There’s been a lot said about electric vehicles (EVs) and winters to completely obscure the matter. Frankly, there’s been a lot said about EVs, in general, to confuse the buyer. So yes, EVs are better for the environment in places where electricity itself is produced as green as possible. Diesel generators charging up EVs is a bit of a facepalm moment for the world.
That said; there are certain pros and cons of driving an EV in general. Now, when it comes to winters in the parts of the world where getting snowed in is more common than not; how do EVs fare? Here go the pros and cons of EVs in winter, to make it easier for you to decide on your perfect winter ride.
10 EV Pro: Hopeful Reduction Of Smog
EVs cause the environment far less harm than even the best of lowest emission vehicles on earth – and in winters, a lot of the air pollution caused by vehicles gets turned into deadly smog. Not saying that one person driving an EV means reduced smog, but every drop helps.
If more and more people get onto the EV bandwagon, that dreaded winter smog which is nothing more than smoke-filled fog – will slowly but steadily reduce. It may not sound like much to you but to people suffering from breathing problems every time the winter smog comes knocking, it can be a big relief.
9 EV Con: Battery Problems
Unlike a normal car that is dependent on the gas levels in the tank, an EV con is that an electric car is completely dependent on its electric battery. And in winters, the battery spends far more on keeping the inside of the car warm and its occupants in unfrozen conditions.
So it is known to suddenly clunk out whenever and wherever it wants. This can lead to people suddenly getting stranded when their EV car charge goes from 50% to 0% in a matter of mere minutes. So for winters, while the EV is all heart for the environment, it gets a bit impractical.
8 EV Pro: More Efficient Than Gas Engines
In even the best of gasoline engines, only about 1/3rd of the fuel you put in goes to move the wheels of the car – the rest gets lost in heat, friction and heating the car. Plus a gasoline engine takes a little time to get warmed up enough to melt the ice off the car to get it moving.
An electric engine has no such hang-ups – it is ready and willing to get moving at the start of the button. While a lot of the battery power in an EV does go into warming the car, it responds far quicker than any gasoline engine.
7 EV Con: Charging Times Get Longer
In winters, not only do EV car batteries tend to discharge very quickly and often suddenly, but they also take a lot more time to charge as well. The quick charge, lightning charges or fast charge methods simply do not charge the battery enough – even if the battery shows a 100% charge, it will show a much lesser range and may not even run for that much.
You need to charge using the longest charging method, and even then it will not charge your car as fast as it does when temperatures are high. So with EVs, make sure your car remains plugged in the garage to keep its levels high.
6 EV Pro: EV Car Makers Are Wizening Up
With many reports of low battery conditions popping up, many EV car makers have tightened up their laces and have introduced cars with superior thermal packaging. This ensures that the battery of the car remains immune to the cold front so wreaked by winter on everything, and the charging time as well as the expend, does not happen that quickly either.
There have been cars before Tesla stormed on the scene that had superior thermal packaging – like the Coda – and winters simply seemed to not affect them or their performance, much.
5 EV Con: Gas Money Vs. Time Spent
Charging up EVs in winters takes a lot longer than it does in summers, and while most chargers are still free – this may not be the scene in the future. For now, though, it’s a tough call. You may save that $40 on gas money, but there is that two to three hour killing time you have to spend while your car charges at Ikea or Chargepoint.
Ultimately, you have to decide what is more important – your time, or money. Though we should add here, time is money. If you have a charger at home, then EVs may be your best friend, otherwise, they will hassle you in the cold.
4 EV Pro: That Feel Good Feeling
The thing about electric cars is that when you drive them, you have this goofy grin on your face. And that doesn’t just come from the fact that you are saving on gas money, and that your EV may be faster than your neighbor’s gasoline car. It comes from the fact that you have taken a stand to do something better for the environment, and are doing it.
Even if that means driving an EV car in snow-covered parts of the world. If you have managed to learn how to manage that battery in winter, great. If not, there are still free charging points around – and they are only growing.
3 EV Con: Reduced Mile Range
Charge, charge and charge and you may still not get the same mile range you get out of your EV in winter. And there is pretty much nothing the carmaker, who sold you that EV, can do about it. A lot of that battery goes into heating the insides of the car and keeping you warm and safe from the blizzard-like cold outside.
So obviously, there is only so much mile range an EV will have in the winters – and the loss can be as great as 40%. So clearly, an EV is better used for shorter-distance drives in winters as opposed to long-drawn ones.
2 EV Pro: You Can Save Battery
Of course, if you are willing to face some discomfort to increase the mile range – there are ways and means to support the EV in winters. Firstly, bundle up – unlike a home where the heat is centrally managed, in an EV the heating eats up the battery. Better to drive on the lowest possible heat setting and wear insulated clothes instead.
Remember to drive in energy-saving mode if your car has that – and this will automatically keep everything dim and less battery consuming. It may reduce speed as well, but this helps increase traction on slippery snow and ice-covered terrain.
1 EV Con: Driving Discomfort
Driving EVs in winters is a bit heart-stuttering. You have to keep a continuous eye on the range. Then you also have to keep in mind charging stations en route lest your EV give out on the middle of the highway, in the bitter cold. Even if you leave home with a full charge, a colder than average day can suck the life out of your battery in no time.
Plus, if you do save on the battery by deciding on low or no heat – it isn’t the most comfortable of driving experiences for sure. But if we want to save the environment, and ourselves, perhaps some sacrifices have to be made.