Winter charge

Winter charge

One of my buddies is a battery engineer. He has indicated that in my cold climate (Chicago), a fully EV such as the Tesla S may not be a good solution - as the battery capacity would be greatly compromised. Has any testing been done in harsh winter climates, and if so, what has been done to counteract the low-temp/discharge problem?

Thank you.

Roblab | 28 juli 2010

Having been a RAV4EV driver, I know there are many of those in colder climates. The problem is that you no longer have a wasteful heat generator (gas engine) to power the car, and it takes a lot of energy to heat a car. Most drivers realize their charge range is lower and they try to heat before leaving home or the office, while plugged in, so they don't have to on the road, and they don't plan quite so long of trips, and may not go quite as fast, in order to save energy Yes, the batteries are not quite as powerful when cold, but Tesla probably has all the stats on this, as they test them in cold climates before marketing. Your engineer friend may be smart at engineering, but unless he's owned an EV in a cold climate, I wouldn't take much he has to say as the final answer. People drive EVs in cold climates. Somehow, they manage!

FirstSwede | 29 juli 2010

I drove my Roadster 2.0 during the winter in Sweden. We had -20C for 2 months and my garage was at about +5C. I did not have any problems at all using the car. The batteries are kept in a good temperature by the car. If needed they are heated before charging. If the car was parked outside for a long time (10 hours) the batteries got cold and "regen" (charging while breaking) was disabled until the batteries got warmer again.

The heating of the cabin is taking about 5-15% of the power consumption when its -20C, which I don't find a problem.

I noted that the power needed for driving was significantly higher in snow conditions and I think that this limits the range more then cold batteries.

Brian H | 30 juli 2010

Yes, rolling resistance would be much higher in snow than on pavement, wouldn't it? And snow tires are specifically designed to maximize traction and grip, which equals resistance.

zelujukej | 20 december 2015


zelujukej | 20 december 2015


lovfixn | 20 december 2015

This just makes me think of how much worse the mileage an ice engine gets cold climates. I guess it isn't a good solution either.

Sin_Gas | 22 december 2015

Some help here. I have a Smart EV, with battery and drive train by Tesla. It gets about 74 miles in the summer, and about 60 miles on a full charge in the winter. Not as cold as Chicago, but I drive it in Mass.


Rocky_H | 22 december 2015

@Sin_Gas, I don't see a question in your comment. When you say "Some help here", what are you asking about? Or does that mean you're providing help with a related data point?

Sabbia | 22 december 2015


Also have our Model S in Chicago. Although we are blessed with an extraordinarily mild winter so far, we have noticed about a 10% decrease in range. An opinion; not scientific. I definitely would not say the Tesla Model S is a poor solution.

I don't think rolling friction difference (snow vs. asphalt/concrete) has anything to do with it...we've hardly had any snow. Besides, the snow is plowed and you don't really spend a great deal of range on snow.

I suspect the decrease is due to heating the car electrically instead of waste heat from the internal combustion.

Finally, when we plug in the car at night we always have at least 75 miles (out of 275) left...usually much more. Don't really care about the degradation for the kind of driving we do. Car is fully charged by morning.

Sin_Gas | 22 december 2015

Hello Rocky
I was making a data point on a battery pack and drive made by Tesla on another brand in the cold weather. Perhaps a poor choice of words on my part.


Rocky_H | 22 december 2015

Oh, OK--makes sense. Yeah, Winter range reduction is always going to be a thing on electric vehicles.

hollywalk | 23 december 2015

Mileage of a vehicle gets decreased in winter season:

There are various reasons why winter driving minimizes efficiency ranging from fuels to driver security and relaxation. If you reside somewhere like California or Florida where winter means night-time lows dipping into the sixties, you might not have experienced this occurrence, but those of who live location with actual seasons have grown conventional to this.

Mike83 | 23 december 2015

California is very big. Driving in 10 F in N CA is common in winter especially for skiing. I notice a 5% decrease in range but still travel 240 miles.

JuJoo | 23 december 2015

Is it just me or did this incredibly old post got bumped for little reason?