back to article Tesla owners in deep freeze discover the cold, hard truth about EVs

This week's frigid winter conditions in North America exposed the shortcomings of certain electric vehicles, particularly Teslas. In the Oak Brook suburb of Chicago, Illinois, where temperatures have routinely dipped way below freezing, local media reported public charging stations turning into "car graveyards" because …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    Norway

    Good thing they never have cold weather in norway - they've got plenty of EVs...

    1. Pier Reviewer

      Re: Norway

      Norway is coastal. Average winter temps are nowhere near the US mid-west which is in the middle of a massive land mass and gets *cold*! Like -50C cold.

      Sure, nobody’s going to Norway for a beach holiday in February, but given its latitude it’s fairly mild, so EVs are pretty practical.

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: Norway

        Learned some figures from a project specification for an installation in Kazakhstan many years ago and contrasted it with the Isle of Wight, which is on the same latitude:

        Isle of Wight temperature range maybe -8 to +36 °C.

        Kazakhstan temperature range: -40 to +40 °C

        It's amazing what a coastal location and a bit of Gulf Stream magic does.

        1. Lon24

          Re: Norway

          "I remember the Gulf Stream" - MetOffice weather forecaster (2050).

          "Meanwhile tonight the Solent may freeze so you can walk across." In other news Red Funnel goes into administration ;-)

        2. mstreet

          Re: Norway

          Some of the results if you trace latitude lines can be quite eye opening. For instance Doncaster UK, is at more or less the same latitude as Churchill, Manitoba, sometimes called the polar bear capital of Canada. Britain would be a much different place without the gulf stream.

          1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

            Re: Norway

            Climate change and the melting greenland ice cap (all that fresh water) may cause the gulf stream to move away from the UK, so while the rest of the world roasts the UK becomes like Canada is now - brrrrrr

            1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

              Re: Norway

              And GBNews will still be saying "global warming doesn't exist, because otherwise why is it cold here?"

            2. caradoc

              Re: Norway

              Not so:

              Climate mythology:The Gulf Stream, European climate and Abrupt Change Richard Seager - Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

              https://ocp.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/

              "The Gulf Stream-European climate myth

              The panic is based on a long held belief of the British, other Europeans, Americans and, indeed, much of the world's population that the northward heat transport by the Gulf Stream is the reason why western Europe enjoys a mild climate, much milder than, say, that of eastern North America. This idea was actually originated by an American military man, Matthew Fontaine Maury, in the mid nineteenth century and has stuck since despite the absence of proof.

              We now know this is a myth, the climatological equivalent of an urban legend. In a detailed study published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society in 2002, we demonstrated the limited role that ocean heat transport plays in determining regional climates around the Atlantic Ocean."

              Using observations and climate models we found that, at the latitudes of Europe, the atmospheric heat transport exceeds that of the ocean by several fold. In winter it may even by an order of magnitude greater. Thus it is the atmosphere, not the ocean, that does the lion's share of the work ameliorating winter climates in the extratropics. We also found that the seasonal absorption and release of heat by the ocean has a much larger impact on regional climates than does the movement of heat by ocean currents.

              Seasonal storage and release accounts for half the winter temperature difference across the North Atlantic Ocean. But the 500 pound gorilla in how regional climates are determined around the Atlantic turned out to be the Rocky Mountains. Because of the need to conserve angular momentum, as air flows from the west across the mountains it is forced to first turn south and then to turn north further downstream. As such the mountains force cold air south into eastern North America and warm air north into western Europe. This waviness in the flow is responsible for the other half of the temperature difference across the North Atlantic Ocean.

              1. Mooseman Silver badge

                Re: Norway

                "The panic is based on a long held belief of the British, other Europeans, Americans and, indeed, much of the world's population that the northward heat transport by the Gulf Stream is the reason why western Europe enjoys a mild climate, much milder than, say, that of eastern North America."

                And yet....

                "The Gulf Stream carries the warm, poleward return flow of the wind-driven North Atlantic subtropical gyre and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. This northward flow drives a significant meridional heat transport. Various lines of evidence suggest that Gulf Stream heat transport profoundly influences the climate of the entire Northern Hemisphere and, thus, Europe's climate on timescales of decades and longer." (https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-marine-010814-015656) This is from 2015.

                What you are missing is that no part of the climate acts entirely independently from any other part. The paper quoted above concludes with this summary :

                "However, there are situations in which the Gulf Stream's influence on Europe's climate may not live up to expectations. First, on timescales shorter than roughly a decade, variability in the atmosphere seems to swamp any oceanic signal in setting basin-scale climate patterns. Second, Europe's warmth relative to the zonal mean cannot be attributed simply to westerly winds extracting heat from the warm current. Stationary waves in the atmospheric midlatitude jet contribute to zonal anomalies of both signs, with the Rocky Mountains playing an important role in establishing the southwesterly winds that bring warm air masses to Europe. Thus, when the ocean heat transport is eliminated in model simulations, Europe's zonal temperature anomaly is not entirely erased, though it is diminished (Seager et al. 2002). In a fun twist, recent research has implicated the Gulf Stream even in setting up these stationary waves and contributing to the frigid winters on North America's east coast (Kaspi & Schneider 2011), against which Europe's warmth is often contrasted."

                So no, it's not entirely the airflow over the Rockies, although that plays a part in the global climate. To dismiss everything else as a "panic" (and thus inconsequential) is foolish.

      2. spacec0w

        Re: Norway

        Was just logging in to post this. Not sure how many times Oslo has seen -30 C but surely someone from there or who knows it could help here...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Norway

          I do know that, just around the corner a bit, the sea between Estonia and Finland freezes over. The Fins out for a weekend on the pop (was cheaper to travel to Tallinn for a good session than drinking at home) mentioned they were unsure whether they'd be able to get back.

          1. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: Norway

            " the sea between Estonia and Finland freezes over"

            My mother used to tell us about winter holidays to the Baltic in the early 1930s when the sea regularly froze over.

        2. Mooseman Silver badge

          Re: Norway

          "Not sure how many times Oslo has seen -30 C"

          Not that often, apparently. The lowest temperatures recorded in Oslo is -26C (in 1941) until this year when it hit -30C in January.

          What is more interesting is that summer temperatures are also relatively low now.

      3. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Norway

        per Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Norway

        Olso records

        Records-26.0(-14.8F) -- 35.0(+95.0F)

        Typical Jan low -- -4.7(23.5F)

        Typical Jul high -- 22.7(72.9F)

        Mild summers, nippy winters. Can, but usually doesn't, get really cold

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Norway

          Parking spaces in Norway have an electrical outlet for an engineblock heater, so you can keep the oil warm. Don't know if it is every parking space.

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: Norway

            Isn’t that the correct solution for EVs? Do Tesla have an engine block heater? In Canada, once you are out of the mild zone, everywhere you can park really has a plug for engine block heater. Otherwise, if you leave it for a few hours, the oil becomes slush, and there’s no way out before the spring. Probably Tesla from California forgot about that….,But yeah, charging points should really have a separate battery-heater trickle.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: block heaters

              Even if you don't live in the sort of place where the oil turns to slush block heaters are a lovely treat.

              Cold morning where the windscreen is icy, start the engine, it's already up to temp the heater immediate throws how a full blast of hot air, the ice on the windscreen clears faster than my electric screen can manage and you're ready to drive away in perfect comfort.

              You don't have to waste time with the engine idling and running rich, so you don't waste fuel. Of course you ran an electric heater so not quite free.

              I don't understand why block heaters are a common fixture in the UK.

              1. blackcat Silver badge

                Re: block heaters

                My old 5 series has the optional webasto diesel heater. Its great on frosty mornings as I push the button on the keyfob and by the time I'm ready to leave the interior is warm, the windows are clear and the block is preheated ready to start.

              2. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

                Re: block heaters

                Cos it doesnt often get that cold and parking in the street?

                1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
                  Coat

                  Re: block heaters

                  We had -39C in Sothern Alberta over the weekend & it gets colder still the more Northwards you go.

                  We got a Government emergency warning text requesting that as of this moment people cut electrical usage & especially didn't charge car batteries or block heaters, use microwaves instead of cookers etc as they were running out of capacity & would have to introduce rolling power cuts.

                  What's gonna happen when everybody plugs their EV in every night as they phase out ICE vehicles.

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                    Joke

                    Re: block heaters

                    "What's gonna happen when everybody plugs their EV in every night as they phase out ICE vehicles."

                    Mandatory Smart chargers/meters and when you wake up on a particularly cold morning you find the battery didn't charge from the grid, it powered the grid, and you ain't goin' nowhere today and there'll still be plenty of ICE around! Brrrrrrr!

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: block heaters

                    We had -39C in Sothern Alberta over the weekend

                    That is literally cold enough to freeze your tits off.

                  3. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: block heaters

                    "What's gonna happen when everybody plugs their EV in every night as they phase out ICE vehicles."

                    You have to combine that with what will happen when refineries aren't drawing as much power to turn crude into transportation fuels.

                    There's quite a long way to go until the 'bathtub' is filled up in the wee hours according the the National Grid. Wind turbines have to be shut off due to over supply at night. If the electricity companies have more business at the times when there has been traditionally very little, that's more money in their pockets using infrastructure they've already built out to handle peak demand during the business day. More money to add and improve infrastructure to stay ahead of increasing demand that we are going to have anyway due to all of the procreation going on. Most EV's can be charged with less draw than a kettle (Tesla's can be the exception as they have a high parasitic overhead). Nobody I know stops to have a think about boiling some water when they want a cuppa. Given the 10 hours or so that most people are parked up at home, there isn't a need to have high power charging to top up an EV each night. 3kW can often be just fine. (3.5 miles/kWh times 3kW is 10.5 miles for every hour plugged in (assuming all of that energy is going into the battery) giving the possibility of replacing 105 miles of use overnight with a very basic charger (EVSE) install. Many people do just fine with the supplied granny charger. If you don't have a place to plug in, move or don't get an EV yet. I understand that there are plenty of people happy to piss away the high salary they make in a big city on the much higher cost of living that has no off-street parking.

                  4. John Robson Silver badge

                    Re: block heaters

                    "What's gonna happen when everybody plugs their EV in every night as they phase out ICE vehicles."

                    Then they'll all get charged just fine.

                    the average car needs ~5kWh a day, given a ten hour "night" that's 500W a piece, well within grid capacity.

                    1. John Robson Silver badge

                      Re: block heaters

                      Seriously - 500W is less than most houses used to use for lighting not that long ago... Each room would have anywhere from 100W to 200W of heaterslights.

              3. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

                Re: block heaters

                I assume a typo there ?

                I don't understand why block heaters are not a common fixture in the UK.

                It's times like this I remember that on my (rather long) list of things to do is add an outside socket. I run an extension lead outside, and leave a low powered fan heater in the car for a while. It doesn't heat the engine, but at least it's warmed the glass and inside of the car so you can get away quicker. I do sometimes think it would be handy to add an electric coolant pre-heat (it's fairly simple), but we don't really get enough of this really cold weather to make it worth while.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: block heaters

                  You're right

                  It's a typo, I keep making one like this and it doesn't matter how many times I re-read them I read what I meant to write.

                  1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

                    Re: block heaters

                    Yes, that's a known problem with proof reading your own stuff - your mind sees what it knows you wrote, not what actually went on the page/screen. That's why (well one of the reason) you need a different person to proof read stuff - at least, I certainly do !

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: block heaters

                  I do the same, except all I have to do is turn the heater on in the car for a few minutes. It's an EV with a heat pump heater :)

            2. sierraskies

              Re: Norway

              If you had any EV chargeing available, you could ask it to precondition (warm) the battery 10 mins before setting off. Actually doesn't take much power and once the battery is in use it stays warm. It was -9 where I live yesterday and climbing into a ready warmed, de-iced Tesla (with a warm battery) at 0730 in the morning was glorious. EVs aren't ready for everyone yet but with a little knowledge and planning, they're great!

        2. NeilPost

          Re: Norway

          Looking at BBC weather it’s -18C overnight there on Friday.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Norway

            °C?

            What about °F?

            What is the Brexit good for if you can't use proper units instead of Continental ones?

            1. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: Norway

              "What about °F?"

              Only the USA and Liberia use Fahrenheit.

      4. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Norway

        Oslo temperatures last week were around -20C.

        At that temperature, diesel engines can also start giving trouble, and I believe petrol freezes at around -40C. So -50C is an extremely hostile environment for all vehicles anyway, requiring special antifreezing additives to the fuel as well as to other required fluids (hydraulics and, ironically, cooling fluids). I guess the options in order are:

        - if you live somewhere where it gets ridiculously cold, just don't get an electric car

        - if you live somewhere where it gets ridiculously cold, just don't go outside when it's ridiculously cold

        - if you live somewhere where it gets ridiculously cold, just don't!!!

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: Norway

          The second will guarantee the third, if you aren't careful.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @jmch - Re: Norway

          Unless you're living in Siberia where all vehicles are running just fine. And they surely know something about driving in cold weather.

          1. Necrohamster Silver badge

            Re: @jmch - Norway

            I've been to Siberia in winter. They leave their engines running 24/7, light a fire under the engine, or they use block heaters (rarely) to prevent the engine freezing solid.

            Vehicles don't magically run just fine.

            1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

              Re: @jmch - Norway

              > They leave their engines running 24/7

              It's true - they're poor, but oil is cheap there.

            2. Wzrd1 Silver badge

              Re: @jmch - Norway

              >I've been to Siberia in winter. They leave their engines running 24/7, light a fire under the engine, or they use block heaters (rarely) to prevent the engine freezing solid.

              Alaskans typically go with block heaters. But, that doesn't help the car battery.

              Excessive heat or cold wreak merry hell on pretty much any battery. Maybe we need to borrow a page from the book of Trump and go back to steam.

              Frozen boilers can be *really* entertaining.

              I'll just get my coat...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @jmch - Norway

                > Maybe we need to borrow a page from the book of Trump and go back to steam.

                IIRC from the engine drivers handbook, big steam engines took 4 to 6 hours firing to bring them up to operating temperature, but hey it's about 20 years since I stood on the foot plate and pulled the levers so I might have got the source wrong.

                1. imanidiot Silver badge

                  Re: @jmch - Norway

                  When operational, engines wouldn't usually be let down to full cold unless maintenance was required. When in the shed at night they'd keep a small fire in the box to keep the engine warm and the boiler "ticking over" so the engine could be out and ready to run in about an hour when the morning crew arrives (the hour is needed to build the fire up, take on water and coal, oil the motion, check the engine and buffer to the train)

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                    Re: @jmch - Norway

                    True, but he was talking about 20 years ago, so I'd hazard a guess that he worked or volunteered on a heritage rail line which doesn't necessarily raise steam every day on every loco and certainly not from 5am to midnight :-)

                    1. imanidiot Silver badge

                      Re: @jmch - Norway

                      I know of at least some heritage lines that have a volunteer night stoker if they have multi day running (weekends and such). Also, if they ARE raising steam on a loco most duty rosters I've seen start at 4 or 5 am to get the engine ready for a first run at 10 or 11-ish, with last shift closing the door at around 11 PM or midnight (to clean and cool down the locomotive in a controlled way after the last run at 5 or 6 PM). Running a steam loco is a LOT of work.

        3. Catkin Silver badge

          Re: Norway

          To be fair, it's a little easier with a diesel to pop some winter or arctic diesel in the tank than it is to replace the batteries with a cold tolerant chemistry. You also don't take an appreciable performance penalty for the winter diesel (outside of racing).

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Norway

          In a diesel car, you need to use arctic diesel at winter, of course, and it is recommended to cover the front vents to reduce the windchill in the engine bay.

          However it is the mandatory AdBlue system in modern diesels - the liquid freezes at -11.5 Celsius - that seems to be the biggest problem. The tanks do have heating systems, and I think keeping the tank near - but not entirely - full helps a bit, but leaving the car out in the cold has been causing a fair few repair bills around here (worst case low four figures) after temperatures stay at -25 or below for a longer period. Also, without the system, I understand that at least some models may be stuck in limp mode.

        5. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Norway

          One of the things you do in Canada in winter is keep your fuel tank more than half full as this helps prevent fuel freezing in the lines.

      5. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Norway

        Negative 50 is sufficiently cold that it doesn't matter which temperature scale you use.

        The lowest "minimum typical winter low" is Minessota according to https://wisevoter.com/state-rankings/coldest-states/#minnesota

        And that's -19C...

        https://www.visitnorway.com/plan-your-trip/seasons-climate/winter/#

        "The climate varies greatly from region to region in this long country. Along the coast, temperatures usually stay around zero degrees Celsius. Inland, the temperatures are mostly lower and might sink down to 10-20 degrees below zero Celsius. Some places can even experience an bone chilling minus 40 degrees Celsius!"

        So whilst Minnesota does have a record low of negative 50, so does Norway (it's 51.4).

        By the time you need block heaters... you plug in the EV when you stop, and you probably want a software change to keep the battery conditioned.

        You know, do the same "special treatment" for both vehicle types - because at that temperature anything designed for "normal" operating conditions isn't going to fare well.

      6. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Norway

        Average winter temps are nowhere near the US mid-west which is in the middle of a massive land mass and gets *cold*! Like -50C cold.

        Oh, nonsense. The record low for Chicago is -27°F, which is around -33°C. And that was recorded once, in the 1980s.

        I lived for a couple of decades in Michigan, and never saw temperatures anywhere in the vicinity of -50°C.

        Sure, it gets pretty cold in, say, International Falls, Minnesota. But even there the record low is "only" -55°F, which isn't quite -50°C.

        It's actually the West, not the Midwest, that's seen the coldest air temperatures in the contiguous US. Mt Washington, in New Hampshire (which, note, is in New England, and so on the East Coast, though New Hampshire has very little ocean coastline) recorded the lowest wind chill ever measured, at nearly -77°C, but the still-air temperature was only about -44°C.

