directly from the battery, which means the energy used for those purposes takes away from the energy that can be used to propel the vehicle forward.

This means that you can expect running the heat to have an impact on the distance you can travel in your electric vehicle. This is why electric vehicle owners should be prepared to recharge their vehicles more frequently during the winter than other times of year.

There have been several studies done on different electric vehicles on the market that confirm this. It’s something one must consider when purchasing an electric vehicle. If you live in an area that sees extreme temperatures (either hot or cold) and you spend a lot of the year using heating or air conditioning, you will have to factor that into the usage of your electric vehicle.

There are some steps you can take to decrease the impact of your heating and cooling on the amount of power available in your vehicle. For example, you can reduce the number of other things you have running in the vehicle that suck power, such as the use of auxiliary devices or the entertainment console. You can turn down the heat to temperatures that are tolerable versus most optimally comfortable, which will help you save a bit of energy as well.

In general, it is a good idea to prepare to charge your vehicle more frequently and plan your trips accordingly. You may need to adjust the range you can expect to travel in a given day.

Interested in learning more about some of the idiosyncrasies of electric vehicles, including some of the power issues you will need to overcome and adjust to? We encourage you to contact an experienced mechanic at Qwest Automotive Service with any questions you have for our team. We look forward to assisting you with your electric vehicle needs.