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Cold Weather and Electric Cars, Part 2
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Feb 10, 2019 13:12:21   #
davefales (a regular here)
 
There have been quite a few views (over 3000) of my posting from zerohedge.com last Monday about the problems electric cars faced during the polar vortex. A few comments were the not-unexpected ad-hominem type insinuating you should not trust a "right-wing" site.

That is unfortunate because the unveiling of the Green New Deal this week suggests it is time to have an honest debate about the tradeoffs involved in ridding the world of carbon emissions.

I suspect few would consider the American Automobile Association and CNBC to be right wing sites. It is hard to imagine running a car in -20F conditions without wanting some internal heat.

For your further understanding:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/06/aaa-confirms-what-tesla-bmw-nissan-ev-owners-suspected-of-cold-weather.html

AAA confirms what Tesla, BMW, Nissan electric car owners suspected — cold weather saps EV range. Even turning on the car drains power

The AAA study appears to be the first to have used standard, repeatable methodology to confirm the problem.

AAA tested the BMW i3s, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model S and the Volkswagen e-Golf.
Paul A. Eisenstein | @DetroitBureau
Published 16 Hours Ago Updated 1 Hour Ago
CNBC.com


Hoping to increase the appeal of their battery-electric vehicles, automakers have begun rolling out an assortment of "long-range" models, such as the Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Jaguar I-Pace and Nissan Leaf Plus.

Under ideal conditions, these products can deliver more than 200 miles per charge and, in some cases, even 300. But as many owners discovered last week as winter storms slammed much of the country, cold weather does not qualify as "ideal." A new AAA study finds that when the thermometer dropped to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, range fell by an average of 41 percent on the five models it tested.

"We found that the impact of temperature on EVs is significantly more than we expected," said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering.

Some EV drivers — including this correspondent — recently found that range can drop by half when the mercury tumbles into negative territory. The AAA study appears to be the first to have used standard, repeatable methodology to confirm the problem and compare the effect of winter temperatures on different models.

Several surprises emerged from the research, according to Brannon, starting with the fact that the impact on range was pretty much uniform among the cars tested: the BMW i3s, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model S and the Volkswagen e-Golf.

"It's something all automakers are going to have to deal with as they push for further EV deployment because it's something that could surprise consumers," said Brannon.

Different factors can affect the loss of range, he and other experts have noted. Simply turning on the electric vehicles AAA studied in 20 degree weather revealed a 12 percent loss in range. On a vehicle like the Chevy Bolt, with an EPA rating of 238 miles per charge, that would drop range to 209 miles. But that part of the test assumed operating the vehicle with cabin heat and seat heaters turned off.

Brannon said using climate control revealed an even bigger surprise: Range dipped by an average 41 percent — which would bring an EV like the Bolt down to just 140 miles per charge.

The problem is that unlike a car with an internal combustion engine that can warm the cabin with waste heat, EVs have to tap into their batteries to power the climate control system.

Part of the problem, he said, is that "lithium-ion batteries like the same sort of temperatures that we do, around 70 degrees."

Much below that and the chemistry that's used to store energy runs into various problems. Among other things, battery components develop increased resistance that limits how much power they can hold, as well as how fast a battery pack can be charged or discharged, said Timothy Grewe, chief engineer for electric propulsion systems at General Motors.

Grewe has experienced sharp reductions in the range of his own Chevy Bolt, but he also said there are ways to limit the impact of cold weather. That includes storing a battery car in a garage, preferably one that's heated. And wherever it is parked, it helps to keep the EV plugged in. Onboard electronics will prevent overcharging. But many battery vehicles are programmed to use some of the energy from the grid to keep the battery pack warm, improving its efficiency.

Motorists are also advised to "precondition" their EVs, Grewe and Brannon said. That means heating up the cabin while still connected to the grid, rather than drawing energy from the battery pack. Most new battery-electric vehicles have custom smartphone apps that allow a driver to switch on cabin heat remotely when plugged in. Commuters can even preprogram the system to automatically start at a particular time of day.

While cold weather is especially hard on range, batteries also don't like hot weather, said Brannon. "Much like when it's cold, in hot weather EVs suffer some decrease in range, but not as much as in the cold."

The AAA study found range fell 4 percent from EPA numbers at 95 degrees. But, again, that number was assuming the motorist didn't mind sweating. Turn the climate control system down to 70 degrees, AAA found and range fell by 17 percent.

