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?


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!

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.

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.

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