Cold temperatures and battery longevity

Discussion in 'Prime Technical Discussion' started by Prashanta, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. Prashanta

    Prashanta Active Member

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    I live in Canada Land where outside temperatures are often below -20*C in the winter. Once I get my hands on this car, I will have to park it on my driveway. My worry is that the frigid temperatures might cause permanent damage to the battery. Even if battery temperature is managed while car is plugged in, for about 8 hours/day, it would be parked at my company parking lot where I don't have access to a plug. Is this something to be worried about?
     
  2. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    The lithium battery -may- have a problem with very cold temps. From what I've read so far -20C should be ok.
     
  3. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    5 winters in Minnesota with temperatures that could at times were never a issue for my PHV... and that older generation of plug-in Prius didn't have a battery-warmer.

    I don't see any concern for my Prime here either.
     
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  4. Primetoronto

    Primetoronto Junior Member

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    I live in ontario..my 2010 prius is running smoothly with 260k Kms ..the Prime should be okay with very cold weather.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  5. Prius from Dad

    Prius from Dad Senior Member

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    Your battery should be ok, but your EV miles will be low, due to the cold. At those temps you probably will not get the 25 mi. advertised. My guess from my experience is you will probably get in the teens EV. There is a traction battery warmer setting that should help some.
     
  6. priuscatprimeguy

    priuscatprimeguy Senior Member

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    also, when the temperature is -10 degrees C or below ICE will kick in so your EV MPG will suffer
     
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  7. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Though, it will still be impressively above what a regular hybrid could deliver.
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i would contact toyota before purchasing, don't trust the dealer to answer honestly. i think canada gets a special battery warmer.
     
  9. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    Cold, in general,is better for a battery's long term health.
    However, there are limits.
    I would check the manual, and Toyota corporate to see what they recommend.

    As an example, Tesla warns against leaving the car unplugged in very cold temps for 24 hours straight. I forget the number, but I believe it was somewhere around -30C.
    In MN, I haven't had an issue in 6 years of driving Tesla vehicles. I know your weather can get colder than ours though.
     
  10. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Should be ok down to -30°C but I'm not 100% sure. It really depends on the battery chemistry that Toyota chose for the Prime.

    I know the NiMH batteries are fine even with a cold soak but IIRC, NiMH are better at extreme temperatures (in terms of stability and operation) than Li-Ion. I've operated my vehicle in temps as low as -46°C.

    Also, the car will protect itself. If it'll provide reduced power (or the car won't start) if it's too cold. During the day, the sun will at least provide a little bit heat (Feb/Mar). Also, it'll take a while for the battery temperature to reach -20°C even when the outside temperature is -20°C.
     
  11. Samprocat

    Samprocat Active Member

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    You should not have to worry about that....BMS have parameters to deal with cold....Heat is what is much harder for BMS to control

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #11 Samprocat, Mar 27, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
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  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    First off, if your job's parking lot doesn't have outlets for engine heaters, and people aren't getting stranded because their car got too cold during the day, the Prime should be fine.

    The risk for Li-ion batteries at freezing and lower temperatures is during charging. Crystals can form that reduce capacity, and the damage is permanent. To avoid this, the battery needs to be charged at a really low rate until the regular resistance of the process heats it up, or simply heat the pack up by some outside means.

    The Prime has a battery warmer for this purpose, and it has extended operation cycles in cars sold in Canada and Alaska. Then Toyota isn't new to properly managing traction batteries, even Li-ion ones. There should be safeguards protecting the battery in place beyond the the warmer.

    Worst case, the car won't start out of self preservation. I don't see that as likely, and other cars probably won't start under the same conditions. It is something I would only be concerned with if the car wasn't plugged in overnight. At your work's parking lot, the battery is going to be arriving warmed up, and it is a sizable mass, so some time will pass before if starts to approach freezing temperatures.

    Realistically, I would count on just having hybrid operation during the winter. Better to be surprised with some EV miles than disappointed with a new car.
     
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  13. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    This. The available capacity will be lower WHILE the battery is cold, however.
    That will go back up as it warms.
     
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