In case anyone had any doubts about how electric cars performed in extreme conditions, this is a new video of a Tango plowing through the snow.
After hearing about coworkers and friends not being able to get their cars started in the recent extreme cold, it got me thinking about how electric cars perform in these conditions. There is a prevalent misconception that electric cars don’t work well in the cold; so let’s have a look at what is necessary for an internal combustion vehicle to operate in below freezing temperatures:
* build engine blocks with frost plugs;
* install block heaters to keep the engine warm enough to start (using as much electricity just to start the engine as an electric car might use to completely recharge);
* use different formulations of gasoline and diesel fuel for cold weather;
* use gas-line anti-freeze to prevent gas-line freeze-up;
* use radiator thermostats to help the engine warm up faster (but leaving the passenger cabin cold until the engine has warmed up);
* use auxiliary (electric) heaters in the passenger cabin until engine heat is available;
* let the engine run for 10 to 30 minutes before starting out on a trip to let the engine and passenger cabin warm up;
* change to less viscous winter grade motor oils (e.g. 5W30);
* install winter grill (radiator) covers;
* use glycol or alcohol based engine coolants (anti-freeze), which have to be tested as part of that winter tune-up [Source]
For good measure, below is another example from Electri-History of how these vehicles operate in cold weather:
In early 1897, Electric Carriage and Wagon opened its first charging station on 39th street in Manhattan. Soon, electric taxi’s were shuttling patrons across the city. In early 1898, during a particularly severe snowstorm, the 14 electric taxis continued to operate when horse drawn carriages, trolleys, and buses failed. Newspapers spread the word of the marvelous new contraptions.
And today’s electric cars are not like your traditional car in which your battery is more or less exposed to weather extremes. Now, electric cars have battery packs that are usually in an insulated compartment; in extreme conditions, only the outside of the batteries is effected.