    2. Randy Hudson

      Re: Norway

      There are over 20 superchargers in Chicago. An actual news site would perhaps investigate why the other 19 weren't affected by the cold weather.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Norway

        There are over 20 superchargers in Chicago. An actual news site would perhaps investigate why the other 19 weren't affected by the cold weather.

        I wonder how much of this is app related? I have no idea how those work, or how supercharger sites are distributed around Chicago, but if the app is directing drivers to closest charger, rather than ones that might be available or in service? Standardising chargers should hopefully improve the situation, but at the moment there seems to be a big dependency on having the right app for the charger, rather than just a credit card or cash like for fuelling ICEs.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Norway

          Yeah, it is ridiculous that you need an App. You should be able to tap a card to authorise up to £X.

          But then you'd probably have to get a parking ticket if your £X ran out and your car was still sat there blocking the charging bay.

          Not sure how an App helps that. But hey, they can foist anything they like onto Early Adopters.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Norway

            Remind us how petrol and diesel pump payments work.

          2. Tron Silver badge

            Re: Norway

            Early adopter = beta tester = crash test dummy.

          3. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Norway

            "Yeah, it is ridiculous that you need an App."

            You don't - a tesla driver pulls up to the charging station, plugs in, and then walks off to relieve themselves.

            Then they come back, unplug and drive off again.

            That's the entire process, the billing is automatic - the car talks to the charger, the relevant account is billed.

            Far easier than any liquid fuel station.

            If only CCS had that built in as part of the standard (and it clearly has enough, since various chargers/cars now do the same).

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Norway

          "but at the moment there seems to be a big dependency on having the right app for the charger, rather than just a credit card or cash like for fuelling ICEs."

          At the moment there is Tesla and then everybody else. If you have a Tesla and are using a Supercharger, you need to be registered with Tesla and have a payment card attached to your account. The car sends it's VIN to the mothership, possibly more data as well and you get a yea or nay for charging. Everybody else pretty much has a payment point right at the charging stand. You can sign up and use an app (if you trust them) which could gain you a discount and also bill whatever account you designated for payment. What's missing is a way to go into a local business next to a charger and pay cash. If the network is down, you may want to find a motel if it looks like it will be a while. Maybe you can unplug the HVAC unit and run a lead out to the car so get a room in the back where they might not catch you.

      2. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

        Re: Norway

        There aren't enough "beat" journalists to cover all 20 charging stations in Chicago. That was a random sampling.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Norway

        you do realise the problem is the car not the charger!

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Norway

          "you do realise the problem is the car not the charger!"

          Nope, it's the owners. Did you see the bit about people returning to the same station the next day to find a long line again?. What was that definition of insanity?

          I don't see buying a super expensive car and renting a flat being a good combination, but I suppose people find it better to virtue signal than build wealth. This is yet another argument for not buying an EV if you can't charge at home or work. There's also the age old saying of "any port in a storm" which applies to EV's (aside from Tesla as they have high parasitic draw). If all you can plug into is a bog standard outlet, do that. The battery will charge down to the point where the electrolyte is frozen solid if the BMS allows it. The battery being at an optimum temp is more important for fast charging at the best speeds. Hardcore EV drivers that do a lot of traveling will have a connector kit tucked away so they can plug into just about anything from the outlet at an RV camp site to an electric clothes dryer outlet or whatever. Everybody showing up and waiting at a Supercharger station in the freezing cold shows how unprepared they are and how little they understand their EV.

    3. glennsills

      Re: Norway

      I was about to enter your post when I saw that you had gotten there first.

      Not all EV cars are created equal. I suspect that Teslas perform best in a California coastal climate - not too hot and not too cold. Perhaps if you live in Canada you should check out the cars that work well in Norway...

      https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1127488_test-of-20-evs-in-cold-norway-no-big-surprises-but-some-lost-more-range-than-others#:~:text=Electric%20cars%20also%20generally%20charge%20slower%20in%20cold,80%25%20in%2027%20minutes%20during%20January%20in%20Norway.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've not found the air con taking much range out of my EV's battery. The heating, however, does eat 10-15% range and the cold weather kills the range of the car: I'm seeing a reduction of 30% in range due to the cold weather.

    1. Ace2 Silver badge

      I’ve heard recommendations to turn off the heat and use the seat warmers instead. Not tried it myself yet (rarely gets that cold here).

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Your bum will be warm and your feet will be freezing, which is less than idea, to say the last. Ever tried driving with ice-cold feet?

        1. poslfit

          The trick is not to drive barefoot in the winter.

          Seriously, if I'm alone in the car, the seat warmer keeps my body warm, and my body keeps my hands and feet warm in their gloves and boots. I'll turn on the heater if I have passengers, because the windows will eventually fog up on a long drive with more than one person exhaling.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            yep, seen the idiots in EV's with steamed windows freezing their asses off looking miserable, while the rest of us are nice and toasty with clear windows.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The joys of heat being a byproduct

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            the seat warmer keeps my body warm, and my body keeps my hands and feet warm in their gloves and boots

            Ah - to have an actual fuctioning circulation system and not have your hands (and feet) turn an unpleasant shade of white and blue, even in faux-fur-lined boots and double-gloves (silk undergloves, suede outer gloves). Even the vaso-dilation from coffee helps.

            And that's only in -2C conditions. I love snow but there's no way I could move to somewhere really cold.

            1. HighTension

              Raynauds? I have that and it's horrible. Once went fishing on a Welsh hill lock in August. Rain moved in, the fish stopped rising, and by the time I got back to the car I could not feel the keys in my pocket. I had to tip the pocket upside down to drop then out and manipulate the key with what felt like two lumps of frozen chicken. And the pain as they started to thaw out, not much fun.

      2. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

        This is just so stupid, all because you've let the Church of Climatology scare you with their doom's day predictions!

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Church of Climatology

          You're so right. Either technology is delivered perfect first time or we should give up on it.

          It's impossible to solve this problem, there's no way electricity could keep something warm.

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: Church of Climatology

            If God had wanted us to be warm using electricity, She would have equipped us with plugs, solar panels and wind turbines,

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Church of Climatology

              "If God had wanted us to be warm using electricity, She would have equipped us with plugs, solar panels and wind turbines,"

              Who was that again? I don't recognize the name.

      3. J P

        I think the logic with using seat heater is it heats the person, not the air, so is more efficient in the EV context. ICE vehicles create vast amounts of waste heat anyway, so harvesting some of that for the cabin air is relatively low cost, whereas seat heaters are burning electricity which isn't a natural waste product of the engine.

      4. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "I’ve heard recommendations to turn off the heat and use the seat warmers instead."

        Heated seats and steering wheels should be standard, but if it's an option, it's worth getting if you live someplace cold. I have driving gloves, in the glove box of all places, in my ICEV for really cold days which are infrequent. I'd love to have heated seats even though I get heat for free. It's that period between getting in the car and hot water getting to the heat exchanger where I hate life.

    2. diguz

      this is to be expected with EVs that don't have an "inverter" heat-pump. Air-con is done via said heat-pump, that has an efficiency tipically in the 400% range (for every unit of energy consumed you get 4 units of heating or cooling), whereas most EVs have simple resistive heating, basically a wire with high resistance that gets hot, just like an old light bulb, and that is at best 100% efficient, but often not even that.

      So yes, your EV uses less battery to cool the cabin than to heat it.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Devil

        All automotive heat pumps are "inverter" heat pumps, because the EV battery is DC, and all motors (except brushed ones which nobody uses for more than a few watts) use AC.

        The thing that makes a heat pump reversible or not, isn't the inverter though.

        I'd be very surprised if any still-in-production EV used resistive heating for the cabin except when it is too cold to use a heat-pump.

        But, no heat pump is going to be 400% efficient when it is sub-zero outside. The 400% figure is useless marketing blather, because it's the max efficiency and only applies when the temperatures inside and outside are the same.

        More likely, the heat pump sucks heat out of the electronics & battery coolant, but when that coolant is too cold, they need to switch to resistive heating, because running the heat-pump and chilling the battery even further would be counter-productive.

        1. tip pc Silver badge
          Joke

          But, no heat pump is going to be 400% efficient when it is sub-zero outside. The 400% figure is useless marketing blather, because it's the max efficiency and only applies when the temperatures inside and outside are the same.

          what? you obviously lying as everyone knows heat pumps are more than 100% efficient all the time, they wouldn't say 400% if it wasn't always true, etc etc etc

          /s

          obviously sarcasm if I hadn't made it clear

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          random info

          (Sorry, only some relates to your comment...)

          Yes, generally the heat pumps will operate on the coolant loops.

          I don't know about all automotive, but a large US manufacturer of electric school busses uses resistive heating elements to heat a coolant reservoir for cabin heating. I think their sister company did something similar on the automotive side.

          Pre-conditioning the batteries is something the batteries should be able to do while on the charger (heat the batteries while charging at a slower rate until the batteries are at a higher temp). You'll get some "free" heat due to internal resistive losses as you charge.

          Pre-conditioning the vehicle is what your vehicle and charger should be able to do if you leave at a predictable time in the morning. Essentially you use the charger's power to get the battery to optimal operating temp and the cabin pre-heated to defrost the windows and provide occupant comfort. Doing both of those let's you start your trip with 100% SOC.

          Looking at the datasheet for our modules (NMC Li-Ion), at -20°C you can charge at about 70% of the rate at +25°C. Below that it drops significantly. The 18650 cells used by other manufacturers probably have different characteristics.

          Batteries have lots of thermal mass. That's good news if it's -15°C during the day and it briefly dips to -35°C at night. That's bad news if you left your EV sitting around for a few days of consistent < -20°C and then decide to charge.

          And, of course, while you're sitting in your car at the charger, if your charge rate is constrained by the charge station's power level, running the heater will extend your charge time. (If you read this far, you probably don't need me to tell you that).

          Source: I routinely work with >100 kWh battery packs. Anon because I'm not an official spokesperson.

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: random info

            Since you have a cell datasheet, can you tell me what the Absolute Minimum cell temperature is? i.e. will the electrolyte freeze and cause damage to the battery below a certain temperature?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: random info

              Our modules (module = a subassembly that contains a number of cells in series) specifies -30° to +55°C operating range and -40°C to +60°C storage temperature range.

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: random info

            "The 18650 cells used by other manufacturers probably have different characteristics."

            Most makers use pouch cells rather than cylindrical. Battery conditioning is easier and bigger pouches means fewer cells to strap together in production. The Tesla Model Y made in Germany uses BYD Blade Cells.

        3. HighTension

          My '17 Leaf has a reversible heat pump (and LED lights) - but the lower trim has only resistive heat (and incandescent lights). Not sure on the current models.

        4. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "I'd be very surprised if any still-in-production EV used resistive heating for the cabin except when it is too cold to use a heat-pump."

          Resistive heating is used a lot. It's cheap and easy to engineer. Seat heaters are going to be resistive unless a maker wants to go to the expensive of using ducted fluids (air being considered a fluid in this case).

      2. Mot524

        How could resistive heating be less than 100% efficient?

        Any inefficiency would result in... heat.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Holmes

          I was going to say that, but decided not to bother. Technically in the context of an EV heater, some of the heat from the wiring and battery will inevitably leak outside (well, ultimately, all of it)

        2. gratou

          The metals deform (expand and retract) in a not-100% elastic manner, their structure can change. Same for plastics, for example some solvents can evaporate to harden the insulating shield. Peanuts of course especially on small temperature changes but still not heat.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "How could resistive heating be less than 100% efficient?

          Any inefficiency would result in... heat."

          If you run a fan to move the heat, that detracts from the 100% figure.

      3. TheMeerkat

        Modern EVs tend to have heat pumps.

        Even plug-in Lexus (not a proper EV) has a heat pump.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        400% where the fuck do people get this shit from?

        did they go to school at trump U?

        1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

          It's not efficiency as you know it, Jim.

          Let's say you put a new battery in your car. You expend, say, 1kJ lifting the battery and installing it. The battery contains, say, 25MJ. So you've provided 25MJ of energy by expending 1kJ - an efficiency of 2500000000%. Heat pump "efficiencies" just measure how much energy you use you move heat around.

  3. ZenaB

    So why is this happening?

    Well maybe perhaps it's that *one* charging station broke in the cold and wouldn't charge any cars..? Is that really newsworthy?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Well maybe perhaps it's that *one* charging station broke in the cold and wouldn't charge any cars..? Is that really newsworthy?

      I dunno. It's been very newsworthy the last few days where hell's freezing over in Iowa. -24C in Iowa's capital, Des Moines, where the caucus came to town. A fair chunk of the US East Coast is also getting rather cold. Or there's Canada-

      https://twitter.com/ReliableAB/status/1746347778047877440

      At this moment 92.3% of Alberta's electricity is being produced by fossil fuels. Wind is at 2.6% of capacity and producing 1.0% of total generation, while solar is at 0.0% of capacity and producing 0.00% of total generation. At the same time we are importing 343 MW or 3%

      Or closer to home, N.Ireland-

      https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/environment/amber-alert-on-nis-electricity-grid-as-wind-doesnt-blow-and-loss-of-kilroot-slashes-margins/a19035892.html

      About 43MW of wind power was being generated this afternoon — a fraction of the 1,060MW peak wind generation. Most of the rest of the electricity in the system is coming from gas, with the remainder being imported from Scotland via the Moyle Interconnector.

      At times of shortage, that means that Northern Ireland has to pay whatever the market rate happens to be — even if it is astronomically high due to shortages in Great Britain — to keep the lights on.

      And then of course there's the UK. Where we've been due snow and -10C or so for the last week. So kind of a perfect storm. Temperatures drop, wind stops, solar stops, heating demand increases, EV ranges drop, and it all goes horribly wrong. Unless you run a charger in a private car park and can make a fortune towing or ticketing stranded EVs.

      1. codejunky Silver badge
        Devil

        @Jellied Eel

        "And then of course there's the UK. Where we've been due snow and -10C or so for the last week."

        I am disappointed in this worble globing. Bloody cold and I thought our children wouldnt know snow?

        1. Ace2 Silver badge

          Re: @Jellied Eel

          Oh look! Codejunky’s here too!

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @Jellied Eel

            @Ace2

            "Oh look! Codejunky’s here too!"

            Been missing me? You are welcome to just read the comments if you have nothing to add.

      2. Ace2 Silver badge

        I knew you wouldn’t disappoint us, JE.

      3. Gordon 10

        WTAF does power production to do with EV's charging?

        Are you drunk?

        1. codejunky Silver badge
          Devil

          @Gordon 10

          "WTAF does power production to do with EV's charging?

          Are you drunk?"

          If you are trolling you made me laugh hard. If you are serious wait until you sober up then reread your comment. It is comedy gold.

      4. Randy Hudson

        Who cares how the electricity is made? Tesla's biggest vehicle (Model X) has a 100kWh battery. That's the equivalent of 3 gallons of gas, to go 300+ miles. An internal combustion engine requires several times the amount of fossil fuel than the power plant putting 100kWh back into the Model X.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          WTF?

          Sorry, but that's utter bollocks

          The power plant has an efficiency of 30-40% if it's gas, less if it's coal. The electric distribution grid takes another 10-15%. The battery another 5-10%.

          It's not a fair comparison to compare the electrical kWh in a battery to the thermal kWh in a fuel tank. EVs shift their emissions and losses elsewhere.

          1. Mot524

            Right, because gas just magically appears at gas stations. No losses or emissions involved in getting it there at all.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Right, because gas just magically appears at gas stations. No losses or emissions involved in getting it there at all.

              This is one of those bits of creative marketing where you have to be careful of the details. So a fuel tanker may have a capacity of 20,800 to 43,900 L. There are essentially no losses in that fuel volume during transport or storage. Ah.. or 5,500 to 11,600 US Gallons. So then if the truck can manage say, 10mpg, you can work out a transport efficiency for hauling fuel from wholesale to retail distribution. To get to wholesale, fuel may be delivered by pipeline, train, ship, barge where the transport losses obviously vary in proportion to the load, or throughput.

              EV's are lossy all through the distribution network, so from power station to charger, and the energy is far harder and more expensive to store than just putting it in a tank. A lot of charging stations utilise this efficiency by hiding diesel gensets and using those to charge EVs because the fuel storage already exists, and is a LOT cheaper than running HV systems and transformers to a gas station.

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                Facepalm

                And the efficiency of charging an EV from a Diesel genset, as compared to driving a Diesel car is..?

                I would guess at least 20% loss, for the combined (in)efficiency of an extra generator, transformer, charger, battery, and motor.

                More of course, if the genset is still sat idling away when no EVs are charging.

                1. catprog

                  Apaprently most fuel cars can get 33% effeciency to the wheels.

                  So 20% loss would mean 80% effecicncy in comparision.

                  1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                    Devil

                    Not sure if you understood what I meant or not, but that's useful info

                    A Diesel genset is around 28% efficient.

                    A lithium battery is ~90% efficient depending on charging speed etc, and an EV traction motor can be as much as 95% efficient.

                    If a charging station is using a diesel to run the charging points (because it can't get enough power from the grid, as JE claims happens fairly regularly), then it has 0.28*0.9*0.95=24% overall efficiency, compared to your 33% for driving a Diesel car directly.

                    Therefore in this (perverse) case, the EVs have significantly more direct CO2 emissions than the Diesel cars filling up at the same station

                    24% vs 33% would be a factor of 0.27, i.e. even worse than my original guess. It depends on the real efficiency of the genset vs the car of course, which will be variable, but it confirms what should have been obvious: using a generator to charge an EV is utterly backwards, and I really hope it doesn't happen as often as JE says it does, but without the infrastructure, that's the only way to get "superchargers everywhere"

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      ...using a generator to charge an EV is utterly backwards, and I really hope it doesn't happen as often as JE says it does, but without the infrastructure, that's the only way to get "superchargers everywhere"

                      Depends on what the objective is, ie pragmatism vs greenwashing. Our electricity distribution network is already creaking, and the cost of running infrastructure to somewhere that can fast-charge say, 10 EVs concurrently is going to be expensive, and potentially a long lead time. Plus the cost of that infrastructure vs a big CAT or JCB generator. They should be pretty easy to spot at a charging station given they're usually installed in fairly distinctive buildings with vent louvres, exhausts and often sumps. So can probably spot them on google maps or similar. Some might be containerised, if they're temporary and awaiting a grid connection. The noise when they're running is also pretty distinctive.

