Electric vehicles in winter: How much does the cold weather reduce battery range?

Donnie Nguyen has owned a Tesla for the last two years, and he knows when it gets cold, he won't be able to drive his electric vehicle as far on a single charge.

"I don't like it. Is it the right choice to drive an EV in cold weather or live in a cold state?" said Nguyen.

A study by AAA found that when the temperature dips to 20 degrees and the driver is using the heating system to warm up the cabin, the range of electric vehicles could drop by as much as 41 percent.

A spokesperson for AAA says that's because the cold drains the battery faster and unlike combustion engines which generate their own heat, electric vehicles rely on electricity to power the heater, which is diverted from operating the wheels.

  (FOX 9)

"Everything in that vehicle is operating via this electricity, it's going to be taxing the mileage you are able to go because that energy is being rerouted to other places in the vehicle," said Meredith Mitts, Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Minnesota-Iowa.

AAA says EV owners should be aware the cold can reduce their vehicle's range and park their car in a garage if possible to keep it out of the elements.

Owners of electric vehicles may also have to charge them more often when it's cold to minimize the chance of being stranded by a dead battery.

"It may not help decrease the impact, but it will make sure you are safe while you are still driving," said Mitts.

Nguyen says he knew how the cold can affect EVs before he bought his Tesla, but he was willing to take the chance.

"Hopefully next decade, the batteries will be better, last longer, and technology will advance will have better battery technology," said Nguyen.