How well do electric vehicles handle extreme cold?

Mine Model 3 was doing that 2 years ago - it seems a reboot usually fixed it. I haven’t seen it happen in the last year or more, so I had assumed it was software-version related. I did see a post (Facebook) where someone else reported having regular occurrences of the same issue recently in the US midwest.

Nice Rocket Man reference :slight_smile:

I’ll say one thing I’ve learned from this thread: don’t ever move to freakin’ Alberta!


12 min video heavily weighted about “Right to Repair”, but covers the Tesla heating problem and the long wait times for service in the first 5 min.

Walmart has been installing 6-8 unit CCS/CHAdeMO/DCFC stations at all the stores around Fresno, CA.

That’s pretty handy. Still–it doesn’t really match the Superchargers. Tesla has their “urban” Superchargers as well, which aren’t as fast as the ordinary Superchargers (though they aren’t too shabby at 72 kW, which is better than the 50 kW you get at many EVgo stations). But what the others are still missing are the stations just off the highway.

If you’re on a road trip, you don’t want to navigate far off the highway and into the parking lot of some retailer just to charge. If you’re already at the retailer, the stations are handy, but if you’re just driving through, you want to pull in somewhere just off the highway and get the fastest charge possible. Make sure there’s a bathroom and a place to get a coffee nearby, but that’s about all you need for amenities. That’s what Tesla is achieving with their huge Supercharger stations, and what’s still missing from their competitors.

No need to sell it to me, I have a reservation in for a cybertruck :smiley:

I drive an 18 Chevrolet Volt and I am limited to 3.3kw charging. I tend to go to a couple shopping centers and nightlife areas because they have chargers available. Even at 3.3 a dinner and a movie will add 30ish miles to my charge. for about $1.50 at those particular chargers.

Understood :slight_smile:. And don’t get me wrong; I think the retail chargers are valuable too. They don’t need to be super-fast either; it’s handy just to top off a bit while you’re shopping. You can probably charge that way indefinitely when you aren’t making long highway trips.

But I want to see Tesla have better competition, so it’s somewhat disappointing that the others haven’t quite figured things out yet. Tesla wanted to build an all-purpose car and knew that one of the requirements was that it handle road trips at least decently. Number one, that means you need enough range for a few hours of driving (other automakers have finally gotten the picture here). And number two, when you do charge, it’s not a good experience when you arrive at a 2-stall charger way off the highway, only to find that one of the stalls is broken and the other is occupied. That meant Tesla had to spend billions building out their network, without any initial promise of return (especially since they were free initially!). I’ve yet to see that same willingness from other automakers. But it’s obviously paid off in the long run, so you’d think they’d understand now.

Well of course the other automakers have figured it out - get the government to pay to build the network for you.

Once the CCS chargers become ubiquitous, I assume by then the same CCS adapter Tesla sells for South Korea will be available here. Then my charging options for my Model 3 become far greater.

BTW, another data point. My Model 3 sat unused in the garage during a cold spell where temperatures were below freezing. After about a week, it had used maybe 20km of range. When it knows it’s at home, I have the option that sentry mode is turned off - so it does not slightly heat the windshield around the sentry camera and the security camera mode is not enabled - which probably saves a few km. (Parked outdoors away from home, I can see that snow falling on the windshield in a 3x3 inch area around the front-facing camera is melting) This gives me the confidence that I can park the car in a parking garage at an airport for a 1 or 2 week trip (remember those?) and still get home on return. Of course I can verify charge level on my phone from anywhere.

Here in the Midwest, the Tesla Superchargers are in the same spots as the Electrify America chargers: in Walmart and Meijer parking lots that aren’t just off the highway and require you to drive a mile or two in crappy traffic to get into the parking lot of a retailer in order to charge. Some are closer to the exit than others, but none of them are as convenient of pulling into an “EZ on, EZ off” as myriad freeway exists.

None? I believe you are in Michigan. There’s the Supercharger in Marshall, MI, which is right off of a Hwy 94 exit, next to a Denny’s. Or the Ann Arbor one, which is in a Meijer’s lot, but still pretty much right off the exit (like 1/4 mile or less). Same with the Big Rapids one (this Meijer connection seems to be a theme). There are plenty more, in Michigan and elsewhere.

If you’re saying that not every exit has a Supercharger the way most have a gas station, then sure. But the point is that long distance travel tends to be on particular routes, and on those routes you don’t need a charger on every stop; you just need a reasonably high density of them so that a typical long-range car can make it to the next one. And have enough stalls that you aren’t likely to run into trouble there. I’d suggest it’s better to have one 8-stall charger than 4 2-stall chargers that are spread out more.

Granted, CA I-5 is a unique situation, being in an area with high EV density to start with, and the route between the two largest urban centers (LA and the Bay Area) being just a little too far for a long range EV–so it makes sense to build huge stations at just about the midpoint. Michigan and other nearby areas seem to have a different distribution of city size and distance, so the truly giant stations make less sense, but still most Superchargers are at least 8 stalls and often more.

Most of my long distance trips aren’t urban area to urban area, they’re suburban to rural, including lots of miles off of an interstate, IOW, not the best ROI for a large, Level 3 recharge station. If you’re going N/S in CA or the i-95 corridor you should be fine but there are lots of areas of the country that are not there yet.

Tesla was supposedly going to open their network to non-Tesla EVs. Is there any updated ETA on that?

This would require the other manufacturer to put the tesla protocol in their cars. Tesla fast (super)chargers do a communication handshake with the auto. This also requires the car to identify itself, since all charging costs are handled through an existing user account with a credit card on file.