                      I guess there's also some irony in legislation to discourage diesel power might end up making EV charging more expensive and less efficient, but that's going to be the case for EV's in general, ie 'green' subsidies pushing up the electricity cost.

                    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                      "A Diesel genset is around 28% efficient."

                      That figure is the latent energy of the diesel as it sits in a tank, but doesn't include all of the energy that went into refining the diesel, all of the transportation and waste reclamation that is a part of petroleum usage.

                      I see a lot of comments that quote extreme transmission losses for electricity that are way off to one side of the graph. It's not a simple calculation and the dataset is almost never shown so there's no way to correct the inaccuracies. In reality, if losses are hitting 20% and the usage is high, power companies will opt to put in generation closer to where the demand is. Even only cutting that loss in half can add up to serious amounts of money. The talk about SMR's is based on getting generation as close to where it's used to cut down on those loses. Not that I think SMR's are a good idea or will ever happen. Anywhere near where a new power plant will be built also tends to go up in cost to purchase land. A power hungry business might be getting squeezed with cutoffs at their current location or have no way to expand. I had a friend in high school that took over the family iron casting foundry and would have to move shifts to night during the summer or pay crazy electricity prices when the power company asked for a reduction. Most of the workers would prefer to work days but there was no choice. Either they work nights in the summer or look for work elsewhere. The company couldn't pay the premium and remain in business.

                2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  "More of course, if the genset is still sat idling away when no EVs are charging."

                  Besides it being very expensive to use petroleum fuels to generate electricity, no competent engineer would design a system that had a diesel generator just idling away with no load. It's far more efficient to use the generator at ~80% capacity to charge a battery and then shut down until that storage battery was depleted to a certain point. There are EV charging stations that employ a similar tactic where there isn't the infrastructure to charge cars at high power. The station includes a battery that compensates by charging at a slower rate when there is low demand and can also be used to keep from incurring demand charges.

              2. Mot524

                Gas doesn't magically appear in fuel tankers either.

                I'll put you out of your misery here, what you're looking for is called "well to wheel" (WTW) efficiency. To figure out true efficiency, taking all losses and costs and emissions into account, it's necessary to consider all the steps of drilling, transporting, refining, etc. etc. oil for ICE vehicles, and to take into account how electricity is generated and transmitted for EVs.

                Roughly speaking, EVs are approximately as efficient as ICE vehicles if the electricity for the EV is generated by burning coal or diesel. Throw some renewable energy sources into the mix and EVs become more efficient, obviously.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "gas just magically appears at gas stations. "

              Better than electricity appearing to your outlet. Or to the charging station. It's just not visible to you so you've no idea. Electricity *always* has transfer loss. A lot.

              Truck typically consumes about 30 liters per 100 kilometers and that moves 50 cubic meters of fuel, 50 000 liters. That's about 1 promille per 100 miles transfer cost.

              Moving electricity wastes a lot more, around 5% per 100 miles even with 400kV line. Even more if it's only 110V.

            3. MachDiamond Silver badge

              "Right, because gas just magically appears at gas stations. No losses or emissions involved in getting it there at all."

              We also need to keep in mind the 7.46kWh per US gallon it took to refine that gasoline as well. (Argonne National Laboratory study on electricity usage in the petroleum industry)

          2. veti Silver badge

            Natural gas generators, on average, achieve a thermal efficiency of approximately 45%. Coal is closer to 35% (mostly because the owners have been skimping on maintenance for the past 30 years). Upgrading to combined cycle could add about 20% to both those figures, but nobody in the US is willing to pay for that.

            The electricity distribution grid loses about 5% (in the USA - in smaller countries, it's a lot less). I know nothing about battery losses.

            And let's not forget, fuel doesn't pump, refine and distribute itself. If you want to do a real apples-to-apples comparison, there's a lot more work to do.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              And let's not forget, fuel doesn't pump, refine and distribute itself. If you want to do a real apples-to-apples comparison, there's a lot more work to do.

              Much of it has been done, and spun. But fuel kind of does everything itself, ie most of the energy needed to pump/refine/distribute comes from the product itself. So in that sense, it's pretty efficient and self-sustaining. But depends how you count efficiency, and how much is lost between crude and finished products. I guess it's a bit like nuclear submarines and how they can go years between refuels. So could a super tanker, at least until it's tanks run dry.

              Much of it is just marketing hype, and an extreme comparison would look at the whole lifecycle of both vehicle and fuel, ie energy costs, losses, production to recycling. Same is true for stuff like pollution, ie stuff like water used for fraccing vs water used for lithium extraction.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "And let's not forget, fuel doesn't pump, refine and distribute itself."

              Nor does electricity. Distribution losses are easily 30%. But you chose to forget that.

              "The electricity distribution grid loses about 5%"

              And that's patentable bullshit. ~5% per 100 miles is about right, assuming 400kV lines. Of course you can assume that it's never moved further than 100 miles and it's all done with 400kV lines.

              In practice it isn't, of course: Last mile is 110V grid and the losses are *much* higher.

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge

                Here in the UK, 400kV transmission losses are about 5%, and distribution losses average 15%, so 20% overall. But that will get much higher as we increase the load and then try to "fix it in software" by throttling chargers to avoid overloading substations, instead of building more substations. Because that means lines and transformers will spend much closer to 100% of their time at max load, and losses go with the square of load

                I thought that in America, the 110V lines were very short, i.e. from a pole mounted transformer outside each property.

                Making them literally a mile long would be very silly indeed.

                1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  "I thought that in America, the 110V lines were very short, i.e. from a pole mounted transformer outside each property."

                  From the pole to a home is 240v split phase with 120v from each phase to ground and 240v across. IIRC, the line at the top of the pole are in the range of 12kV from the substation for residential delivery. Large users can have power delivered at ~4kv and step it down themselves. That works well for supermarkets and industrial companies with large requirements. All of the industrial estate units I rented had 120v/208v three phase power. If I would have doubled my space, I'd be at the point where buildings would often have 240/480v 3 phase service and needed to have their own transformer for 120v circuits. Or not, it's a real mixed bag.

              2. veti Silver badge

                If your distribution losses are 30%, I suggest you consider moving to a first-world country.

                The 5% figure comes from the US Energy Information Administration. In the UK, the National Grid Company says:

                The total quantity of electricity supplied in the United Kingdom during 2015 was 338TWh, but only 311TWh was consumed by customers.

                - which implies a loss rate of about 8%, which is higher than I'd have guessed but still way closer to my estimate than yours. (Although come to think of it, reactive power probably accounts for that difference.)

                Where are you getting your figures from?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Action to take:

        Albertans are asked to immediately limit their electricity use to essential needs only

        Turn off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances

        Minimize the use of space heaters

        Delay use of major power appliances

        Delay charging electrical vehicles and plugging in block heaters

        Cook with microwave instead of stove

        For more information visit the Alberta Electric System Operator website.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Coat

          I Got That Alert

          Faced with the threat of rolling blackouts (& while it was probably small fry compared to block heaters & battery chargers), every phone, laptop, tablet, battery pack & torch was put on charge in our household upon receiving the alert.

          That said demand did drop off after the emergency alert was issued.

          https://preview.redd.it/visual-of-the-immediate-reduced-power-consumption-after-the-v0-th0jrxb9rbcc1.png?width=640&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=f5a7431473edb65c9d32400495fd9c4583ba42f2

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "Action to take:"

          The same sort of bulletin was sent out in California last summer and everybody was crying that the sky was falling and EV's were evil with not enough power to charge them. In actuality, the power companies were concerned based on high usage for residential AC as everybody got home from work, no wind and no solar as the evening was coming on and after 9-10pm, demand would ease and people could charge their cars. Most EV owners will opt for off-peak tariffs anyway which don't kick in until 11pm or later, so no itch.

      6. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "And then of course there's the UK. Where we've been due snow and -10C or so for the last week. So kind of a perfect storm. Temperatures drop, wind stops, solar stops, heating demand increases, EV ranges drop, and it all goes horribly wrong."

        One of the biggest things the National Grid is always looking at is the weather. It impacts a lot of what they do and need to expect on the demand side. People buying an EV and expecting it to be exactly like an ICEV need to relearn personal transportation all over again. An EV isn't exactly like a petrol or diesel car. If I saw a big very cold storm coming and knew charging my EV (when I get one) was going to be an issue, I'd plan ahead and top up early and limit my usage. I'd also have backup plans. When a customer calls to book a job and they need drone photos as part of the service, I look at the weather reports and let them know if there are issues with the time/date they want to book. I don't wait until I arrive at the jobsite and look up or wet a finger to gauge if the wind is too high or not. If I am going on a long trip, I fill up with petrol the day before so I don't have to get up even early to get going before traffic will be an issue. If the local petrol station is closed for repairs, I might top up a day before that while I'm out.

  4. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

    They can then offer it as payment to another driver who will give them a lift, or pour it over their battery compartment and set fire to it in order to warm their batteries up.

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

      Actually, I heard stories like this from Siberia, where they make a fire – a real fire – under a truck's engine to warm it up before starting in the morning.

      1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

        There was a programme years ago covering a cold trip, using arctic trucks and ford mondeo mk1s. The mondeos were only going like, 10% of the trip, and had to be left running over night to keep the engines going. One of them ran out of fuel at like, 3am, and froze. And lighting a fire under the car's engine bay was precisely how they got it going again.

        1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

          Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

          That and literally dragging it along behind one of the trucks till they managed to turn the engine over and get it to start - battery didn't offer to help. Mind you, if it's the same program I'm thinking of, the Mundaneos got dragged across Siberia anyway due to the depth of the snow and they've probably have been easier to drag if they'd had no wheels on them.

          Thinking back, perhaps we are thinking of different programs, I thought the problem was condensation in the exhaust freezing and blocking it.

          1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

            Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

            I think we are thinking of the same series *nods*

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

          "The mondeos were only going like, 10% of the trip, and had to be left running over night to keep the engines going. "

          You need to be very careful where you park if you use that tactic. There are stories of heavy equipment being left running and melting their way down overnight as they were parked on melty permafrost or a pond/lake.

      2. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

        > I heard stories like this from Siberia, where they make a fire – a real fire – under a truck's engine to warm it up before starting in the morning.

        Here's the Electric equivalent to that!

        https://www.businessinsider.com/electric-vehicle-owner-denmark-toaster-warm-car-battery-starts-fire-2023-12

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

          According to that link over one in 30 petrol-powered cars catch fire. Really?

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

            Only when you light a fire under the wrong end to warm the engine...

          2. David Hicklin Bronze badge

            Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

            > According to that link over one in 30 petrol-powered cars catch fire. Really?

            That sounds high to me as well, although they can often be on the roads for 10 years+ which might put it up a bit but not that much otherwise our roads would be shut all the time while they put car fires out.

          3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

            This is based on data pertaining to US made motion picture films, reduced by half to seem legit,

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

        Lighting fires under engines in the cold used to be routine. My father used to do it regularly - he had a gadget that was basically a burner in a metal container that kept the flames in. In more recent times I've seen it in Berlin.

      4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

        Somewhere I still have a "Chalwyn" brand sump heater - a small paraffin stove you lit and put under your car's engine overnight to make starting easier in the morning. It has gauze sheilds (thank you, Sir Humphrey) but even so I wonder how many cars went fooom as a result of dripping petrol.

        1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

          Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

          > many cars went fooom as a result of dripping petrol.

          more probably the build up from small oil leaks over the years

      5. Steve Button Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

        It's probably a LOT safer to light a *real* fire under a diesel engine block than a EV battery though. Just saying.

        You can throw a lit match into diesel, it will just go out.

        1. Spamolot

          Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

          >You can throw a lit match into diesel, it will just go out.

          Except in every film and USA crime drama you see the criminal stuff a rag or shirt into the gas (petrol or diesel) filler. They light the wick with a metal flip-top lighter, then proceed to light a cigar or cigarette and casually walk towards the camera and "Kaboom!!!" (Alternately they flick the metal flip-top lighter or cigarette into a pool of fuel.)

          1. Sudosu Bronze badge

            Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

            That trope always annoys me...the cigarette won't work or they waste a perfectly good zippo.

          2. Mike 137 Silver badge

            Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

            "every film and USA crime drama you see"

            They use specially lethal cars (and indeed boats) for these movies. The moment either bumps into anything at more than walking pace it usually explodes, despite the fuel tanks of both being at the back. Thank goodness the production models aren't so fragile (Pintos excepted).

          3. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

            "Alternately they flick the metal flip-top lighter or cigarette into a pool of fuel."

            Petrol is very flamey and once you have a certain fuel to air ratio, it's boomy as well. When I worked in fireworks/special effects, I saw a demonstration of what 5 gallons of petrol could do. While a considerable distance away, the heat on my face was bordering on very unpleasant, but sort of burn. They were trying to drive home that it's better to start small which will often be more than adequate. Maybe on the order of a liter.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

        I have seen that in Canada a few times for diesel trucks. A propane tiger torch was placed under the oil pan to thin things out a bit.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

        Actual fire is an emergency, but pan filled with hot coal under the engine is more or less normal. Ot a butane burner. Many trucks have designated holder for one from the factory.

        Youtube has videos where Igor starts his UAZ at -50C: Even engine oil has frozen solid, takes a while to melt whole thing.

    2. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

      Reminds me of the 70s/80s winters in East Anglia when I used to crawl in the snow to point a blowlamp at the sump and the (derv) fuel tank. Maybe Tesla could provide a "patch" to do the same with their batteries? Maybe a small coke stove with flues through the battery?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sounds like Tesla drivers should always carry a can of petrol with them in Winter

        Time for Roman Hypocaust technology again?

  5. codejunky Silver badge

    Meh

    Thats ok. Let the early adopters work out the kinks. Just very important to not force people out of the working technology.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Just very important to not force people out of the working technology.

      That should be a given, but with the way tech is going these days it does need to be said.

      I can imagine that if we are forced out the phrase they will utter is "On yer bike".

      1. Edward Ashford

        Re: Just very important to not force people out of the working technology.

        Last time I cycled to work in deep snow I ended up carrying it because the mudguards and sprockets all jammed up with ice.

        Langlauf skis would have been better, but how many times do you get to use those in most of the UK?

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Just very important to not force people out of the working technology.

        Regularly used to cycle past all the cars stuck on the icy roads...

        Particularly remember overtaking a gritter stuck behind a queue of cars unable to crest the hill, I got about 30 yards further than any of them, then popped a foot down and pushed for about 10 yards before cycling again.

        Whilst I've come home to find snow "aero rims", I've never had any sprockets or mudguards clogged with snow.

  6. Richard 111

    This is more of a problem for people that are traveling and need to recharge on route or do not have a charger at home, in a garage. Tesla/electric car charge times are normally pretty quick so there are a fair number of owners that charge up once a week at a public charger and don't have anything at home so are in trouble now.

    That said I remember being in Chicago during a similar cold snap in the 90's that decharged/reduced the charge a lot of 12V batteries across town. It's a combination of older battery, losing charge and thicker oil making it unable to turn the engine over and start the car. The tow truck drove down the street collecting $10 for every car that it jump started.

    Likewise there will be some diesel owners that are having problems with the fuel gelling in areas there the fuel is not winterized with additives and it is far colder than expected or are driving north with a full tank of standard diesel.

    It's no surprise that weather extremes cause all sort of issues.

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Frozen batteries

      I once had an elderly (10 year old) lead-acid battery actually freeze on me during a Northern New England cold snap. Took the fill caps off, and there was ice where sulfuric acid belonged. Surprisingly perhaps, after being thawed out in the bathtub,it managed to start the car.

      Yes, oil can be a problem. My impression is that modern multi-viscosity oils have much reduced the problem. But a chemist once told me that the viscosity extenders are the first thing to fail if intervals between oil changes are too long.

      1. yet another bruce

        Re: Frozen batteries

        Even when temperatures are cool rather than actually freezing it is a good idea to fast-charge before you park for the night rather than waiting until the morning. Below about 40F lithium-ion batteries have to be charged frustratingly slowly and below 30F they cannot be charged safely at all. Lithium-ion batteries have to be pretty warm to fast-charge, over 100F.

        It is important to keep the battery warm on a long trip in cold conditions. Leaving an EV parked outdoors in very cold weather, unless it is plugged in, is risky. As many people have pointed out, this is true of diesels and even gas-powered vehicles to some extent.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Frozen batteries

          "Lithium-ion batteries have to be pretty warm to fast-charge, over 100F."

          Nope - mine fast charges (100kW+) at anything over ~15-18 degrees, which is in the 60s for those using arcane units.

          Could it charge faster if it was over 40? Maybe a little, but not much - and the battery temperature does increase noticeably as the charge continues, so it's fairly easy to watch the temperature/soc/charge rate.

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: Frozen batteries

            > Nope - mine fast charges (100kW+) at anything over ~15-18 degrees,

            It's not going to last very long if you do that to it!

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Frozen batteries

              It'll last just fine. The BMS on basically all modern vehicles is actually reasonably smart about what charge it will allow at what temperatures, and anything reasonably tolerable for a person is also fine for current batteries.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Frozen batteries

              "It's not going to last very long if you do that to it!"

              The EV owner has no control over the charge rates. The BMS is programmed to make sure the battery doesn't degrade to anywhere near the warranty mark for the first 8 years. After that, one might want to keep an eye on it to make sure it isn't programmed to start doing bad things.

              1. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: Frozen batteries

                "After that, one might want to keep an eye on it to make sure it isn't programmed to start doing bad things."

                Wow - the cynic is strong with you...

    2. midcapwarrior

      Went to college in Illinois.

      Had an older car.

      Last task of the day was to take the car battery into my apartment at night.

      1. DarthKegRaider

        Need to do that in Australia too...