Tesla emailed a statement that disputed AAA's findings, saying the report exaggerates the impact that cold weather has on its electric vehicles' range. The company didn't provide data saying how much range is lost in cold temperatures.

"Based on real-world data from our fleet, which includes millions of long trips taken by real Model S customers, we know with certainty that, even when using heating and air conditioning, the average Model S customer doesn't experience anywhere near that decrease in range at 20 degrees Fahrenheit," the company said in a statement. "And the decrease in range at 95 degrees Fahrenheit is roughly 1 percent."

One thing that EVs and conventional vehicles have in common is that energy efficiency — whether measured by range or miles per gallon — can be affected by a variety of factors. These can include your driving style, as well as the terrain.

Do a lot of hill climbing and you're going to use energy faster. EVs, however, are especially sensitive to any accessory drawing power, whether the car's climate control or even headlights, meaning that driving at night, whatever the weather, will hurt range.

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Feb 10, 2019 13:25:54   #
Old Timer
 
How about the old saying when early cars caused a problem they told you just get a horse. Renewable energy at the old way.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 13:48:18   #
JBruce
 
Dave,
Firstly, living in MN where we had -40 F. this past week, I agree with your assessment and post. But that being said, I would imagine that the Green folks will now propose that personal electric transportation should be mandated for only short local driving and that we should re-establish the concept of electric powered light rail (trolley) for in city use and electric long distance rail for everything else, as an electric-powered airplane is not likely in any foreseeable future, and electric buses will suffer the same problems as autos. Remember this, and wait to see I am right--(which I am), right.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 13:52:23   #
TriX (a regular here)
 
Not surprising that batteries are affected by temperatures - the effect is well known by engineers, and by photographers operating cameras in cold weather.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 14:17:41   #
davefales (a regular here)
 
JBruce wrote:
Dave,
Firstly, living in MN where we had -40 F. this past week, I agree with your assessment and post. But that being said, I would imagine that the Green folks will now propose that personal electric transportation should be mandated for only short local driving and that we should re-establish the concept of electric powered light rail (trolley) for in city use and electric long distance rail for everything else, as an electric-powered airplane is not likely in any foreseeable future, and electric buses will suffer the same problems as autos. Remember this, and wait to see I am right--(which I am), right.
Dave, br Firstly, living in MN where we had -40 F... (show quote)


I agree that someone will propose that. Proposing solutions does not seem to have much "cost" anymore. (Few will tell you that is a dumb idea.)

Since you live in NM, I suspect you understand the fallacy of running light rail to move around a lot of the Southwest.

Of course, we could just mandate that you are not allowed to leave your home if weather conditions are such that your EV operates less than 50% of optimal.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 14:40:32   #
xt2 (a regular here)
 
Although I am not sure how electric batteriy performance in vehicles applies to photography, I appreciate your interest and re-posting of pertinent information; however, batteries impacted negatively by cold weather is an age-old issue. Hopefully, those purchasers of electric vehicles are aware and follow the age-old caveat... Buyer beware!

Cheers!
davefales wrote:
There have been quite a few views (over 3000) of my posting from zerohedge.com last Monday about the problems electric cars faced during the polar vortex. A few comments were the not-unexpected ad-hominem type insinuating you should not trust a "right-wing" site.

That is unfortunate because the unveiling of the Green New Deal this week suggests it is time to have an honest debate about the tradeoffs involved in ridding the world of carbon emissions.

I suspect few would consider the American Automobile Association and CNBC to be right wing sites. It is hard to imagine running a car in -20F conditions without wanting some internal heat.

For your further understanding:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/06/aaa-confirms-what-tesla-bmw-nissan-ev-owners-suspected-of-cold-weather.html

AAA confirms what Tesla, BMW, Nissan electric car owners suspected — cold weather saps EV range. Even turning on the car drains power

The AAA study appears to be the first to have used standard, repeatable methodology to confirm the problem.

AAA tested the BMW i3s, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model S and the Volkswagen e-Golf.
Paul A. Eisenstein | @DetroitBureau
Published 16 Hours Ago Updated 1 Hour Ago
CNBC.com


Hoping to increase the appeal of their battery-electric vehicles, automakers have begun rolling out an assortment of "long-range" models, such as the Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Jaguar I-Pace and Nissan Leaf Plus.

Under ideal conditions, these products can deliver more than 200 miles per charge and, in some cases, even 300. But as many owners discovered last week as winter storms slammed much of the country, cold weather does not qualify as "ideal." A new AAA study finds that when the thermometer dropped to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, range fell by an average of 41 percent on the five models it tested.

