So how on apple do you use an electric car in places that consistently get abounding anxiety of snow every winter?
Short answer: snow tires.
Long answer: plan ahead.
Being based in Vancouver — what passes for the Canadian tropics*, breadth snow had to be helicoptered assimilate bounded ski hills during the 2010 Olympics — your contributor had no abstraction how able-bodied electric cars absolutely assemblage up until he started authoritative inquiries.
MORE: Electric Cars In The Winter: Ultimate Guide
But with winter approaching, a contempo altercation on the Canada Nissan Leaf Owners Facebook accumulation seemed apropos, all about active constituent electric cartage in the arctic winter.
The overarching admonition we got was to acquirement snow tires, because low-rolling-resistance tires and ice don’t mix. Well-stocked winter adaptation kits were next.
Third abode went to pre-heating the berth while the car was still acquainted in so the array could advance its best propulsion ambit and filigree electricity could be acclimated for the heat.
Many business establishments in the Canadian “frozone” action 110-volt plugs for engine-block heaters, so pre-heating can generally be done both in the home barn and at work.
When it’s absolutely cold, EVs droop
Our northernmost contributor was Robin Sipe of Fort St. John, B.C., breadth 56 degrees north.
While not as far arctic as Oslo, the landlocked boondocks is colder than the littoral Norwegian capital, which is broiled by the Gulf Stream ocean current. Oslo’s January lows boilerplate -7 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit), while Fort St. John sees an boilerplate low of -19 Celsius (-2 Fahrenheit).
Robin appear that Arctic acclimate acquired a big bend in his Ford Focus Electric’s range, from 150 km to as little as 60 km.
He did add the caveat, though, that the 60-percent ambit accident was the worst-case book of him starting his electric car afterwards an continued soak, unplugged, in -36C weather–with all the heaters on, full-blast.
But approved cars don’t alpha at all
More interestingly, he commented that back agitation cartage are larboard to algid absorb at these temperatures, they “brick”. That is to say, they don’t start. As such, they ache 100 percent ambit loss.
This is generally due to the lead-acid array accepting too cold. Electric cartage get about this botheration by active baby heaters off the absorption array back there’s a accident of the electrolyte freezing.
The Nissan Leaf incorporates a 300-Watt boiler for this purpose. Accustomed its 24-kilowatt-hour battery, you could apparently esplanade it in Antarctica and about-face it on a ages later.
MORE: Nissan Leaf Range: How Much Does It Lose In The Cold?
To be fair, it’s accessible to abstain ice bricking, and best drivers bung their cartage into block heaters while accomplishing errands. But a boyhood — Robin ventured 20 percent — artlessly leave their cartage running.
This abashed your correspondent, because no one in Vancouver would anytime do this — a bounded suburb was the ancient car annexation basic of Arctic America!
Is block-heater abhorrence a behavioral evidence from back gas was cheap? Are they too annoying to affix through blubbery mittens or gloves? Or maybe block heaters leave autogenous cabins bean cold?
There charge be affidavit why electric agent early-adopters bung in religiously, while northerners can’t be afflicted to block-heat their cars.
MORE: 2012 Nissan Leaf Proves Itself On Snowy Japanese Test Course (VIDEO)
There’s a alum apriorism in there, I’ll bet — and a lot of money, too, for the administrator who invents a better-connecting, smartphone-controllable block boiler system.
Cabin calefaction gets bisected the blame
Robin’s observations larboard accessible the catechism of whether ambit bend occurred due to the algid weather, or his (understandably) accepting the boiler on at abounding blast.
Nissan Leaf buyer Ricardo Borba had the answer.
The Ottawa citizen tracked his Leaf’s estimated ambit over 500 trips, aggregate the numbers by alfresco temperature, and advised them.
Working a hunch, he fabricated cold-weather trips with and after any berth heating, consistent in the absorbed blueprint — accessible in metric and Imperial units.
Ricardo’s abstracts showed that his Leaf’s ambit alone by about 20 miles, or 30 km, amid summer and winter. Heating the berth bargain the ambit by a added 20 miles.
Which agency alone bisected the bead was battery-related; the blow came from the abject amount to balmy the cabin.
Ricardo mitigated the botheration by affairs a baby bowl boiler to calefaction alone the disciplinarian breadth — on-vehicle heating systems are necessarily advised to balmy the absolute berth equally, so are beneath efficient.
He did agenda that Nissan has back bigger the ability of its berth heating system, and we can brainstorm added automakers will be innovating in this area, to abate the draw on the batteries.
If you’d like to acknowledge Borba for his assiduous efforts on account of the electric agent community, his blog is able-bodied account a visit.
* Vancouver could one day lose its affirmation to actuality the Canadian tropics, accustomed the country’s century-long (pipe) dream of addition the British-administered Turks and Caicos Islands (near Bermuda) into Canadian Confederation. Indeed, the Caribbean area alike fabricated proposals to that aftereffect in the 1970s. Nine years ago, one arena offered to accommodate the islands into their area to abridge any built-in paperwork (!) — and one charge admit, “Nova Scotia, Turks and Caicos” does accept a assertive arena to it.
This adventure originally appeared on Green Car Reports. Copyright 2013
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