        But not for the cold, for the little pricks stealing cars of late. The 10 year old crims wouldn't be able to lift the big lead acid battery into my diesel ute! :)

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Last task of the day was to take the car battery into my apartment at night.

        *Proper* cars don't need no steenkin' battery to start - insert starter handle, turn until resistence, use motorbike kickstart technique..

        (Tried doing it with my hands and the kickback, even from a puny 1100cc A-Series engine nearly broke my wrist.. Morris Minors can be viscious beasts if you don't treat them right!)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I would have been tempted to use vice grips to clamp the leads for quick removal/installation.

        Just put dishwashing gloves on the handles when installed so they don't short on the hood when you hit a bad bump.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "The tow truck drove down the street collecting $10 for every car that it jump started."

      What, are you 80yo? A tenner would be a massive deal these days. I'd say, with inflation, that it would be AT LEAST a Franklin ($100).

  7. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Had a similar issue reported with "stop start" technology on certain models in the UK.

    Get caught in a traffic jam which moves occasionally. The car starts, pulls forward and cuts the engine after a few seconds exactly as designed. This particular model could not have auto-stop disabled which meant after an estimated 13 engine start stop cycles the battery died ... Wonderful in theory but implementation has to be correct for it to work well in real life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I had a Honda Civic and the stop-start would auto-disable if the battery voltage was too low.

      1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

        My Q30 needs the battery to be at a certain level, the engine temp to be at a certain level, and even then it limits itself to 3 stop/start cycles till it gets some real charge back in the battery.

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Interesting.

          My wife's diesel Disco has stop/start, but it's smart enough to enable or disable it according to how firmly you press the brake pedal. Light touch, just enough to hold the car stationary = no stop/start. Heavier press on the pedal = stop/start enabled.

          Actually quite smart, because how is the car going to know for itself whether you're going to be stopped for 2 seconds, or a minute?

          Her car also has a heated steering wheel, which I admit I do covet. My older Volvo has adaptive cruise control though, so I guess we're even :)

          1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

            The Q30 has a simple system - you need to apply the handbrake and put it in neutral. Only then will the engine stop. Pressing the clutch/disengaging the handbrake is when it starts again.

          2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Unhappy

            That is something I miss (Along with heated mirrors as my vehicle has towing mirrors installed).

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        I had a Honda Civic and the stop-start would auto-disable if the battery voltage was too low.

        That's probably a paid-for option on a German car :-)

    2. Dimmer Silver badge

      Stop start

      Bought a Ford, had that “feature”. The next year model for a surcharge of $50 you could order it without the “feature”.

      Sounds like something Microsoft would do.

      1. StudeJeff

        Re: Stop start

        It's not a feature, it's a flaw.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Stop start

          No no, it's not a flaw. It's a future revenue realisation opportunity.

          Every corporation in the world when they realise you still have something in your wallet --->

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Stop start

        "Sounds like something Microsoft would do."

        They could create several more Balmers if people could pay to have all of the assistance pop-ups put to death.

    3. IGotOut Silver badge

      My little Hyundai has quite a few things to it's Stop / Start

      Won't do it if cold

      Won't do if battery low

      Won't do it if it's only been a short period of time since the last stop

      Won't do it if it's just come out of reverse (a safety thing?)

      Then again, it also turns the lights off (including the interior) if you remove the keys and walk away.

    4. Sudosu Bronze badge

      I actually swapped one of my diesel truck batteries for an ultra capacitor.

      I will spin the engine like a top at -40, the other battery just needs to provide at least 9v to the ECU.

      This is almost what stop-start engines need.

  8. vtcodger Silver badge

    Anyone who has actually done "due diligence" on pure EVs should know that the current crop are best suited to users who:

    . Live in mild climates

    . Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

    . Are driven frequently. (parasitic drains of various sorts will likely eventually kill the battery if you let them sit without charging for many months -- and yes people do that with ICE cars sometimes).

    . Have a place to charge them (and a power grid capable of charging a large number of EVs if one's neighbors are also buying EVs)

    . Don't drive in very mountainous areas.

    One doesn't have to fully satisfy ALL those criteria in order to be happy with an EV. But satisfying most would be a good idea.

    Hybrid EVs should be a satisfactory alternative for many folks. They still burn fossil fuels, but often significantly less than pure ICEs.

    Future EVs will be better. Probably on all counts. But it'll be a long time (maybe never) before EVs are the right vehicle for every use case.

    1. Ace2 Silver badge

      Generally agree except for long trips - they’re awesome for long drives. Stopping every 2-3 hours for 15 mins isn’t actually bad. At the end of a long day of driving, you’re much better off than if you had tried to drive straight through.

      1. yet another bruce

        Superchargers along Interstates make many roadtrips an EV pleasure

        I agree. If you can use the Tesla Supercharger network, long trips in summer are no problem. Once you get away from the Interstate system, there are still plenty of routes where Superchargers are thin on the ground and you may need to plan your route carefully. I think driver satisfaction for these Robert Frost fans will depend on whether this kind of navigation puzzle is a joy or a torment.

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        You're probably right. I should have said "Those who don't make long trips thru thinly populated areas"

        One problem with long trips in the US is that for many users, they correspond to holiday weekends when most everyone is taking long trips. Thanksgiving and Christmas for example. In populous areas there may be a lot of choice of charging locations, but out in the plains or Great Basin, or the Mojave, one is likely to find themselves at the end of a LONG queue awaiting access to a charger. The holiday weekend queues at the original Tesla supercharger site at Kettleman City half way between LA and San Francisco on I5 are legendary. Tesla, to its credit, has added sites there. But somebody is going to have to pay for all those rarely used chargers. I reckon that in the long run, it'll be the users.

        The other potential problem is the chargers. Vermont seems on paper to have a lot of publicly available EV chargers. But reading the labels on the (non Tesla) devices in my local supermarket parking lot, it looks like they will give one, at best, 10kwh (40 miles or so on a nice June day) charge in an hour. There's not all that much to do in a rural strip mallish sort of place for hours while one "refuels." Especially at night. In Winter. Queuing probably won't be a problem though. Nobody much in Vermont owns an EV. I think I've seen two cars in the past 3-4 years actually use the things

        1. StudeJeff

          Shopping center chargers

          A lot of those sorts of chargers are "destination" chargers. They are Level 2 chargers just like many people have at home.

          They are fine to juice your car up a bit while you are shopping, but that's about it unless you work in the shopping center.

        2. Sven Coenye

          It depends on where you are. There are plenty of Teslas, Nissan Leafs (Leaves???), even Rivians in the Central VT area. Outside of the built-up areas, it is not a problem to install a home charging point.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      If you're getting an EV, the biggest win is charging for cheap overnight (or from solar) If you can't charge cheaply at home I wouldn't recommend an EV.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge

        That is, of course, until your EV starts metering the charge that it receives so that the government can collect tax from it like they do for petrol/diesel.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          If my government wants to screw a few more pennies out of me, there are *much* easier ways of doing it than adding instruments to every EV (which no other country will need) and setting up a bureaucracy to look at the numbers.

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Devil

            Your EV already has said instruments (coulomb-counting is necessary to estimate the battery's state of charge etc.) and the means to report the data (5G connectivity in every car). The rest is just software and legislation.

            EVs cause a lot of potholes and represent a huge hole in tax revenues compared to the fuel duty and vehicle excise duty that are levied on ICE vehicles. Governments WILL start taxing them when they have finished stamping out ICE vehicle production.

            Also, governments just LOVE setting up bureaucracies for anything and everything. What better way to reward party donors than giving them a cushy job as a director of a new quango!

            1. PRR Silver badge

              > EVs cause a lot of potholes and represent a huge hole in tax revenues compared to the fuel duty and vehicle excise duty that are levied on ICE vehicles.

              > Governments WILL start taxing them when they have finished stamping out ICE vehicle production.

              The deluxe "Prime" RAV4 is a half-ton heavier than the ICE and lesser hybrid RAV4s because battery to go 15 miles without starting the engine. The lesser RAV4s are not exactly light, so that 4,400lb (2000kg) "Prime" must be hard on pavement. MY pavement funded by MY 40+ years of gasoline purchases. While the current RAV4 Prime does buy fuel (near as much as a pure gasoline RAV4), the future is all-electric.(*)

              (US) Govs *must* (well, should) start taxing non-fuel vehicles long before ICEs are "stamped out". Road tax money gets spent as fast as it comes in. If it stops coming in (because stamp-out) we will all be sorry. Not just the busted-axle drivers, but the Pavement Contractors who are traditionally major supporters of all politicians.

              There may be some overlap because Heavy Trucks are not really going to electrify this election cycle (the port of San Diego out-haul electrics barely dent the needs) and their fuel taxes are much higher per gallon and per day than our cars.

              Yes, a heads-up fix would be to drop the fuel tax and get road-funds by Weight times Miles (times Speed?). The vehicle brain can know all this and 4G-cell it to a Traf-O-Data service, get monthly billing.

              (*)When I was a mere lad, say 1959, the utilities promoted the ALL ELECTRIC HOUSE. Got a little badge by the doorbell, and in the house sale brochure. The idea lasted longer in TVA and other subsidized areas, but didn't thrive; was even put in a museum. Is that where all-electric cars will end up?

              1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

                > we will all be sorry. Not just the busted-axle drivers, but the Pavement Contractors who are traditionally major supporters of all politicians.

                You realise of course that only a small portion of tax raised by road vehicles is actually used on the roads?

              2. imanidiot Silver badge

                Your first mistake is thinking that road tax pays for road maintenance and infrastructure. It doesn't. Not by a long shot: https://pirg.org/edfund/media-center/who-pays-for-roads/ (note, I have no idea of the polical affiliation or agenda of that source, I just found the article and it seems to cover the basics to support my argument)

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Your first mistake is thinking that road tax pays for road maintenance and infrastructure. It doesn't. Not by a long shot

                  Politics is weird like that. Did you know that smoking is going to make charging your EV more expensive? -

                  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-67993276

                  Inflation, which measures how prices rise over time, rose marginally to 4% in December, up from 3.9% in November.

                  Economists had forecast a slight fall, but rises in tobacco and alcohol prices were behind the surprise rise.

                  Sin taxes make virtue signalling more expensive. Who knew? But government slapped 2 consecutive >10% duty rises on tobacco, now it's £75 for 100g. Electricity costs are indexed, so inflation goes up, electricity goes up.. Which is the kind of bonkers that only government economists can come up with. I'm fairly certain tobacco isn't a significant part of a windmill operators opex, but as their contracts are indexed, their price goes up!

                  Sad thing is a lot of our stuff is index linked, so as government policies drive prices up, they drive up inflation along with it. It's also a little bizarre that government could now make a noticeable reduction in inflation rates just by halving tobacco duty. I suspect that would do little to change smoking rates, but government will just probably remove tobacco from the basket of goods instead.

            2. Chet Mannly

              "Governments WILL start taxing them when they have finished stamping out ICE vehicle production."

              Already being proposed in Australia - they propose to (are? still have an ICE myself) charging per km driven, calculated annually. If you report false (ie low) kms you get smashed when you sell the car as the roadworthy cert and changeover papers record the odometer.

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                Devil

                Ah, road charging.

                Yeah, thought they might do that.

                And of course, everything happens first in Australia, then in the UK, then in the US and Europe. It's like Oz and Blighty are the world's guinea pigs for the authoritarian invisible hand..

                But it's fine, cos nobody will need to drive more than 15 minutes, right?

                1. ChoHag Silver badge

                  You've got to try it out where the people won't fight back hard enough that they win

                  Then you point out that success to the next link in the chain and repeat.

              2. catprog

                Except the goverment ended up having to pay it all back

                https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-29/victorian-government-to-repay-electric-vehicles-tax/103163994

              3. MachDiamond Silver badge

                "Already being proposed in Australia"

                It's too easy to game that sort of programme. It's much easier to just add an annual fee to registration that's equivalent to what an average somebody would pay in petrol taxes. A heavier car/truck would use more petrol, so an EV in the same weight class would pay more as well. A lightweight city EV would pay less. People with vehicles registered in cities would pay less as they'd driver fewer miles than somebody that lived way out where it's harder to get road crews and where they need to travel further for shopping runs (though they often do bigger shops less frequently).

                I can think of a few ways to go about cheating the mileage cops that would work and take a deep dive into the electronics to find. There would have to be a serious amount of suspicion for them® to dig that deep. There's already problems with people that have their digital odometers rolled back. I know how to do it on my car and it isn't that hard, but I've got a degree in electronics so I know it won't be easy for many. That said, once learned by somebody, they could do it for many people for a small fee (or not so small). It's figuring it out the first time that takes the skill.

                Stupid cheats will get caught, but it doesn't mean lots of people won't still try and passing laws with little societal value isn't a great way to run a country. "What are you in for?... Littering. Every body moves to the other end of the bench. And creating a public nuisance. Everybody slides back over." There would be the need to levy large fines to build the courts to try more people for breaking this law. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Governments WILL start taxing them when they have finished stamping out ICE vehicle production."

              Here in North they have already started. By the minimum, about 100 euros per year. But obviously "minimum" is just like any tax minimum, it will change in 2 seconds after someone wants it.

              Here in North government taxes 'traffic', i.e. cars (planes,ships or trains are tax-free), about 9 billion euros every year and they've already said they *have to get* that money, one way or another. That means EVs will pay all of it,eventually: 10 to 20 times more they pay now. Then EV isn't an economical option anymore, but it doesn't matter because it's all you can buy.

              Old idea that only rich people should be able to own a car. Any car: Peons can walk (or use a bus, if there is one).

              Another attack vector: Here in North electricity was costing 2 euros/kWh for a day and power companies blatantly lied about 'an errör'. Yea, 'an error' that raises the price 10 000% overnight? All profit, of course, and no lack of power either, just couple of days of -25C. What a co-incidence, eh?

              That should tell us that there's literally no limit of how expensive electricity *will* get, fueled just by the greed of power companies. Greed is always infinite.

              2e/kWh and ~20kWh/100km means 40 euros. In summer. Even my museum car, which is a gas hog, uses only 22 euros. Price equivalent is somewhere around 1e/kWh and it's not hard to see that it will be a new norm in electricity price in just few years: No need to sell it cheaper when buyers have to buy and sellers are a cartel (called Nordpool). See: OPEC.

          2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            They won't be on the car; they'll be on the charger.

            1. cyberdemon Silver badge

              Currently yes, but in future, they could be on the car too, to enable you to pay fuel duty on your home granny-charger.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                "Currently yes, but in future, they could be on the car too, to enable you to pay fuel duty on your home granny-charger."

                It doesn't take much thinkin' to come up with a dozen ways around that.

                The easiest way to implement a road tax for an EV is to go by weight and where the car is registered. That will say plenty about the average amount of driving somebody is likely to do AND add a factor for wear and tear of the roads. Most regions already have a weight component to their registration fees so it's only a matter of bumping that up. Yes, those that drive huge numbers of miles pay less than somebody from the same area that drives someplace a couple of days a week and not that far, but the alternative is a huge agency with lots of staff that demand people supply them with detailed information about their travels. How much more will the taxes be to support that bloated government department over just not getting worked up about it being "so unfair" that the person that drives a lot is getting a much better deal per mile than you are?

          3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            If my government wants to screw a few more pennies out of me, there are *much* easier ways of doing it than adding instruments to every EV (which no other country will need) and setting up a bureaucracy to look at the numbers.

            If by 'my government', you mean the UK, EU and I'm pretty sure US, too late. That instrumentation is already in vehicles in the form of 'black boxes' and mobile data. Variously spun as a useful way to alert emergency services in case of an accident, or more honestly.. To support road charging. Governments aren't going to give up the money they make from fuel duty, which was a simple to administer form of road charging anyway. As for bureaucracy, this is what governments do. And given the dependency on 'smart' meters, Crapita thanks you for your service.

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          I already pay tax on the electricity supplied, and tax on the supply of electricity (the actual wires), and here's the kicker - once those are added together, I pay tax on that, so effectively part of my bill is tax on the tax.

          So if the car wants to meter its consumption for more tax, they can go stick that right where the sun doesn't shine.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "I already pay tax on the electricity supplied, and tax on the supply of electricity (the actual wires), "

            Which is a *small fraction* of what is paid on gas or diesel. Not only that, those pay *tax on taxes* too. First fuel tax, then VAT from said fuel tax, of course.

            "So if the car wants to meter its consumption for more tax, they can go stick that right where the sun doesn't shine."

            Unfortunately it's you who will be the target of that. Threre *will* be a lot more taxes on EVs, that's a given.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "That is, of course, until your EV starts metering the charge that it receives so that the government can collect tax from it like they do for petrol/diesel."

          In the US, many states add an EV fee to annual registration. I ran some quick numbers and found that for what I drive and the fuel economy of my car, the EV fees were more than the petrol tax I paid.

          Why is everybody so worried the gubbmint isn't going to demand their cut plus 10%? Early EV adopters got a bit of a break, but now it's starting to show so that's the end of that. Still weird that those same states that charge an EV fee also have a rebate or tax credit for buying an EV. Just one of those things that makes you say "hmmmmm".

      2. StudeJeff

        If you can't charge at home...

        That's 100% correct. If you can't charge at home you are likely better off not buying an EV.

        For the first couple of weeks I had mine it was a pain to get to a Supercharger all the time. Then the electrician did his bit and now I leave home every day with a full charge.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

      And there are those of us who do have an EV and take long trips in the winter.

      I've just returned from a trip to the French Alps. 800+ miles each way and with an early start using the Chunnel, I was able to drive to Annecy in one day and the temp never went above +1C.

      My first charge in France was at the Ionity site near Rhiems. I'd programmed that into the car and 40km away, the car started heating the battery (preconditioning). Arrived with 16% (or 50km) of range left.

      By careful planning the whole trip including a week in the Alps was done without a major panic.

      There were two Tesla Model Y's at the Rhiems site. The drivers commented on the speed that my EV-6 was charging when compared to their cars. Neither driver knew how to make sure that their cars preconditioned.

