AutosDiscovering the challenges of an electric car in winter: Manufacturers remain silent

Discovering the challenges of an electric car in winter: Manufacturers remain silent

Winter can be a significant challenge for an electric car.
Winter can be a significant challenge for an electric car.
Images source: © Facebook, X | Volkswagen

12:07 AM EST, December 6, 2023

Winter and intense frost are not friends of electric cars, a fact often overlooked by many. Manufacturers are typically silent about the significant reduction in performance that low temperatures can cause, which can present a major issue for electric car owners. Here's an intriguing example from Germany that could happen to you once the temperature drops. Unexpected, isn't it?

Winter and below-zero temperatures can pose a significant challenge for electric cars, a fact we frequently forget. Although the number of electric cars on the roads is increasing, mild winter conditions in recent years have caused drivers to forget how challenging maintaining a car can be amidst snow, frost, and harsh weather conditions.

This incident from Germany is a clear illustration. An internet user "showcased" upon TikTok a video featuring his electric Volkswagen. He entered the car, started the engine, and calculated the range at the existing battery level. The display read 171 miles. But then he turned on the heating...

What happened next was unexpected. And the manufacturer gave no warning.

The car immediately displayed a range of only 71 miles, which is 100 miles less than the initial reading. How could this happen? The car's heating system in winter consumes a lot of energy, drawing it directly from the battery. Hence, the unpleasant surprise and a significant decrease in range. However, encountering such issues in winter isn't shocking and is somewhat typical.

That doesn't imply you have to drive an electric car in winter wearing a jacket and gloves.

In reaction to the video, other electric car drivers chimed in, confirming a decrease in range at low temperatures - in this case, 37.4°F which isn't even freezing - is common knowledge. The issue is widespread, affecting all brands and manufacturers. Tips on handling winter conditions and awaiting warmer days are often shared amongst them.

It's not just the interior heating that lowers range, but also turning on seat or wheel heaters. Consequently, Electric cars have to be charged regularly.

Internet users quickly divided into two camps: supporters of electromobility and proponents of traditional, diesel and petrol engines. Owners of older cars stand firm in their belief that nothing is safer in winter, whereas owners of electric vehicles believe that better and more robust batteries will soon become available.

One sagacious commenter highlighted that the electric vehicle revolution has been ongoing for a decade, and every year the vehicles become more efficient.

We should note that when temperatures persistently fall below freezing, you need to adequately maintain your vehicle and pay close attention to the battery charge level, or risk severe damage. Battery performance deteriorates in low temperatures, not only affecting electric cars but bikes and scooters as well.

Current batteries are not resistant to extreme temperatures. Explained by the fact that even typical wintertime temperatures, seen presently, are too high for such batteries.

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