Electric vs. Gas Cars: What Are the Hidden Environmental Costs of EVs?

3. Local Climate
Extreme heat and cold have negative effects on the efficiency of electric vehicles. EVs in more extreme climate areas in the U.S. can use up to 15% more energy on average, according to Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Technology. In the very coldest areas, it can be as much as 40% more energy use. Cold weather slows down the chemical reactions that take place inside the lithium-ion batteries that power all-electric cars, and it requires more power for auxiliary electrical systems such as heating. That extra energy use could translate to higher emissions if that power is drawn from fossil-fuel-burning power plants.

But EV battery technology is consistently advancing. Battery packs that take less time to charge and are more energy-dense are in development. EVs are also already built with cooling systems to mitigate the effects of extreme heat on their batteries.