      Piss Poor Planning etc etc etc.

      1. Steve Button Silver badge

        Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

        What if I don't want to "carefully plan" my whole trip, and would like some flexibility?

        What if there's already a queue in Reims (which is where I presume you actually mean), can you pre-book a slot? Could be waiting for hours.

        What if it's not +1C, but closer to -20C? This is rare, but does happen in Europe (especially in the Alps)

        What if there's a storm and you are stuck in traffic trying to get down the mountain in -20C?

        1. jamesb2147

          Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

          You apparently haven't driven many (any?) EV's.

          This isn't much different from planning for gas stops, we're just early enough in the transition that there aren't Supercharger stations *literally everywhere* yet.

          If there's already a queue, Teslas will either direct you to another Supercharger or warn you so you can otherwise plan for the queue. Prebooking a slot isn't a thing (yet) so it's not orderly in the sense that things are forced to be orderly, but you can certainly form a literal queue waiting for a spot, and at Superchargers those waits are generally <20 mins.

          Fair in that temp impacts range. The surprising thing is that the same is largely true of ICE, we just don't notice it as much. If EV's start to have 400mi range as standard, and Superchargers everywhere (I'd bet real money on the latter happening), you won't see a difference. This really swings back to your first point about planning.

          Just like in an ICE, better hope those plows can reach you! I don't see how this differs meaningfully; people in ICE vehicles ran out of gas commuting from Washington DC a few years back when they got a freak blizzard.

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

            > If EV's start to have 400mi range as standard, and Superchargers everywhere (I'd bet real money on the latter happening)

            I'd bet real money on those superchargers never appearing or never being connected to the electrical grid, because a supercharger station needs at least a 1MVA electric substation, HV pylons, that need to be connected to a bigger substation, and so forth. The infrastructure to support this at a wide scale does NOT exist and is ridiculously expensive to build. It's also unreliable and vulnerable to disruption, especially as more renewables enter the mix.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

              I'd bet real money on those superchargers never appearing or never being connected to the electrical grid, because a supercharger station needs at least a 1MVA electric substation, HV pylons, that need to be connected to a bigger substation, and so forth.

              The one I really don't get is practical infrastructure to charge electric semis. A large US truck stop has the ability to refuel a lot of trucks at once. Doing the same to large truck batteries seems quite the challenge, especially when the infrastructure needed for EV cars at a service station is already a huge challenge. At least with trucks there's the ability to tie charging in with mandatory rest stops, but that's still going to leave trucks hooked up to chargers and requiring a lot of power. Maybe this is a use case for SMRs, or multiple SMRs.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

                "A large US truck stop has the ability to refuel a lot of trucks at once. Doing the same to large truck batteries seems quite the challenge,"

                Electrifying long distance trucks is picking the small fruit off the top of the tree. It's far more possible to electrify HGV's used for local deliveries or known runs so that's where efforts should be put. In the medium term, look at rail improvements to do far more of the long movements of goods much more quickly is a better use of brain power. The electric trucks could move good to and from railheads and distribution centers. The world gets even sillier when people start talking about electrifying passenger air travel. The Underwear Gnomes are closer to a workable solution than electric planes are to reality.

                Step one, get as much personal and light transportation electrified as is reasonable. Professor De La Paz was right. When presented with a complex problem, do the part you understand and look at it again. In this context, personal transport first AND THEN long distance trucking.

                Of course, Elon is looking for government grants to have MegaChargers installed to charge Tesla Semi's being used to transport sub-assemblies from BF Nevada to Austin, TX. Why locate the factories closer together if there's a possibility of getting tax payer money to smooth over the idiocy?

          2. Chet Mannly

            Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

            "If EV's start to have 400mi range as standard"

            My current car has a range of well over 800km, and it's not an ecomobile.

            Cars are about freedom. When I'm on holiday I just wanna get out there and drive and see what takes my fancy out in the countryside where there is often no electricial grid, let alone superchargers.

            Not everyone is like you and wants to spend their time on holidays carefully planning out every km and being tethered to a certain route because the car dies if they don't follow it. If that's your bag then fine, but please don't inflict it on the rest of us...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

              “please don't inflict it on the rest of us...”

              EV zealots are like other people’s unruly kids.

              Everyone gets involved, whether you like it or not.

          3. Intractable Potsherd

            Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

            "This isn't much different from planning for gas stops..." Who plans for fuel stops in civilised countries?? I've driven many times from Scotland to the Czech Republic, sometimes doing the trip from which ever ferry-port on the mainland coast in one go, sometimes with one or two overnight stops. Since I know the mpg of my cars, and watch the fuel-gauge, and start thinking "fuel needed" once it gets to about a quarter full, I have never yet had a problem needing to "plan fuel stops" in advance.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

              "Who plans for fuel stops in civilised countries??"

              In the US, once you are off the interstate highways, gas stations get much further apart and the ones in small towns aren't open 24/7. That's why you want to plan. I don't have an EV yet, but I plan my trips with my petrol car. That there are many stations means I can make stops up on the fly much of the time, but at least I have an outline of what I want to do before I leave. I check fuel prices as well. It can make sense to stop short if going until needing to refuel puts you someplace with much higher prices. If you see that the gas stations along your route start closing around dark, you might want to make sure you stop and top up if you will still have some miles to go.

              I've done road trips where a friend and I just choose a direction and go, but those had always been along major highways. These days, I really like to take the road less traveled and stop for lunch at "Mom's Diner" rather than Denny's. I also like to pour over the maps and find the really interesting places to stop and see along the way.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

            oooo the planning that goes:

            1. look at fuel gauge, think I might need to top up in the next hour.

            2. stop and top up in 5 mins

            3. continue journey

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

            "This isn't much different from planning for gas stops,"

            What? You *do not* plan "gas stops". Unless you are in the Siberia where you have to do that because there aren't many of them. For an EV central Europe is apparently equivalent to Siberia for the rest of us.

            Why would anyone (with a actual gas tank) plan gas stops? There are gas stations everywhere and they are more or less similar to each other. Just refill a bit before you run out. Simple.

            I know friends travelling with semi-off-road motorbikes and those have only 9 liter fuel tank: Those need a bit of a planning as it goes about 150km with full tank on road and about 100km off-road.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

              "Why would anyone (with a actual gas tank) plan gas stops? There are gas stations everywhere and they are more or less similar to each other. Just refill a bit before you run out. Simple."

              I think you missed my bit about gas stations off the interstate highways often closing around sunset. Why plan? Do you want to pull up with a near empty tank and have to sleep in the car until the station opens in the morning? I'm not making this up. I have a trip planned where I was finding stations closed at night.

          6. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

            "Teslas will either direct you to another Supercharger or warn you so you can otherwise plan for the queue. "

            Everybody does that now and there's apps for cars that don't have it built in. In the US, the upside is with a non-tesla, you aren't limited to mainly one brand of charger. In another few years all restaurants will be Taco Bell, so it won't matter, but I like to get my digs in while they last.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

          Regarding the possibility of a queue at a charger

          The SatNav in the car tells me now many of the chargers are in use. In Reims, I could easily divert to a slower charger at a nearby supermarket or a fast one in the city. The range of options was available there in the SatNav.

          My preferred charger near Annecy was always busy but with a bit of planning I was always able to get a charge on a 150kWh charger without waiting. On the last day, I got up early and beat the rush to the pistes and was able to charge to 90%. That charge allowed me to drive over 200miles and well away from the alps.

          Piss poor planning etc

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips - Your Mileage May Vary

            Friend of mine in the UK (Scotland), her parents have an ancient electric car with a totally flocked battery, it's fine for running about town, but going on any trip with them they have to stop every hour or so to re-charge & sometimes run without heaters.

            What should be a 2 - 3 hour drive max takes about 7.

            In this scenario it's when you hire a ICE.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: re: Don't make many (preferably no) long trips.

          "What if I don't want to "carefully plan" my whole trip, and would like some flexibility?"

          You then suffer horribly and I just have to hope that you vlog your trip so I can laugh and use your video to show why having an education is a good thing. <eg>

          There's 'flexibility' and then there's going off half-cocked. The former is not a problem. The latter seems to me what you want to do and not have it confer any consequences. Good luck with that.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      "the current crop are best suited to users who:"

      You're absolutely right on all counts. I would point out, however, that "Live in mild climates", "Lives in cities / suburbs" and "lives in a non-mountainous area" covers at least 70-80% of world population. In other words, EVs as they are already comfortably cover the needs of, I would say, a good 20% of world population, with a further 20-30% for whom it's 'good enough'.

      "Future EVs will be better. Probably on all counts. But it'll be a long time (maybe never) before EVs are the right vehicle for every use case."

      Absolutely they will get better. The only way future EVs will completely replace EVs is if they can have an 800km range with 10 minute recharge time (meaning >150 kWh battery capacity, >800kW charging power and 500 Wh/kg specific energy density). Theoretically possible, but practically???

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Yes ... But

        Actuallly, I pretty much agree with two caveats.

        1. Current EVs cost too damn much. Especially if one includes the cost of a home charger. That sort of disqualifies them for a large fraction of the potential users who are probably better off economically with a decrepit used ICE vehicle that barely runs, but is satisfactory few trips a week for shopping, and entertainment.

        2. In developing countries the ideal EV for many users is probably not the same as the vehicles those of us in the developed world are looking at. It's probably something like a three wheel tricycle with a maximum speed of 30-40kph, but with enough power to lug 400kg of crops or the wife and three kids 20km to a market town ... and back. I don't expect to see that from Tesla, Ford, VW, or Toyota. Probably they will come from some companies we have never heard of in China, India, Indonesia.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Yes ... But

          "Current EVs cost too damn much"

          Even considering cheaper running costs, the unsubsidised sticker price is still quite high... but it's getting closer and closer to a similair ICE car. The real question with regards to long-term costs is how much value it retains after 5 or 10 years. Currently 2nd-hand prices are low because of doubts about battery longevity (in fact AFAIK Tesla buys up used Teslas to recondition or change battery before resale, as otherwise they don't sell well), and that means a very high annual depreciation. If battery life of the newer cars proves itself stable after 10-15 years and the car keeps a strong aftermarket value, the overall annual cost would drop even with a high sticker price.

          "something like a three wheel tricycle with a maximum speed of 30-40kph, but with enough power to lug 400kg of crops or the wife and three kids 20km to a market town ... and back"

          Absolutely... an electric Piaggio Ape*! And in many other cases even in the developed world, an electric bicycle or tricycle can be more practical than an electric car.

          (Not ape as in gorilla, but pronounced A-pay, in Italian it means bee)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yes ... But

            " but it's getting closer and closer to a similair ICE car. "

            Only if EV isn't taxed the same way. If it paid even near same taxes it would cost 2* as much as similar ordinary car. Just because it costs 2* to build. Simple.

            Norway has zero taxes for EVs and huge taxes on other cars, so a Toyota Corolla costs about the same as a Tesla. Without taxes you can buy two Corollas with the price of a Tesla. And frankly, Tesla is a cheap car, despite the size, something equivalent would be Dacia. Costing less than half of the Tesla without taxes.

            Claiming prices go down is a pipe dream: When they can sell every car there's no need to reduce prices. Not now and not in foreseeable future.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: Yes ... But

              " When they can sell every car there's no need to reduce prices."

              And yet, "they" can't keep selling every car they make at the current price because at some point all the richer people will have one, and the less-well-off people who can't afford that will still want one. And what will happen is that "they" will introduce a lower-spec, cheaper model to supply that market. This has already happened.... The original Tesla roadster cost $100k at the time. The first Model S (which by the way is over 10 years ago) sold for less than $60k. The first Model 3 sold for $35k.

              And if "they" isn't Tesla, it will be one of the dozens of electric car manufacturers around the world or some new entry from India

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Yes ... But

                "The first Model 3 sold for $35k."

                The first Model 3 was promised at $35k, but very few (highly crippled) of them were sold at that price and long after they were first introduced.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Yes ... But

              "Claiming prices go down is a pipe dream: When they can sell every car there's no need to reduce prices. Not now and not in foreseeable future."

              Tesla is chopping prices all over. Elon is saying he doesn't care as much about profits as he does units sold. Stockholders take note. The reports I've seen (anecdotal, for certain) say that excess Teslas are winding up on storage lots which is why there has been recent rounds of price cutting. Every hectare of car park they have to rent is profit lost from the cars they store there.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Yes ... But

          hree wheel tricycle with a maximum speed of 30-40kph, but with enough power to lug 400kg of crops or the wife and three kids 20km to a market town ... and back

          I'm sure that there will be plenty of backstreet mechanics in India, China and Pakistan offering to convert a Tuktuk to electric. It could probably even use lead-acid batteries like the old milk floats..

      2. Chet Mannly

        ""Lives in cities / suburbs" and "lives in a non-mountainous area" covers at least 70-80% of world population."

        In developed countries maybe - you seem to be forgetting that 80% of the *actual* world population does not live in developed countries.

        1. catprog

          How many of the other 80% can afford an ICE car?

        2. jmch Silver badge

          "you seem to be forgetting that 80% of the *actual* world population does not live in developed countries."

          No, didn't forget that at all. The vast majority of people, even in poorer countries, live in cities or suburbs. All the most populous countries are in warm or temperate regions with the majority of population in coastal plains, not mountains. It's also true that the vast majority of them could never afford a Tesla or even a e-VW. But many of them could afford a BYD or a small, locally produced electric tricycle-type vehicle.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "70-80% of world population."

        Whole population is irrelevant, we should talk about the part of the population that can afford an EV and that number is a lot less than 10%. Even in so called rich countries. For poor countries it is probably less than 1%.

        Major part of that segment of population lives in cold climates.

        EV will never be as cheap as an ordinary car as it takes ~2* the energy and materials to build and neither will be cheaper in the future. Safe guess is that the reverse happens.

        Unless someone invents cheap fusion power and dirt cheap batteries using common materials. I won't be holding my breath while waiting for either.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Absolutely they will get better."

        Why? Baseless assumption based on literally nothing.

        Almost all manufacturers can sell every car they make, so they will only get cheaper to make, i.e. more profit. Not better: Absolutely zero pressure to that.

        Unless 'better' happens for free, naturally.

        When EU mandates EVs as only allowed cars there's even less competition than now as demand will surpass the supply. A lot. That means rising prices and *worse* cars.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Holmes

          Rising prices are guaranteed

          The current market is fueled by unsustainable subsidies at both ends: China dumping loss-leaders, plus Western governments giving out subsidies and tax breaks for Net Zero.

          But when that system of subsidies inevitably ends, EVs will be the only option, and so only the rich will drive.

          Quality will come down for a while, as western EV producers are put out of business by the loss-making Chinese ones, then the prices will go back up, but China has to recoup its loss somehow, so the quality won't improve.

          1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

            Re: Rising prices are guaranteed

            Hard to believe. Features that were only available on top-of-the range cars when I first started driving are standard on today's base models: electric windows, central locking, rear wash/wipe, electronic ignition, radio, aircon, etc. And things that were considered the height of luxury, seen on RR and Bentley, like heated seats, heated steering wheels, electric seats, tyre pressure monitoring, reversing cameras, etc. are now options on most models today, Once EV build quantities ramp up to ICE levels then prices will come down.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Rising prices are guaranteed

              "And things that were considered the height of luxury, seen on RR and Bentley, like heated seats, heated steering wheels, electric seats, tyre pressure monitoring, reversing cameras, etc. are now options on most models today, Once EV build quantities ramp up to ICE levels then prices will come down."

              Many of those "features" are cheap to implement and create a high perceived value for really low cost. Many of them are nothing more than frippery.

              The biggest component cost of an EV is the battery pack. Electric motors have been made in mass quantities for ages now so there isn't much of a ramp to lower prices. The rest of an EV vs ICEV is the same.

              As quantities go up, the price breaks from one bracket to the next go down. There is a big final plateau for many things and for standardized parts and processes, it's reached very quickly. I could buy eyelets 1,000 at a time for one price through a distributor and 25,000 at a time direct from the manufacturer at the cost of 5,000 from the distributor. The next price break was pushing 100,000 pieces and not much of a break per eyelet. In the real world it really made no difference on what it cost me to produce a product using them. One of the bigger issues was not direct component costs, but getting better quality components to save money from handling rejects or finding some part was not to spec down the line where a bunch of value has been added and now all needs to be scrapped.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Rising prices are guaranteed

            > The current market is fueled by unsustainable subsidies at both ends: China dumping loss-leaders, plus Western governments giving out subsidies and tax breaks for Net Zero.

            Bullshit. Why can't you understand such basic economics principles as learning curve.

            You're the kind of guy who would have predicted in 1900 that the Ford T would be reserved to the rich.

            1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

              Re: Rising prices are guaranteed

              "You're the kind of guy who would have predicted in 1900 that the Ford T would be reserved to the rich."

              Or "I think there's a world market for maybe five computers".

        2. jmch Silver badge

          "Baseless assumption based on literally nothing."

          I think it's a pretty safe assumption, based on a couple of centuries of technological development, and a working knowledge of capitalism. Even if ICE cars are completely banned, electric car makers are still competing against each other for market share. The developing world is getting richer so demand for cars and other vehicles will anyway only grow. The high cost of battery cars is tied to (a) new technologies, which have to recoup R&D costs and/or buy patent licenses and (b) battery cost. The technology cost will continue to sink for older technology while the best and newest is more expensive.On the battery front, battery cost is less than a fifth of what it was 10 years ago*, even as capacities have quadrupled.

          When there are customers willing/able to buy only a cheap electric car but not an expensive one, you can be sure that some car company will fill that niche.

          * https://www.statista.com/statistics/883118/global-lithium-ion-battery-pack-costs/

      5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        can have an 800km range with 10 minute recharge time

        Saw an article about a new battery technology using charge-carrying nanofluid - essentially, you fill up with the fluid, as it passes through the battery unit it loses the charge and powers the car. Next fuel stop, you discharge the spent fluid (it can be recharged and re-used), fill up with charged fluid and continue.