I have seen a post with a picture of some other type vehicle supercharging but I don’t how true it is, or whether it’s just someone trying to be funny. (Like the really clever pic of some confused simpleton sticking the charger cable in their car’s gas tank. Likely staged)

The L2 slower chargers, 240V 40A AFAIK don’t have any communication protocol. The power is controlled by the on-board charging system.

Most likely the Tesla protocol will be in the adapter, and will convert to CCS to talk to the car. The adapter will also identify itself to the supercharger, and will require the Tesla app on your phone. There will be some type of multi-way handshake going on between the supercharger, the adapter, the phone app, and Tesla HQ.

Still no ETA from Tesla. We all know Tesla is always late, but often does eventually deliver what they promised.

This thing is available for preorders.

I"ve never had a car that could bring large chunks of mass from -35 to 20 C in a few minutes. Are you saying that a Tesla car can do that? It can heat the doors, the console, all the seats, all the working parts within the car cabin, up 55 degrees in a couple of minutes? If so, wouldn’t the occupants get cooked?

I don’t know that the car itself will heat up quickly, but the vents are blowing hot air within seconds (with my older electric heat). Unlike my BMW or previous Camry, where it took a few minutes to begin getting heat in the cold of winter. Even the Tesla seats heat faster than BMW’s.

Not sure if a phone is necessary for the supercharger to accept a different car. From what I read (speculation) the entire adaption would be in the adapter (oddly enough). However, if you look at the tesla’s Chademo adapter, which also has the active protocol translation in the device itself, it’s a clunky and large item. The coming ( soon…!..) CCS adapter supposedly is just a straight pin to pin adapter, and newer Tesla’s charging computer can speak both CCS and Tesla. So maybe the adapter for non-Tesla vehicles will have an identification built in that needs to be tied to an account. Presumably the charges etc would then be reported to the phone app.

Dumb question about electric vehicles. This does not neccesarily relate to being stuck in a traffic jam. Here goes.

So, when a battery is under a load, it produces heat. I have no idea how much.

My question is, in an electric vehicle, is that heat used/redirected to heat the cabin? Or is the cabin heat purely done by resistance electric heaters. Basically space heaters. Right?

Could both be used?

Sort of an integrated with the above. Do EV batteries have any mechanism to cool them if they get too hot? Something as simple as cooling fins?

It depends on the car. Newer Teslas with the heat pump will exchange heat with the vehicle liquid coolant. So, the battery, motors, inverters, and electronics dump heat into the coolant, and the heat pump can pull it out of the coolant to heat the cabin. (At least I believe this is the case. It was what Tesla’s original patents said they would do, but I’m not 100% sure that is the system that made it into production.)

Other cars, like the Chevrolet Bolt, use a heat pump, but I don’t know if it is purely air to air, or if it can use waste heat in the liquid coolant.

Older Teslas have a resistance based heater. Any heat from the battery and other components may heat the car, but that’s purely just conducting through the body, and not from the climate control system.

I don’t know about other EVs, but heat pump Teslas have ways to heat the coolant, such as deliberately running the motors and inverters inefficiently, and then, as said, that heat can be extracted to heat the cabin. Teslas do something similar to “condition” the battery in preparation for supercharging, and for high speed launches in the performance and plaid models. By conditioning, they’re using the coolant to heat the battery to optimum temperature.

The old (original) style Nissan Leaf had an air cooled battery, and in hot climates the batteries would cook themselves, resulting in premature battery capacity loss. I’m not sure if any current EVs are air cooled.

Teslas and others use a liquid cooling system that will look familiar to anybody who’s seen a regular car’s liquid cooling system. That is yet one more thing that makes battery packs so expensive. Not only do they need complex electrical and electronic connections at each cell, they also need to run coolant through the whole thing.

Tesla heat management is very active. Just like how some ICE cars will run their radiator fans for awhile after the engine is turned off, a Tesla will continue to pump coolant around for 10+ minutes after the car has been parked.

Huh. Thanks for that detailed reply echoreply. Did not know that the batteries are or may be liquid cooled.

Very interesting.

The reason I keep coming back to the issue of heating the doors, console, etc. is not just that if they’re at -35, that will affect the cabin temperature generally, and need to be heated as well for the cabin temperature to go up.

If those parts of the car are at -35, it affects performance of the equipment contained in them:

  • windows may not work; they may not go down, or if down, they may get stuck until the door warms up;
  • electronic displays may not work; for example, in my Honda, the panel for the radio/nav system/rear view camera stays blank at -35; has to warm up considerably to work;
  • temperature read-outs may stop working or just disappear from the dash panel;
  • warning lights may not operate properly;
  • struts that hold up the hatchback stop working.

So for instance, the other day I went through Tim’s drive-through on my way to work and put my window down. After I got my coffee and croissant, I hit the button to put the window back up. No go. Wouldn’t move. Had to drive the 3 miles to work with the window down, in -35.

At least, I think it was -35. The temperature read-out on my dash just disappeared. Blank space where it normally appears below the odometer. In other cold snaps, the temperature read-out for the engine temperature has similarly disappeared.

And parking in the parkade, I had to do it the old fashioned way, with rear-view mirrors and shoulder checks, because the rear-view camera wasn’t working.

And I momentarily had to worry about the air-bag, because the red air-bag warning light came on. Then I remembered that the last time that happened I checked with Honda service, and they said that normally happens with the display when it’s -35; air bag still works, but the warning light goes bonkers.

And I got bonked on the head when I was getting my computer bag out of the back, and the struts that normally hold up the hatch-back didn’t work and the hatchback came down.

And this isn’t just my experience with my vehicle; in elevator conversations at work when we’re coming in from the parkade, I hear similar stories from other drivers with different makes of vehicles.

So I’m curious if e-vehicles are better at this problem than gas vehicles. After all, Elon has some Saskatchewan connections, so you would think he’s turned his mind to it. :slightly_smiling_face: