What happens to batteries in the cold?
Batteries are a function of chemical reactions. In cold weather the chemicals can not react as fast as in warm. In fact keeping a battery cold will extend the life of the battery, by slowing the chemical discharge. A cold battery may still be good but will not have the same the power as a warm one.
Cold batteries discharge faster than warmer batteries, so if you're using a cold battery, keep a warm one in reserve. Some types of batteries are adversely affected by high temperatures. A runaway effect can occur, potentially leading to a fire or explosion.
- Lithium-Ion batteries suffer in extreme cold temperatures: Because the battery meter is calibrated assuming warmer temperatures, the reduced capacity in the cold can cause the reading to be unreliable. This is one of the reasons your phone may die while still showing 30%.
- However, if those batteries are not fully-charged, they can freeze at warmer temperatures. If your car has sat in very cold temperatures for an extended period of time and won't even turn on dashboard lights, your battery may be frozen. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO JUMP-START OR CHARGE A BATTERY THAT MAY BE FROZEN!
- Any battery issue is by definition a chemistry problem. In a healthy battery, ions flow freely between a cathode and an anode. Over time, this process wears out the cathode, which results in reduced capacity. A high-end lithium-polymer battery can lose about 20 percent of its capacity after 1000 charge cycles.
Nominal battery performance is usually specified for working temperatures somewhere between 20°C and 30°C. The performance and indeed life of a battery can be seriously affected by the onset of extreme temperatures and, despite many consumer beliefs, heat is as big a cause of battery failure as is cold.
- Simply because Batteries are a function of chemical reactions. In cold weather the chemicals can not react as fast as in warm. In fact keeping a battery coldwill extend the life of the battery, by slowing the chemicaldischarge. A cold battery may still be good but will not have the same the power as a warm one.
- As Duracell's website says: “Alkaline batteries can be safely disposed of with normal household waste.” Energizer confirms that regular batteries are fine to toss in the trash, but says rechargeable batteries should be recycled according to US federal guidelines.
- Charging vehicle batteries in cold weather is totally different in the winter. Even deeply discharged battery packs can be completely recharged in a few hours if the only issue is a discharged battery not defective batteries. However, the colder it is outside, the less charge the battery pack wants to accept.
Updated: 3rd October 2019