        It (currently) isn't in production but offers similar power density to the previous generation of batteries and is being actively worked on.

        Found a link about it:

        https://spectrum.ieee.org/flow-battery-2666672335

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "Saw an article about a new battery technology using charge-carrying nanofluid - essentially, you fill up with the fluid, as it passes through the battery unit it loses the charge and powers the car. Next fuel stop, you discharge the spent fluid (it can be recharged and re-used), fill up with charged fluid and continue."

          Flow batteries have been around for some time. They problem is they don't have great energy density and there are environmental issues with some of them. You aren't going to get a car that will drive for 4 hours using a flow battery and it would still require visiting a specialized facility to re-fuel the car in the same way you have to go to a petrol station.

          There could be some applications for stationary flow batteries where mass and size aren't much of an issue and the fluids can be safely contained.

      6. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "is if they can have an 800km range with 10 minute recharge time"

        If you've burned through a middle of the road EV battery, you are going to need more than 10 minutes to visit the loo, get food and wipe the windscreen. Hyundai/Kia have models that will charge from 10-80% in 18 minutes on a suitable charger. Let's say you are a pretty fast sprinter and make it back with a bag of food and an empty bladder in less time, how often will this scenario happen? If getting from A to B as fast as possible is the key thing, why are you driving? Yes, flying is the whole effing day so perhaps driving 500 miles is better value for money but, again, how often does this happen?

        My logs show an ICEV trip stop for gas and comfort is ~20 minutes. A stop with a meal is ~45 minutes. YMMV, but those should be in the ballpark. At 20yo, you can go 4 hours between loo visits. A few decades later that interval shortens.... by at least half. Here's a place where men and women can be quite different as well and throw everything out of the window when there are more than 2 people in the car and/or there are children. The trick is to be able to aim for stops that have charging and take meals in places that have the highest power chargers whenever possible given how fast your EV will charge.

    5. Mikcole

      EV's love mountains. My efficiency is great here in mountanous BC, Canada. Yes, they suck in the very cold . . . but it's only very cold for 2-3 weeks of the year and the rest of the time I am saving 4-5 thousand a year in gas (very xpensive here in BC but elect is cheap) I take regular 400 mile trips in my EV and have no problems with charging, etc. Plus it's a darned super car and I don't get stuck in traffic as much as before.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I don't get stuck in traffic as much as before"

        now we know your talking bollocks, that has nothing to do with how the car is powered

    6. Justthefacts Silver badge

      Mountainous areas?

      I was with you, apart from mountainous areas? Why that? I would expect that mountains would show EV advantages: Regeneration on the downhill sections is fuel efficient. And ICEs don’t operate as efficiently/powerfully at the lower air pressures at altitude, while EVs are unaffected / benefit from (slightly) lower air resistance.

      What did I miss? Is this about mountainous areas generally being sparse of charging points?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the before time, in the long, long ago, literally thousands of minutes in the past, diesel used to freeze in fuel tanks.

    It was a news trope to see a snow bound artic (see what i did there, language setting=en-gb) with a blazing fire under the tank.

    But haterz are just gonna amp up the hate against Elon’s glorified milk floats.

    Or not, if it’s a bit chilly.

    1. Ace2 Silver badge

      People who live in these climates often have engine-block heaters. It’s not like extreme cold makes anything easier.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        People who live in these climates often have engine-block heaters. It’s not like extreme cold makes anything easier.

        Those crazy Swedes. First encountered this with a partner's Volvo and wondering why that got plugged in in the garage. I guess the same thing could be possible to add into a Volvo EV.

    2. yet another bruce

      If it is cold enough even block heaters may not be sufficient and some places run their big diesels continuously through periods of very cold weather. One Arctic location where I worked had signs asking drivers not to idle their trucks unless the temperature was colder than -40 degrees. When the temperature is very cold rubber and plastic can become very brittle. I have seen someone pull out a spool of wire with PVC insulation and be left with a handful of bare copper and a pile of plastic shards. I have seen a small sample placed in a ziplock bag shatter the plastic and fall to the ground.

      There is a learning process both for the engineers designing EVs and for drivers finding ways to use them effectively. Happily, you can trickle charge your EV from the same 120V outlets that are provided for block heaters. If you keep your car in a heated garage at night and plug in the trickle charger every place you park I expect most EVs will do OK even in freezing temperatures.

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        keep your car in a heated garage at night

        so I f we all transition to EV's & heat pumps, some will need to waste more energy keeping there garage warm to keep the car working.

        There is so much to this transition that people haven't even scratched the surface of.

        we are far better using petrol/diesel for road transport, yes some ICE cars in extreme climates may need electric to keep the engine warm, but it won't take as much electric as keeping an electric cars vitals warm.

        1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

          > keep your car in a heated garage at night

          Only if you are lucky enough to have one!

      2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        "and plug in the trickle charger every place you park I expect most EVs will do OK even in freezing temperatures."

        If for no other reason than the inevitable losses incurred by trickle charging the battery will keep it warm.

    3. Chet Mannly

      People who live in these climates have arctic diesel in winter that doesn't freeze. Thanks for showing your ignorance...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "People who live in these climates have arctic diesel in winter that doesn't freeze. "

        It does. The latest I've seen here in North ("arctic" quality) had freezing point of -34C. Mostly enough, but not guaranteed: Northern Fennoscandia had ~-40C couple of weeks ago, for a week or so. Not common, but it happens.

        They had to add (AFAIK) kerosene to diesel to stop it from freezing,

  10. Rafael #872397
    Coffee/keyboard

    ...hellsite X...

    Thanks.

  11. biddibiddibiddibiddi

    These people are waiting until they're at ZERO battery before plugging them in?

    Other than that, it's a hilarious situation that you have to use 10% of your car's total range just to warm it up to the point that you can plug it in. And then the charging costs more because it's taking longer than normal (sounds like a design goal for Tesla), and you're blocking the charging space from other people for even longer.

    Maybe a thin wrapper of uranium on every battery would do the trick.

    Or maybe a pedal device you could attach to generate power for a heater.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      My neighbours EV has a separate (lead acid) battery which provides the battery heating. Seems a reasonable solution for the UK.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        seen the vid's of tesla's with a flat12v battery.

        people have to dismantle the car to get to it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      “Pedal device”

      You can see the Tesla drivers on these, every revolution the machine makes a faint “musk” sound…

      A cross between a generator and a Tibetan prayer wheel.

  12. Gordon 10

    This isnt really news is it?

    Vehicles of all descriptions have issues with extreme cold, the different Joe Schmo's diesel isnt newsworthy.

    Im all for a bit of Musk slagging but this one seems kinda pointless.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Yeah. "Machines have issues with extreme cold. Film at 11"

      ICE (ha!) cars/trucks have issues with cold too, but El Reg can't make clickbait out of that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Vehicles of all descriptions have issues with extreme cold,"

      Documented problems are features, not issues. Major difference. Currently EVs have a lot of issues.

      Diesel may freeze and that's the only fuel related problem, in practise. Weak battery applies, but that's user level problem, not systemic problem.

      Here in North we use oversized batteries, no problems in starting, even in -25C. With block heater a lot colder is still OK.

  13. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Flame

    "Preconditioning" takes too long

    My understanding is shoving a screwdriver or knife through a lithium-ion battery will solve the cold battery problem, quickly.

    Icon for the end result.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "It's not plug and go."

    Are the buyers being told that before they fork out the cash?

  15. Primus Secundus Tertius

    Petrol 1 : Electric 0.

    If you believe the man-made global warning freaks, using petrol engines reduces the risk of a freezing winter.

    1. Mikcole

      Says the person who lives by science but doesn't trust Scientists. Back to the stone age then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "but doesn't trust Scientists. "

        Climatologists arent scientists in any actual meaning of the word. Somewhere between economists and astrologists, literally no reason to trust them.

        Where are the experiments, hypothesis, theories, formulas derived from theories? Achh, there aren't any. Numerical model is used in engineering when engineers have no idea why something happens.

        Measuring directly the amount of heat CO2 absorbs/reflects is trivial, but no climatologist have done that, Or published the results. Wrong results (=no effect) aren't published, that's IPCC policy.

        But even bigger thing: Only *faith* is based on trust, science is based on facts and facts need to be proven right. The second you need to trust something, you've a religion or cult. Literal opposite of science.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Hey caveman...

          > Numerical model is used in engineering when engineers have no idea why something happens.

          OK. Please don't trust weather reports. Weather forecast rely heavily on numerical models.

          Don't take planes, don't use engines, don't consume electricity or petrol.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        PST believes in Diskal Warming, not Global Warming.

  16. tip pc Silver badge
    Flame

    buyer beware

    ev's can be great in summer, & great when plenty of GREEN wind & solar.

    hugely wasteful and expensive in winter when its not windy and no solar.

    I'm happy to stick with my ICE cars & await the self driving electric taxis of the future.

  17. spacec0w

    The comment on AC is pure BS

    I live in Barcelona and regularly drive in temperatures in the summer that are over 30 C. In fact heat waves the last few years near 40, I can can tell you that AC barely affects the battery. Just to guess maybe it takes away 5% of range, it will use normally around 500W, which really isn't much. This is the experience most people have from what I've seen on EV forums as well so that guy is an idiot or was just making it up. Yeah OK EVs have some issues but we don't need to make up fantasy ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The comment on AC is pure BS

      Don't worry spacec0w, the downvotes are par for the course on any story about EV's for anyone NOT slagging them off as useless.

      They'll hit this post with them as well. It is a shame that so many luddites are intent on not even trying to understand how EV's work and the best practices for using them.

      I'm 6 years ICE free and will never go back no matter how many downvotes I get.

      Oh, and I've got the Heatpump (cue more downvotes) , Solar (downvotes) and Home Battery Storage (boo hiss). In a few years, we'll be downvoting people who don't have this sort of tech.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The comment on AC is pure BS

      AC barely affects the battery. Just to guess maybe it takes away 5% of range, it will use normally around 500W, which really isn't much.

      No, on average that's pretty much the same as heating for cold weather, which is exactly the point being made. I know that when using AC or heating on my PHEV I also see a drop in EV range. Whether it's significant for a pure EV depends on how close you are to your next available charger.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: The comment on AC is pure BS

      Just to guess maybe it takes away 5% of range

      I think the "AC uses lots of power" trope is based on the old systems (as in 1970s and 80s) where they would sap a huge amount of MPG to use. Which is definately not the case with modern systems - the AC fitted to my Toyota has a negligable effect on the MPG (I was bored one week so measured the MPG of a weeks-worth of travel to work with the AC on and then again the next week with the AC off. Difference was about 2%).

      So no, modern AC fitted to cars are not the power/MPG sapping units from 30 years ago.

  18. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Battery vs Charger

    "He had to hire a tow truck and drove around looking for a charging station that worked in the freezing cold."

    Won't do any good. The "dead" charger is most likely due to low battery temps (as a protective feature). Best bet would be to get towed to Florida. Er, no. It's cold down there too.

    Same thing with zero battery charge. The systems shut down to protect the battery. Put the car in a heated garage overnight and some capacity will be restored.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: Battery vs Charger

      Somewhat surprising that the charger couldn't power a resistive heating element in the battery coolant circuit, if that were truly the case that the battery is too cold and is refusing to charge.

      It's also possible that the charger itself has an "error" with its temperature sensors. i.e. "sensor out-of-range, assume faulty".

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Battery vs Charger

      > Best bet would be to get towed to Florida. Er, no. It's cold down there too.

      Well, if you call 20C cold, yeah.

      Source: Am in Florida.

  19. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Chemistry wins

    Batteries are a dead-end technology but they're currently "good enough". The chemistry tells us that fuel cells will eventually replace them and, just as with planes, there will be auxiliary power systems for when you get outside the temperature envelope for whichever technology you're using.

    Just don't tell this to the "tech companies that make cars" as they like to style themselves.

    Buyers in Canada and the midwest only have themselves to blame: they should have known better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chemistry wins

      Fuel cell is a solution looking for a problem.

      If you have anything which burns, it's a lot easier to burn it in an internal combustion engine than trying to use a fuel cell to make electricity to run an electric motor and charge the batteries.

      All the poor features from internal combustion combined to all of the problems of EVs with capacity/cost problems added.

      Fuel cell works nicely in single watts class, but it scales very, very poorly and you'd need at least tens of kilowatts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chemistry wins

        > If you have anything which burns, it's a lot easier to burn it in an internal combustion engine than trying to use a fuel cell to make electricity to run an electric motor and charge the batteries.

        Very bad comment.

        Fuel cell yields range from 75 to 99% (HT). Internal combustion will achieve around 30%.

        > Fuel cell works nicely in single watts class, but it scales very, very poorly and you'd need at least tens of kilowatts.

        More silly comment. A lot of electrolysers are reversible and can work as FC.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Chemistry wins

          I'm still hopeful that we'll be able to create fuels without electroylsis and thus lowering the bump and making large scale production easier but even so the newer e-fuel plants have fairly impressive numbers.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Chemistry wins

        I suspect there's a problem with definitions: a proper fuel cell should provide the energy of combustion but at greater efficiency because the chemical process is essentially the same just slowed down. In the meantime, I'm all for ICEs running e-fuels over EVs everywhere with not a charger in sight: network and generation capacity will probably never be enough.

        As I said, batteries are being used because they're "good enough" but the energy density is never ever going to be sufficient to compete with hydrocarbon or ammonia fuels. The problem with being good enough is that they're also sucking up much of the attention and capital.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Chemistry wins

        "Fuel cell works nicely in single watts class, but it scales very, very poorly and you'd need at least tens of kilowatts."

        There are applications where fuel cells work very well. Transportation isn't one of them. To make them light and powerful enough takes very expensive metals. A stationary FC can be much larger and heavier. It's the same with generating power at an electrical generating station as opposed to having millions of combustion engines being trundled around. Strapping on a big and heavy emissions scrubber is easier to do on a power plant and there is better efficiency generating power at that scale. They are more thoroughly maintained too.

  20. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

    I'm sure the people who only have a Tesla will be sympathetic to this advice.

    As will their employers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

      Tesla batteries have heating elements in them to warm up the batteries if it gets cold. It takes 5-10 mins (even if the car is at -30).

      In any case, if the car is warm enough to drive, the batteries are warm enough to charge. So probably something else was wrong here.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

        The battery has to be operating for those heating elements to do their thing. If the car is sitting outside in this kind of cold the battery stops functioning at all. If you have a garage and are not leaving it exposed for very long its not a problem, but if you must leave it parked outside for a few hours your only option is to engage that battery heating thing to keep them up to temp. If you must leave it outside for a few days, you can leave those heaters running as the battery will run down so you're better off just leaving it and knowing you can't drive it until it warms up again (which is tomorrow where I live)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

        did you read the article, tesla themselves say 34-40mins so where the fuck do you get 5-10mins

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

      People who have Teslas are used to not driving, what with the cars having worse build quality than a 70s Fiat. The cult of Elon is working overtime to obscure the fact that the average newly purchased Tesla spends a month per year with Tesla being repaired, and this continues until the warranty ends and the cars get scrapped.

      1. Ace2 Silver badge

        Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

        This is pure horseshit.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

          No, it's fact. But you're too dedicated to tonguing Elon's musky bits to be open to dealing in reality.

          Teslas have laughably poor build quality, and the engineering is even worse. The average lifespan, not including those written off in crashes, is approx 5 years. Five years! That's about a third to a quarter of what every other car averages. They're junk, sold to the unwary and the delusional fanboys.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

            While I think you're overdoing it a bit, you do have a point. There is a lot to admire in Teslas, there has been some great engineering work, but there have also been lots of corners cut. For many owners they're like enormous I-Phones so changing them every couple of years isn't an issue but the mass market might think otherwise. Unfortunately, the stock market doesn't think.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

              "There is a lot to admire in Teslas, there has been some great engineering work, but there have also been lots of corners cut."

              There's been some good ideas, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Stuff such as gluing the battery cells together in the pack making it a giant nightmare to think about recycling. I like a lot of the UI, but then many of the Model S's, especially the earlier ones have the LCD's split and leak goo all over. That's a $3k replacement if not under warranty as they replace the whole infotainment system rather than just the screen. Kiss the FM radio goodbye if you still had one at the same time.

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: "the answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze"

            "The average lifespan, not including those written off in crashes, is approx 5 years. Five years! "

            Given that the warranty is longer than 5 years, I expect it would be on a Tesla to give you a replacement and warranty that one for another 8 years. If they do only last 5 years, you'd get free cars for life.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kia

    Anybody got a Kia? Their "Kia Connect" app that you use e.g. to precondition the car was shut down yesterday and still isn't working today. Making anything to do with the Internet work seems to be beyond them :(

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Kia

      Why should you need an "app" for that???

      Shurely there must be an option buried under 10-levels of menus on the glorified iPad that all EVs come with?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kia

        "Why should you need an "app" for that???"

        Because I don't want to go outside before I'm dressed for the weather?

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Kia

          "Because I don't want to go outside before I'm dressed for the weather?"

          Typical AC fraidy cat.

          I'd have no problem running out 10 minutes before I plan to leave and punch a couple of buttons to pre-heat the car. Rather that than have an app doing bog knows what in the background.

    2. JonGodfrey

      Re: Kia

      the Kia Connect App is very poor... data comms from the 1990's. But mine was working all day yesterday.

  22. apsteinmetz

    article might be missing something

    So what were the initial conditions for these drivers? Do they not charge at home? Are they driving to charging stations with cold, nearly dead batteries? It sounds like it.

    I don't identify with this at all. Bought my first Tesla in 2013 and now on my second. I'm the first to admit that, if you can't charge at home, EVs are not ideal. If you can, they are far superior to ICE cars. In the winter, I turn on my climate a few minutes before I leave and the cabin and battery are nice and toasty with a full charge. If I need to pull into a supercharger along the way, the battery is already "conditioned." If I let the range get fairly low (as I should) the miles pour back into the car very quickly. The nav system is very smart about when and where I need to stop. Grab a sandwich and off I go. A very pleasant experience (which is rarely needed because the battery range seems to be plenty for my driving).

