Eric Peters warns of a drawback to electric cars in colder climes.
Electric heaters cost a lot to run – in energy and so dollars. Anyone who has ever run one for any length of time knows this, or comes to know it – after receiving that month’s electric bill.
It is no different in an electric car, which is heated electrically – except that the heater draws power from a battery rather than a grid.
Your mileage – your range – begins to vary.
It would be interesting to know exactly the effect on EV range of keeping the interior of an EV warm – not survivable, but comfortably warm – on a minus 10 degree day. How much range does one lose? How much time will one have to spend shivering at an outdoor recharger – assuming it’s not blocked by the snow and assuming your EV has a built-in system to keep the battery warm, so that it can be charged.
Bet you didn’t know about that, either.
Electric car batteries can’t be recharged if the ambient air temperature is below freezing – it’s a function of battery chemistry – which means that the EV must also heat its battery during the winter months, which will cost energy (battery drain) and further reduce the range.
The EV’s defroster uses heat, too – obviously.
But also the AC, not so obviously. Many people don’t know that, either. The AC doesn’t just cool the car’s interior in the summertime; it also dehumidifies the air, without which the defroster doesn’t work very well.
In which case, you can’t see very well.
So, another drain on the battery; a big one. AC compressors are energy hogs. It takes a lot to power one, whether mechanically (as in a non-EV) or electrically (as in an EV). The difference is that the non-EV can just fill up when the tank runs low – no matter how cold it is outside. But the EV’s got the double-pronged problem of reduced range – because of the power draw of accessories such as heat and AC, as well as lights and everything else that is electrically powered, which is everything in an EV – and having to find a place to recharge in time.
When it is minus 10 degrees outside, waiting can be more than merely inconvenient. It could be fatal. A discharged EV is a cold EV. No heat, until the battery recharges. Imagine sitting in a dark – and very cold – EV for the 30-45 minutes it takes to recover a partial charge at a “fast” charger . . . assuming one’s available.
. . .
EVs are being sold as if they were just like other cars – but they aren’t. EVs have functional characteristics – and deficits – that are unique to them but which are largely unknown to the general public because they’re purposely not being told about them.
There's more at the link.
I wasn't aware that one can't charge an electric vehicle in sub-freezing temperatures (unless the battery is heated). If the battery gets too flat to keep itself heated, what then? I can see that being a real danger to life and limb in northern states. I wonder if the manufacturers of such vehicles point out that drawback to potential buyers before they sign on the dotted line, and hand over their money? If they don't, it would make an interesting court case if a disappointed buyer were to sue on the grounds that the seller had deliberately concealed a potentially life-threatening problem. I'm sure the manufacturer would claim that the issue had been mentioned in the owner's manual . . . but if the buyer hadn't been given the manual before buying the car, to read it for himself, how would he know?
Food for thought.