Thread: E15
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:50 PM   #13
KCW
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: upstate NY
Posts: 675
 

2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: E15

My son recently got a 2011 Chevy Volt. Its a plug in hybrid, that runs on battery power only for the first "40 miles" then a gas engine starts to kick in, and it runs more like the original Prius: battery power running slow, engine off at red lights, and when you get going the engine comes on.. till you plug the car in over night, then you get "40 miles" of battery range again

if you only drive 40 miles to work and back, you might not use any gasoline all week, until you take a longer trip on the weekend.... very cool!

But here is the catch, which I did not expect: I knew that cold weather/temps would lower the storage capacity of the lithium ion batteries. What we have learned, with the temps in just the 30s (F) the battery loses about 25% of its capacity. But... when you turn the heater on it runs off the battery too.

Just driving normally commuting to work with the heater and defroster on, that can take just as much power as the motor moving the car...

So the car is normally rated for 40 miles of range, but in the cold it drops to half that! He is getting only 20 miles when its cold in the morning.

Its still a good hybrid car when the engine kicks on, he is averaging 60 to 70 mpg combined per gallon of gas pumped into the tank. He is looking forward to summer weather to get the full range "40 miles" on battery power, with the heater and AC left off. It is a surreal experience driving the car around with zero engine noise, all you hear are the tires on the pavement.

but somehow this never gets mentioned. Im sure the pure EV cars are in the same boat: if the car, like an early Leaf, is rated for 100 miles on battery power, when its 32F out you only get 50 miles. Those tesla cars that are rated for 300 miles on an overnight charge, will drop to 150 miles in the winter. If you really need to drive 200 or 250 miles a day, that is a problem with a pure EV car.

The only way to get around this would be to park your electric car in a heated garage in the winter (expensive to heat) or have heaters in the car so when you plug in to charge overnight, it also keeps the battery pack at 70F all night, so you have 100% range in the morning.

but even then, if you drive to work and park the car out in the cold, you are going to lose half your remaining battery capacity for the drive home.

Last edited by KCW; 04-12-2019 at 10:57 PM.
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