    The failure modes for EVs are different than the failure modes for ICE cars. Owners need to educate themselves (Looking at you Hertz, "Ohh, let's rent an EV"). It's not a technology problem and pleading for St. Elon to *do something* won't help. the The "answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze" is nonsense, written by someone who has no experience with EVs.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: article might be missing something

      The problem is that when the battery is exposed to these temperatures they simply stop working. Doesn't matter if they have a charge if you can't access the energy they have stored. You have to wait until it warms up again to drive it.

      If you haven't had these problems you haven't been exposed to the kind of cold these cars have been. It was -21F (-30C) the night before last where I live, that's on the edge of operational range for those batteries, and I'm 500+ miles south of the Canadian border so there are a lot of people a lot more cold than I was.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: article might be missing something

        I wonder if they could include a small secondary battery made from different materials that was sufficient to heat up the main cells enough to function? Or have a plug in separate from the charger that would heat up the cells, sort of like the engine block heaters people in those really cold climates all have so their combustion engines will start.

        There was a thing on the news last night talking about how much work area towing companies have had between people slipping of the road and people who couldn't start their car, either because the battery went flat (that's always when you find out you have a weak battery is when it gets really cold and you try to crank it and the starter just goes tick tick tick) or because their diesel gelled and needed to be warmed up for the engine to start.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: article might be missing something

          I wonder if they could include a small secondary battery made from different materials that was sufficient to heat up the main cells enough to function? Or have a plug in separate from the charger that would heat up the cells, sort of like the engine block heaters people in those really cold climates all have so their combustion engines will start.

          I think EVs already do. I'm not a petrol/volt head, but discovered why my old car's battery used to drain fast. Modern cars are packed full of gadgets like alarms and ICE that constantly draw power, even when the ignition is off. Which can be fun given those stand-by batteries aren't always very accessable. And it can be enough of a challenge to find the battery in a modern car anyway. Lift the bonnet and.. something is missing, and hidden somewhere else. Sometimes where the spare wheel used to be.

          But kinda curious how much power battery conditioners draw, ie how long a reserve battery could keep the main battery warm. Especially if the car's parked outside. Best solution would seem to be keeping the car plugged in, but obviously that's going to be impractical a lot of the time, and increase energy demands.

          There was a thing on the news last night talking about how much work area towing companies have had between people slipping of the road and people who couldn't start their car,..

          People can be idiots. Especially in places like the UK, where snow is a rare and exciting thing that kids just won't get to experience anymore. But we get the usual few days of snow, and everyone goes crazy. BMW drivers discover the FUN! of RWD on snow/ice etc. Countries that have proper winters have drivers who hopefully are more used to it and winterise their cars. But we're learning the fun that comes with forcing EV adoption, ie breakdown services will probably have no choice but to tow EVs given fuel can't just be topped up, cars can't just be jump started, and if batteries are completely dead, they're pretty much bricked.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: article might be missing something

            Well we had a foot of snow and blizzard conditions, and there's a major interstate highway passing north of town. It was so bad they actually closed a good chunk of that interstate highway, which is pretty rare. So this wasn't stupid people driving crazy fast, but it didn't help this was the first real snowfall of the year (it snowed an inch a couple times earlier in the year but the ground was too warm for it to stick)

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: article might be missing something

            "But we get the usual few days of snow, and everyone goes crazy. "

            Back when I had a 'real' job, there were a couple of days when I emailed to let my coworkers know I'd be coming in a bit late due to snow. Where I am we only get 1-2 days where there's snow on the ground every couple of years so there isn't the road clearing that people who get snow every winter will have. The usual case is it would snow overnight and melt away by mid-morning. Once I'd get to the main blvd, other people would have driven anything on the road to work into just wet pavement. I still had my phone and an internet connection so there was work I could accomplish for the first half of the morning. I was mainly worried about sliding off the road in what would be cold slush and needing to enrich the local body shop with my easy to come by stupidity and less easy to come by paycheck. WTH, I was on salary anyway so any appearance in the office on a day legally counted as being at work if it came to blows.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: article might be missing something

      "Owners need to educate themselves"

      And that's specifially not what marketing was saying and "easier to use" is and was a selling point.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: article might be missing something

        When was anyone ever selling EVs as "easier to use"?

        Yes they've been touted as having fewer moving parts and requiring less regular maintenance, but that's not the same as saying they don't have limitations. It isn't as if combustion engines have all been working fine in the deep freeze. Many people without auxiliary heating systems to heat up their engine block (so the oil will flow) and diesel (because it will gel, which thankfully gasoline will not) won't get any further than EVs in this kind of cold.

        A lot of people had to have their cars jump started, or found out their starter motor battery was nearly flat. That's something you always discover when it is cold...I've never had to replace a battery in the summer!

    3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: article might be missing something

      Oh, the irony. A Tesla fanboy, with the delusion field operating at full power, says that other people need to 'educate themselves'.

      Back in realityland, this is a Tesla-only problem.

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: article might be missing something

      "The "answer is simply not to drive during a deep freeze" is nonsense"

      If the road conditions suck, it's not nonsense, it's proper concern for one's well-being. I can recall yet another accident report (California?) where a giant smash up in the fog killed a few and injured a whole bunch more. If you can't see the road in front of you, you shouldn't be driving. Get off the road and see if you can creep to someplace warm serving coffee and fresh buns. The best tactic is to head the heavy fog forecast and not venture out until it clears if there is a warning. It takes an infinite amount of time to get to work if you are dead.

  23. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Shortly after Tesla launched its first saloon (Model 3?) they lent one to a New York journalist to review. It was very cold, and he had some difficulty getting enough range, so he phone Tesla customer assist and was told to precondition the batteries. that didn't work and he was stranded. Musk responded by accusing him of being a "big oil shill" - which I am sure a professional journalist can take on the chin - and by summarily firing the employee who had followed her script to give the preconditioning advice. That was when I decided that he is Not A Nice Person..

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

    All EVs have heaters in their battery packs that bring them up to optimal charging temperature in a few minutes of being plugged in.

    If someone drove the car to the charging station, they presumably would have had the heater on already, and the battery pack is effectively in the cabin in terms of temperature.

    So... excuse me if I don't believe this report...

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

      The report said that the chargers weren't working, not the car. I would expect that the charger would be able to power the battery heater if it was working. But if the charger had temperature sensors in its electronics that went into fault at -40C then it would explain what is going on.

      (e.g. MAX30210 temperature sensors will not read below -40 C and will have an error flag instead, who knows what temperature sensors are inside any given EV charger, but they will be built for a certain temperature range)

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

        The report said that the chargers weren't working, not the car. I would expect that the charger would be able to power the battery heater if it was working. But if the charger had temperature sensors in its electronics that went into fault at -40C then it would explain what is going on.

        I think that may be the same kind of feature that affects regular car battery chargers. So I once tried to charge a fairly new car battery, and it wouldn't. I didn't drive much, car was regularly left sitting so I bought a battery for a Bugatti. Well, a heavy duty, deep cycle, lots of charging amps one (Halfords saw me coming) that I figured would last a while longer. It didn't. Then I learned about a 'safety' feature in chargers that meant they would cut out if they couldn't measure 7V(?), apparently to prevent them overcharging motorbike batteries, which this wasn't. I know there can be problems with lead acid batteries if they're fully discharged, but apparently that's less of a thing with modern batteries.

        So I promptly found out how to mod the charger so that feature was removed. And also wondered how many batteries were dumped simply because charger said no.

        So like you say, I'd expect the EV charger to pre-heat the battery as part of it's routine, and if components couldn't operate in the environment they were in, that seems another design flaw.

        1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

          In my early days of motoring I bought a cheap charger that was crap and soon broke. Instead of spending money on a good battery charger I bought a 30V 10A bench PSU from work that had damaged connectors that I easily fixed. I've still got it - dual supply with master/slave function. It charges car and bike batteries fine - you just have to keep an eye on timings if you want to blast them - and it's been useful for lots of other things too.

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

          In recent years where a battery was too depleted to charge with a "modern" battery charger (The one I have is about 14 years old), I usually put a 12V battery in parallel to fool it into thinking its just low

          (Even a UPS 12V battery will suffice) & start the charging.

          Once that's underway, disconnect the "donor".

          The really handy thing to have is one of these supercapacitor battery boosters to jump start the vehicle, as I knew I would have to use it on Monday* at -32C as the battery was already in distress as temperatures plummeted on Thursday\Friday even with (Timed for 2 hours before departure) the block heater running.

          *During the weekends -39C I wasn't going outside to hook up a charger (Alberta alert notwithstanding) in sweatpants, t-shirt & dressing gown.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

          "I think that may be the same kind of feature that affects regular car battery chargers. So I once tried to charge a fairly new car battery, and it wouldn't. I didn't drive much, car was regularly left sitting"

          A movie props company I worked with had a fleet of police cars that would sit idle for months at a time. The owner had installed the most horrible switches on the battery terminals so the battery could be disconnected without needing to physically remove the lead. The problem shifted from low level power draw killing the batteries over time to problems with those switches. I bought a load of 2A trickle chargers to keep the batteries topped up. The cost to do that vs replacing a bunch of car batteries or having to get out tools to bypass a crap high power (so they say) switch was insignificant. Eventually we put solar panels on top of the shipping containers we used to store props to provide the charging power and give us lights inside the containers. It was cheaper than having a sparky get all of the permits and run power around the lot. We had plans to shift things around as well so investing in fixed electrics would have tied us down. I got some money for taking the switches apart and recycling what was claimed to be brass.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

            The problem shifted from low level power draw killing the batteries over time to problems with those switches. I bought a load of 2A trickle chargers to keep the batteries topped up. The cost to do that vs replacing a bunch of car batteries or having to get out tools to bypass a crap high power (so they say) switch was insignificant.

            I think this was a forerunner to the EV challenge. We're discouraging car usage, so more people are experiencing the problem. My car didn't get used much because I commuted via public transport, and could walk to the shops. My normal weekly shop fit in a modest sized backpack, or I could use my trusty Berghaus Vulcan. Self-service checkouts really objected to that in the bagging area though.

            But I looked at using a battery conditioner, but no power to the parking bays. There were garages I could rent, but those were designed for older cars and the doors were probably narrower than a shipping container. Also no idea what electricty supply there was to each garage, but I don't think they were individually fed or metered. Which is now a much bigger challenge with the enforced EV rules. There's a lot of residential infrastructure that just can't support EVs. If you're a home owner, you have some control over costs. But a lot of people rent, don't have garages or allocated parking bays and the costs of providing EV charge points are going to be high. Or perhaps profitable given management companies can pass those costs onto their tenants.

            It's going to be interesting to see how that's solved, ie if the tenancy includes designated parking bays, how to provide EV charging and ensure the costs are passed on to the right renter. Or for even more fun, UK planning regs mandate fewer parking spaces than dwellings or employees. That's already lead to parking problems, which councils have 'solved' by introducing residents parking permits. A nice revenue generator, even if it does little to solve the problem. Building regs could be changed to mandate EV charging, but obviously that's going to limit the profits housing developers can make by cramming people into land parcels, and make housing even less affordable. Especially if garages have to be detached from dwellings to reduce fire risks.

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

      Think you need to read the actual report. It says 30-40 minutes to warm up the battery pack. The issue appears to be if you don't have 30-40 minutes of charge left then you've got a problem.

      Complicating factor is that when warm a battery will show a decent amount of range, but when exposed to cold like this the range can drop dramatically. So you may park the thing with it saying it has sufficient range, but next frigid morning that range may be bugger all.

      The fact that batteries don't cope with these types of temperatures is nothing new at all, and has precisely zero to do with your level of belief.

      We are talking about extreme temperatures here, for most people this will not be a problem - if you do live in this type of environment you need to take additional measures. Just because an article doesn't say everything is rainbows and puppies with EVs doesn't mean it's big oil mate - put the tinfoil away...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

        "We are talking about extreme temperatures here, for most people this will not be a problem"

        Not really, normal winter weather in northern parts of America and Europe. Doesn't happen all the time, but does happen frequently enough to be a nuisance if you aren't prepared.

        Funny thing, cold weather (few weeks) in winter is now 'anomaly', i.e. 'won't fit into our climate model', but warm weather (also few weeks) in summer is 'climate change', i.e. 'our climate model says so'.

        Actual science predicts everything, every time: Formula says so. Once you omit formulas you slide first into pseudoscience and very fast to proper BS.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

          Oh look, a climate science denier. Well done destroying any credibility you might have had.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds like an "Oil Company" sponsored story

      "All EVs have heaters in their battery packs that bring them up to optimal charging temperature in a few minutes of being plugged in."

      Which is bullshit, of course. Try an hour. More if it's actually cold, like -20C. The battery heating element is very small and battery has a lot of mass.

      No charge at all until battery is above -10C, typically.

  25. martinusher Silver badge

    To be fair, this type of cold takes it out on IC engines too

    From reading this article you'd get the impression that EV's can't cope with extreme cold while IC cars have no issues. This just isn't true. The EV owner might experience reduced range and longer charge time but they won't have had to do any of the winterizing that the IC car needs. A really cold IC engine not only runs the risk of damaging itself when you try to start it but also you'll have problems trying to start it from the battery and the electrical and fuel systems. (Car batteries don't like getting really cold.) So you end up taking precautions like keeping the block warm with a block heater with an insulating blanket thrown over the top of the block, using really thin oil in the engine and screening the radiator. (In those parts of the country there's usually a mandatory shift to 'snow' or 'winter' tires so you'd do this work around the time you changed the wheels.

    Compared to this those EV's inconveniences seem minor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be fair, this type of cold takes it out on IC engines too

      "while IC cars have no issues. This just isn't true."

      It is the literal truth. I go out, start the car and leave to work. There was -25C in the morning.No block heater or blankets needed.

      Literally no issues, outside of being cold, of course.

      And then you have these EV:s which are literally bricked until towed to somewhere warm and charged.

      Do you have any idea what you're talking about?

      Winter tyres apply, naturally, just like EVs. Screening the radiator has 0 effect at start, it just helps the engine warm faster, moot point.

      And "thin oil" ... which here in North means just "oil"... that's scraping the bottom of the barrel already.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: To be fair, this type of cold takes it out on IC engines too

        So you've never in your life had a car that worked fine but failed to start when it got really cold. I call bullshit, unless you're one of those people who buys/leases a new car every 2-3 years so you never encounter any issues with aged components (especially batteries, as lead acid batteries lose power when it gets cold too)

        And obviously you aren't driving a diesel, as not much colder than -25C and diesel will begin to gel, meaning that if you aren't keeping it warm or warming it up before you try to start it you aren't getting anywhere.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: To be fair, this type of cold takes it out on IC engines too

      "So you end up taking precautions like keeping the block warm with a block heater with an insulating blanket thrown over the top of the block, using really thin oil in the engine and screening the radiator."

      Besides not getting an EV if you have no way to charge at home, I suppose you can add not to get an EV if you don't have a garage to keep in if it gets monkey endangering cold where your are. The garage may not even need to be heated. I know my house does much better if there's no wind even if it is quite cold. I expect it would be easier to keep an EV on a lead and warm enough out of the elements. I would also expect that it would be prudent to use a winter ratio of glycol in the battery conditioning system as well as windscreen fluid rated for very low temps. When all else fails, park where the car will get early sun. I do that when I know the car is going to frost up overnight and I need to leave in the morning. I've a bit more clearing out to do so the car will fit in the garage again where I can shower it in sawdust once again.

  26. rgjnk
    Alert

    Wonder how many will permanently break?

    It's not like freezing lithium cells ruins them or anything, especially when they're aready flat... (/s)

    You could expensively kill your EV if you weren't careful, and likely in a more terminal way than freezing an old ICE car.

    1. Robert Moore
      Linux

      Re: Wonder how many will permanently break?

      Tell that to my buddy who is now shopping for a new car.

      Coolant froze in his engine, and cracked the block. (Yes he should have put in more antifreeze.)

  27. Rory B Bellows
    Joke

    irony

    If the planet was warmer, we wouldnt have this problem

    1. nautica Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: irony

      No; if people didn't insist on the lunacy of BEVs, we wouldn't have this problem.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: irony

      Rubbish. The warmer the planet gets, within reasonable bounds - not, say, Mercury - the more common weather extremes become.

  28. Ryan D

    A recent review from Canada

    Saw this the other day and it does give an interesting view of what we deal with temperature wise in our neck of the woods. Currently -25 without the wind so I’m told. I’m not crazy enough to head out and check.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ev-cold-northern-bc-1.7082896

  29. Al S Cook

    Coastal regions not immune to deep cold

    t doesn't have to be Norway or the Pole. I recently left my Model Y at a friend's house in Seattle for a week and when we were packing up in 21F weather, I thought I'd warm up the cabin. That's when I got the message about preparing the battery before driving. It took about 30 minutes to warm up, and house current could warm the cabin and the battery simultaneously. It wasn't a big problem in this case, but even in coastal Seattle it can be cold enough to need thawing.

    I used to live in Edmonton and it was very common for people to run an ICE vehicle for 20 minutes before driving off, even if it was plugged into an engine warmer. Weather that cold can be very hard on an engine--engine oil is only warmish and the block is still very cold. Other parts of the car, like the suspension and doors. were making odd noises as well, so it's best to avoid driving more than you must.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coastal regions not immune to deep cold

      "... run an ICE vehicle for 20 minutes before driving off,"

      Good reason for that too: It's nice to see where you're going. Cabin being a bit warm is just a bonus. Here in North it's absolutely illegal to drive with a fogged/frozen windshield and it will take some time to clear it in -20C.

  30. ShortLegs

    And after all the comments

    My takeaway from EVs?

    Buy a diesel

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: And after all the comments

      My car has a little Kubota two cylinder diesel engine inside (Z402? something like that). It currently wants me to turn the contacts on for fifteen seconds, briefly off, on 15, briefly off, on 15 ... to get enough preheat that it's willing to start.