"We found that the impact of temperature on EVs is significantly more than we expected," said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering.

Some EV drivers — including this correspondent — recently found that range can drop by half when the mercury tumbles into negative territory. The AAA study appears to be the first to have used standard, repeatable methodology to confirm the problem and compare the effect of winter temperatures on different models.

Several surprises emerged from the research, according to Brannon, starting with the fact that the impact on range was pretty much uniform among the cars tested: the BMW i3s, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model S and the Volkswagen e-Golf.

"It's something all automakers are going to have to deal with as they push for further EV deployment because it's something that could surprise consumers," said Brannon.

Different factors can affect the loss of range, he and other experts have noted. Simply turning on the electric vehicles AAA studied in 20 degree weather revealed a 12 percent loss in range. On a vehicle like the Chevy Bolt, with an EPA rating of 238 miles per charge, that would drop range to 209 miles. But that part of the test assumed operating the vehicle with cabin heat and seat heaters turned off.

Brannon said using climate control revealed an even bigger surprise: Range dipped by an average 41 percent — which would bring an EV like the Bolt down to just 140 miles per charge.

The problem is that unlike a car with an internal combustion engine that can warm the cabin with waste heat, EVs have to tap into their batteries to power the climate control system.

Part of the problem, he said, is that "lithium-ion batteries like the same sort of temperatures that we do, around 70 degrees."

Much below that and the chemistry that's used to store energy runs into various problems. Among other things, battery components develop increased resistance that limits how much power they can hold, as well as how fast a battery pack can be charged or discharged, said Timothy Grewe, chief engineer for electric propulsion systems at General Motors.

Grewe has experienced sharp reductions in the range of his own Chevy Bolt, but he also said there are ways to limit the impact of cold weather. That includes storing a battery car in a garage, preferably one that's heated. And wherever it is parked, it helps to keep the EV plugged in. Onboard electronics will prevent overcharging. But many battery vehicles are programmed to use some of the energy from the grid to keep the battery pack warm, improving its efficiency.

Motorists are also advised to "precondition" their EVs, Grewe and Brannon said. That means heating up the cabin while still connected to the grid, rather than drawing energy from the battery pack. Most new battery-electric vehicles have custom smartphone apps that allow a driver to switch on cabin heat remotely when plugged in. Commuters can even preprogram the system to automatically start at a particular time of day.

While cold weather is especially hard on range, batteries also don't like hot weather, said Brannon. "Much like when it's cold, in hot weather EVs suffer some decrease in range, but not as much as in the cold."

The AAA study found range fell 4 percent from EPA numbers at 95 degrees. But, again, that number was assuming the motorist didn't mind sweating. Turn the climate control system down to 70 degrees, AAA found and range fell by 17 percent.

Tesla emailed a statement that disputed AAA's findings, saying the report exaggerates the impact that cold weather has on its electric vehicles' range. The company didn't provide data saying how much range is lost in cold temperatures.

"Based on real-world data from our fleet, which includes millions of long trips taken by real Model S customers, we know with certainty that, even when using heating and air conditioning, the average Model S customer doesn't experience anywhere near that decrease in range at 20 degrees Fahrenheit," the company said in a statement. "And the decrease in range at 95 degrees Fahrenheit is roughly 1 percent."

One thing that EVs and conventional vehicles have in common is that energy efficiency — whether measured by range or miles per gallon — can be affected by a variety of factors. These can include your driving style, as well as the terrain.

Do a lot of hill climbing and you're going to use energy faster. EVs, however, are especially sensitive to any accessory drawing power, whether the car's climate control or even headlights, meaning that driving at night, whatever the weather, will hurt range.
There have been quite a few views (over 3000) of m... (show quote)

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 14:47:48   #
Hal81 (a regular here)
 
Problem solved. Use a very long extention cord.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 15:25:40   #
davefales (a regular here)
 
JBruce wrote:
Dave,
Firstly, living in MN where we had -40 F.


Wow. My dyslexia kicked in and I read NM New Mexico. I didn't think it had been that cold down there.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 15:30:25   #
davefales (a regular here)
 
xt2 wrote:
Hopefully, those purchasers of electric vehicles are aware and follow the age-old caveat... Buyer beware!