      It's only -3/-4. God help me if it should ever hit double digits negative around here. Should I bung the hairdryer under the bonnet for half an hour before setting out?

      1. nautica Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: And after all the comments

        No. It's your responsibility...only...and no one else's.

        IF YOU OWN A DIESEL, you should be smart enough to know that many solutions for heating diesel engines have been around for years AND YEARS--- such as block heaters, dipstick oil heaters, under-the-car plug-in radiant heaters...[people who sell diesel engines are smart enough to know about the absolute need for cold-weather diesel engine heating].

        Check around. You might be surprised to find an aftermarket block heater, or even (heaven forbid) a block heater at your dealer which you could have ordered as an option.

        1. catprog

          Re: And after all the comments

          So shouldn't the same rules apply to EVs as Diesel?

          If both need heaters in the winter then both are equally as suitable?

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: And after all the comments

            "So shouldn't the same rules apply to EVs as Diesel?"

            Not really. There's a point where you could freeze the electrolyte in a battery and cause major issues, but that's an extreme case. You don't have to keep the battery pack warm continuously, but there will be less energy available if the pack is very cold and warming it up before setting off might be prudent. The battery will warm up during use but you may have much less pep than you need to get on a motorway than you are used to/need for a while. Add a bigger need of having home charging if you live in a very cold climate. Many EV's can be programmed to pre-heat at a set time in the morning before you go to work or you could sacrifice any shred of privacy you have remaining by loading an app on your phone to connect to the car and tell it to pre-heat. Or use SneakerNet® and run out, press a couple of buttons and run back in while the car heats up. The colder it is and the more exposed the car, the longer it will take given a certain power supply. You don't have to pre-heat to 21C. You need to be up to a temp where you get the capacity back up and enough power to accelerate as fast as you need. Each car will be different.

            A good thing to do would be to visit YouTube channels where the owners vlogging are in cold climates. Bjorn Nyland is in Norway and reviews EV's. He also publishes the spreadsheet he uses to track the data he generates so if he can get a car in both summer and winter for testing, you can find what sort of differences you might expect. He also notes if the roads are wet or dry which can make a big difference. Electric Classic Cars in Wales is a good one. Moggy knows his stuff and you'll see him on all sorts of shows when they talk about EV's. He recently did an episode on tires on a Range Rover his company converted to electric. Worth a watch so I won't spoil it.

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: And after all the comments

          I asked around at work. Nobody knew what a block heater was.

          I guess, in a place where the usual winter low is around -2 to -3 (rarely -5 or so) with highs typically -1 upwards, such things just aren't that big a consideration.

          What applies in one climatic zone doesn't necessarily apply everywhere else.

          1. nautica Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: And after all the comments

            Simply because you "...asked around at work. Nobody knew what a block heater was..." does not relieve you of the basic necessity of understanding how something works, and what is required on your part; of your responsibilities in the utilization of a common technology.

            Do you have any problem with NOT inserting your hand down into the kitchen sink's garbage disposer once you turn it on?

            1. heyrick Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: And after all the comments

              "Do you have any problem with NOT inserting your hand down into the kitchen sink's garbage disposer once you turn it on?"

              I think you've just pointed out which side of the ocean you're from.

              I know of those things from movies, but I've never actually seen one in real life. So, thanks for demonstrating my point for me.

          2. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: And after all the comments

            A general rule is that if you drive to the supermarket and the first couple of ranks have poles with outlets on them then you're in block heater territory.

            Incidentally, "cold" is somewhere where you can get frostbite on your ears from walking from your car to the supermarket without ear covering.

  31. boris9k3

    Any battery will lose current producing power in cold temp. How many plain old 12v lead acid batteries have gone belly up on you in the first cold snap? This is not news and if the EV folks dont like the laws of physics they better buy a unicorn to ride.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This is not news and if the EV folks dont like the laws of physics they better buy a unicorn to ride."

      It *is* news just because they *thought* they bought a unicorn to ride. When it's not perfect the reality hits hard.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "It *is* news just because they *thought* they bought a unicorn to ride."

        If they bought a Tesla, the saddle is not on the side they might have initially thought it would be. With so many companies copying Tesla's worst ideas, it won't be long before the last ones are mining your data for fun and profit.

  32. rcxb Silver badge

    What is the issue?

    Story is incomprehensible.... Something, something, EVs don't work.... ?

    Huh? What is the problem with EVs that's being reported?

    "Still on zero percent, and this is like three hours"

    Well sir, perhaps you should try plugging the charger into the EV...

    The mention of pre-conditioning the batteries has nothing to do with the above.

    Seems someone is trying to give the impression EVs can't operate in cold weather, when they obviously can and do. And to convey that impression, they have to made this story utterly devoid of information to ensure we can't figure out what the actual incident being reported is all about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is the issue?

      Yeah, but it's fun to wind up you EV snobs

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: What is the issue?

      "Well sir, perhaps you should try plugging the charger into the EV..."

      It WAS plugged in. Article was perfectly readable to me.

      Perhaps read the article properly before getting on your high horse...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is the issue?

      "Well sir, perhaps you should try plugging the charger into the EV..."

      It was plugged to the charger, that was the whole point of it. You chose to miss that?

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: What is the issue?

      "Story is incomprehensible.... Something, something, EVs don't work.... ?"

      The impression I came away with is many new EV owners aren't very bright. They bought an expensive virtue signaling appliance without their own place to charge it and when the public charging station had a fault, they had never thought about a backup plan and just returned the next day to try again using up the remaining few meters of range they had rather than getting online and doing a bit of learning.

  33. CMAenergy

    Tesla needs a 100 % recall

    Since these people found out their vehicles do not work in the cold and difficulty getting a charge

    Why are they Not returning these vehicles for a full refund ?

    They do not work as expected, And they should be asking for every cent back.

    No one should have a right to deceive and keep on deceiving innocent people to buy what has been advertised as a working vehicle.

    And this type of a vehicle is a threat on the lives on who drive them.

    It is a silent killer

    Since you know not when it will not run.

    And leave you out in the cold, where you know not where or when it will happen,

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Tesla needs a 100 % recall

      Sarky, but made me laugh. :)

  34. spold Silver badge
    WTF?

    >>> His name was Jack (John) from Kelowna.

    Oh him!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: >>> His name was Jack (John) from Kelowna.

      If you see him, ask him how his wife is.

      Thanks.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New for 2025, the Tesla “Goldilocks”

    The perfect car for all environments.

    Not too cool, not too hot, just right!

    Conditions apply, please read our 450,000 page instruction manual.

  36. nautica Silver badge
    Stop

    Hurricane evacuation--miles and miles of cars creeping along at 3 mph: ever see a Tesla?

    I live in what most people in the US refer to as 'the Deep South'--about as 'deep' as you can get without being in Florida.

    We have a fair share of mostly pleasant weather--sometimes really cold in January and February, and sometimes really hot in July/August, but mostly pleasant with average/above average amount of precipitation.

    I have always referred to Teslas as "Fair-Weather, Blue-Sky Cars", because it's only then that you see all the Teslas hit the roads, so that there's not much demand--electrically--put on the vehicle. (I have personally witnessed Teslas being driven in rainstorms without main headlights on [against the law here], and with minimal use of windshield wipers--too much electricity, don'tcha know. Can't count the times I've seen these $100K cars driving in hot weather with their windows down...and you know the reason for that).

    Someone here just referred to Teslas as 'Goldilocks Cars'. Great description--they are only for use when the ambient is "...not too hot; not too cold, but juuuuussst right".

    Oh...and not raining.

    BEVs are not the answer to whatever the question is.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Con

    The whole climate thing is a con anyway. Any one who believes that needs a Reset ...

    EV's are not ready for general use. I'd have one if I had the money to waste for the city/urban areas. I like electric where it works, it's clean at the point of use. But, it is expensive, uses more energy to manufacture and supports exploitation of third world miners including minors. Neither is the infrastructure ready for wholesale use and it never will be.

  38. techdead
    Devil

    Aha, ha, ha, ha, ha…. Who cares about the weird Musk cars

  39. arachnoid2

    Wash,rinse, repeat

    Its not like this is the first year there have been problems highlighted with electric vehicles of all makes being unable to charge because the batteries are too cold, or that the range falls dramatically in the cold weather. Electric vehicles are not the answer to general road use and its just the blinkered greenies pushing sales and highlighting glorified figures that gets media attention.

  40. dermots

    Confusion between climate preconditioning and battery pre-charge conditioning

    The comments about the climate control pre-conditioning and sitting with cabin heating on indicates a bit of confusion. There's the ability to advance set your climate control to pre condition the interior of the vehicle. That's manual in the app or set on a schedule you want it. Pre-conditioning the battery for charging is a different thing and is done automatically when you add a supercharger stop into the navigation. So you don't set that 30-45 minutes before leaving, necessarily, even if that's about the time it starts to precondition the battery before charging.

  41. JonGodfrey

    Is this a charger or a car issue?

    If the cars are making it to the chargers, it would suggest this might be an issue with the charger itself. They use liquid cooled cables to cope with the c250kW power rating and perhaps if that system is failing the Superchargers are failing to start.

    The UK is quite mild but here I precondition the car using 240v AC mains power so it's nice and warm before I set off. It also means you don't lose so much range as the power to heat the car up is from mains power. On my car as long as I have selected the DC rapid charger on the SatNav the car will preheat the battery but I must have allowed 20% for this to happen. This uses between 2.5 and 5kWh depending on temperature but it means charging is super fast. Only just enough time for a comfort break.

    To be balanced diesel also has issues below -18 although many vehicles will be fitted with heaters.

    Making EV's work requires a change of habit and a different understanding of the technology... but you can't fight physics! (or Chemistry)

  42. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    Nernst equation?

    "I wish I listened to our Chemistry teacher when she covered the Nernst equation.

    "What did she say?

    "I don't know I wasn't listening.

    (Apologies to Douglas Adams and Arthur Dent.)

    Apparently it tells you that as a general principle electrochemical cells don't works so well when are colder among other things but then I didn't listen.

    If I were ever foolish enough to live in these arctic climes I would seriously consider installing a decent diesel generator in the EV's boot. :)

    1. Spoobistle
      Boffin

      Re: Nernst equation?

      E = E0 + (RT/vF) * ln((a(A)*a(Bv+)/(a(Av+)*a(B))) where E0 is standard EMF, R gas constant, F Faraday constant, v number of charges in the reaction and a() activities of reactants A and B.... according to Atkins.

      So it's proportional to absolute temp (Kelvin), which gives us a drop to 78% going from +25 to -40C. I guess there's more loss than that due to electrolyte viscosity etc alluded to in previous posts.

      > decent diesel generator in the EV's boot.

      I'd fancy a trailer with sled and dogs...

  43. Richard Cranium

    Hybrid

    Surely HEVs are the best solution, at the very least to cover the time it will take to get the charging network to the point at which it's near fully green energy and no more hassle than travelling in an ICE vehicle.

    Moving the pollution from my tailpipe to a fossil fuel power station doesn't get rid of it.

    Recharge stops are more frequent and time consuming than a petrol refill. I sometimes have an extra gallon in a can in case of emergency (winter or remote regions) - there's no equivalent for an EV.

    I considered an EV as a second car just for local journeys but, taking into account cost and parking spaces, taxi and public transport provide a better alternative.

  44. romulusnr

    Not for nothing, but I am old enough to remember good old gas vehicles having trouble starting in subzero temperatures all the time. I don't recall mass panic articles about it, though.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      What was that stuff I used to spray into the air intake (or somewhere) to get my car started on cold mornings? I also remember having a toolkit, gallon of petrol, engine oil, water, spare hoses, bulbs, plugs, etc and lots of rags in a box in the boot of my first 3 or 4 cars. And string to tie the exhaust up when it fell off. You just don't seem to see bangers any more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "What was that stuff I used to spray into the air intake (or somewhere) to get my car started on cold mornings?"

        Mostly diethyl ether or just ether as it's usually called. Very flammable stuff, starts a car if it has compression and spark.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        "You just don't seem to see bangers any more."

        Emissions testing has probably forced them off the road.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Emissions testing has probably forced them off the road

          If they are over a certain age (1982 or older?) then it's a visual inspection only. A clueless MOT tester once failed the MM on emissions - it had passed the 1990's levels but not the 2010 levels. Our mechanic took him round the back and pointed out the regulations to him and we were promptly issued a shiny new MOT..

          It burns very little oil - we check it every 3 months or so but rarely have to top it up.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        I also remember having a toolkit, gallon of petrol, engine oil, water, spare hoses, bulbs, plugs, etc and lots of rags in a box in the boot

        Ah - you've seen our Morris Minor boot-box then?

        Spare can of petrol (when she refills, that goes in first then gets refilled)

        2L bottle of water

        Antifreeze

        Damp-start spray

        Pack of light bulbs

        Spare distributor cap

        Spare coil

        2 spare spark plugs

        Small toolkit for fitting any of the above

    2. nautica Silver badge
      Meh

      You're right, but it was a different set of problems, and all much easier to fix.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "You're right, but it was a different set of problems, and all much easier to fix."

        Yes, easier to fix, but also more need. I don't find my life lacking by not spending the time to file the build up off of the points so the car runs better. Tune up? What's that. I'm also not needing a box full of replacements such as a new rotor and a fresh condenser to do a 'tune up'. I do actually think I should replace the PCV valve tomorrow. It's been a long while.

  45. I miss PL/1

    So all you climate alarmists should be happy because your Tesla will work when the world gets warmer.

  46. Tishers

    Part of the issue is that many people do not have a dedicated parking spot or lot with chargers in the Chicago area (lived there for 30 years).

    They park on the street and it is seldom near your house or apartment, your car may be several blocks away and at a semi-random location. There just aren't that many charging stations other than super-charger facilities.

    What works best is if you have a garage that is at least slightly heated (to a little above 0c) and you have your own personal charger that the car can stay plugged in to all night long.

    Winters in the midwest of the United States can be quite brutal for the prolonged cold and constant winds (it is why Chicago is known as "the windy city"). The batteries on a Tesla are beneath the floor and the surface area of the battery tray is to encourage cooling in the summertime so the batteries do not get too hot.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Part of the issue is that many people do not have a dedicated parking spot or lot with chargers in the Chicago area (lived there for 30 years)."

      As if there's a need for another reason to escape. Isn't Chicago threatening to asses taxes even if you move just like California wants to do. California might be in the lead for being silly. They are contemplating a "part time" resident status which would make more people required to pay State taxes. As it stands, things like income tax only apply if you are a resident (live in state more than 6 months of the year and don't have legal residence in another state).

      With the new year, I need to see what silly laws went into effect that I'm either going to have to dodge, ignore or flee the state I'm in to prevent getting arrested.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      I wonder if it would be beneficial to have an insulating blanket suspended under the car when parked in those climates, to keep the wind chill of the battery and let it retain some heat. Or even a winterization kit with an insulated bottom pan to shield the battery.

  47. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Garage

    So the gist is: if you live in a continental climate region where temperature extremes occur you must have a garage for your EV, or risk it becoming immobile.

  48. Strong as Taishan Mountains

    Anything involving electric vehicles online tends to bring the rage brigade... Even when those posters don't seem to be much into any of the Registers daily fare.

    Just an observation, I personally have a petrol car, diesels just suuuuck in the cold.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Just an observation, I personally have a petrol car, diesels just suuuuck in the cold."

      I have a petrol car because the EV's sold in the US are too damn expensive. I have a good profile for owning an electric, but my car is in good condition and I can drop in a used low mileage engine and keep filling the tank with petrol for far less than a used Bolt all amortized over the next 5 years. I've got some miles on myself so I'm no longer planning decades into the future. If the right deal comes along and I find myself in need of another car, a used Bolt is top of the current list.

  49. bigtreeman

    RTFM

    Telstra owners and dealers, RTFM

    Don't sell these EVs to stupid people without warning them about the shortcomings.

    EVs are great where I live 10C-30C,

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: RTFM

      "Don't sell these EVs to stupid people without warning them about the shortcomings."

      Riiiight. If they put that message out, they'd need to get the lawyers going on the bankruptcy filings as soon as possible.

      I'm surprised Elon hasn't come out on an earnings call saying that "we know we're not very good at making cars, but they are really expensive". Maybe he'll go there in 2025 when people are still asking if/when the Cybertruck will be in 'full' production and when the Roadster 2.0 will be released. Semi? anybody? anybody? Bueller?

  50. TJHess

    EV approach was always wrong.

    The approach to replace all petrol gngine vehicles was not only wrong, it was idiocy. This is what happens when dialectic based theories drive the narrative, minus any reasonableness.

    No, lithium Ion batteries don't perform well in cold weather (read your manual).

    Further, EVs are not like petrol cars, you don’t just pop into the station for a quick refill. EVs take hours to charge with a 220V charger and longer to charge on a 440V charger when they are cold. further there is a written process for preparing your EV battery to accept a charge during cold weather.

    Lastly, there is only XXX Mw of available power at rapid charging stations. When there is only one car the battery can recharge in less than an hour. However with multiple cars the available current is shared, aka split up among all of the vehicles charging. Example, if there are 10watts available to 10 charging stations and each station has a vehicle connected, the charge rate will be 1watt per car. It’s not like gasoline where everyone shares the same pool, and therefore can fill their car as fast as the pump can deliver fuel.

    What an utter disaster, these battery only, plug in, EVs….

    Yes EVs will work, but they must be redesigned to be fit for purpose, as Hybrid drive trains. It’s the only way to get them to work properly.

  51. BiffoTheBorg

    Legacy media always quoting X

    Calls it "hellsite" and uses it as a source of news. ROFL.

  52. the_cubicle_arsonist

    Wow! No way! You serious?

    Let me guess, in one year from now we are going to see the same report as "breaking news". I read these "reports" every winter, like electric cars were invented last month and now we are getting to know them. No wonder people hate the media in general. just clickbait.

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