Sadly, desire to save the world can put up some barriers to common sense...and due diligence. Part of the reason EVs have gotten as far as they have was the healthy government subsidies. That persuaded people not to conduct the cost/benefit analysis they should have.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 15:40:27   #
TriX (a regular here)
 
davefales wrote:
Sadly, desire to save the world can put up some barriers to common sense...and due diligence. Part of the reason EVs have gotten as far as they have was the healthy government subsidies. That persuaded people not to conduct the cost/benefit analysis they should have.


No. As much as I love internal combution engines, there is a finite end to the supply of natural gas and fossil fuels, and the move to electric vehicles is inevitable, maybe not immediately, but eventually.

We need to preserve our existing fossil fuel supplies for those applications such as airplanes that will be difficult to power electrically, and for long distance driving, until faster recharging and a National recharging network is viable. BUT, for local commuting, especially in highly emission-polluted urban areas, electric makes so much sense. So what if a 200 mile range is reduced to 100 miles in the winter? For a large majority of urban commuters and drivers, that’s more than enough.

I have spent an inordinate percentage of my life racing and working with IC engines - countless hours tuning Webers, working on a dyno and a flowbench, but when one of my current vehicles is due to be replaced, it will be electric since most days, I drive no more than 25 miles a day. I’ll Keep a regular gas vehicle or a hybrid for trips and bemoan the loss of the sound of a 9,000 RPM V8 at full chat, but it’s time to embrace a new paradigm - it’s the future, and no amount of nostalgia will stop it.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 15:53:04   #
ken_stern (a regular here)
 
Not at all a big fan of battery power at any temperature --
Love my gas powered WRX
BUT
Hopefully "if" we can ever get to it our save our selves clean carbon-less future is powered by ----
Hydrogen Fuel Cells

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 15:59:52   #
TriX (a regular here)
 
ken_stern wrote:
Not at all a big fan of battery power at any temperature --
Love my gas powered WRX
BUT
Hopefully "if" we can ever get to it our save our selves clean carbon-less future is powered by ----
Hydrogen Fuel Cells


I’d like to see this technology flourish, but at present, unless we embrace electricity produced by nuclear, converting water to hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis consumes more energy than the resulting fuel is capable of producing - a net loss. Makes more sense to use the electricity directly for surface vehicles and forget the intermediate step - maybe viable for aircraft.

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 16:17:38   #
davefales (a regular here)
 
Interesting discussion developing. Spend 15 minutes listening to this Road & Track discussion of hydrogen power (the speaker is too "handsy" so you may want to just listen):

https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/car-technology/a25631560/how-hydrogen-engines-work/

I suspect we are unaware of a race underway to capture the market: EV (which certainly has the current lead but may be hitting the battery technology wall) vs. hydrogen-powered engines.

I like TriX observation that we need to marshal our carbon resources to continue supporting air travel. (5 hours IAD to SFO vs. 3-4 days by rail? And will wind/solar/nuclear power the rail? Cmon.)

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 17:57:18   #
TriX (a regular here)
 
davefales wrote:
Interesting discussion developing. Spend 15 minutes listening to this Road & Track discussion of hydrogen power (the speaker is too "handsy" so you may want to just listen):

https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/car-technology/a25631560/how-hydrogen-engines-work/

I suspect we are unaware of a race underway to capture the market: EV (which certainly has the current lead but may be hitting the battery technology wall) vs. hydrogen-powered engines.

I like TriX observation that we need to marshal our carbon resources to continue supporting air travel. (5 hours IAD to SFO vs. 3-4 days by rail? And will wind/solar/nuclear power the rail? Cmon.)
Interesting discussion developing. Spend 15 minu... (show quote)


As much as I understand the issue of spent nuclear fuel storage (when will we ever fully open the National spent fuel repository?), I think that we will be forced to embrace expanded use of Nuclear energy to provide that power that we need when the sun isn’t out. Solar cell efficiency has increased almost 10x over the last few decades, but storage of that energy to use during darkness is a difficult problem, even augmented by wind and hydro (and wind diminishes in darkness). Rail can be powered by electricity as it is already in many locations, but unless we plan to put small nuclear plants in aircraft, then it’s going to be difficult to power large aircraft by solar (in spite of the fact that a solar powered aircraft carrying two people has circumnavigated the globe, albeit very slowly).

| Reply
Feb 10, 2019 22:13:37   #
krashdragon (a regular here)
 
Just wondering, if all these people thinking electric cars are so great, ever learn where and how the chemicals that make the batteries come from? Or the electricity..... Sometimes... not so green...

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