2/12/2013

The perils of driving electric vehicles during the winter

Is 30+ degrees really that cold?  That was the first day and it was bad enough.  Over night the temperature fell to 10 degrees. This Telsa Motors car left a lot to desire.  Could you image what this trip will be like after the batteries are a few years old and are not keeping their charge as well as new ones do?  Just think, you too can have this experience for a mere $61,000 (plus tax).  From the NY Times:
But as I discovered on a recent test drive of the company’s high-performance Model S sedan, theory can be trumped by reality, especially when Northeast temperatures plunge. . . . 
I noticed that the estimated range was falling faster than miles were accumulating. . . . 
I began following Tesla’s range-maximization guidelines, which meant dispensing with such battery-draining amenities as warming the cabin and keeping up with traffic. I turned the climate control to low — the temperature was still in the 30s — and planted myself in the far right lane with the cruise control set at 54 miles per hour (the speed limit is 65). . . . my feet were freezing and my knuckles were turning white. . . .
I drove a state-of-the-art electric vehicle past a lot of gas stations. I wasn’t smiling.Instead, I spent nearly an hour at the Milford service plaza as the Tesla sucked electrons . . .  
I drove, slowly, to Stonington, Conn. . . . a total distance of 79 miles. When I parked the car, its computer said I had 90 miles of range, twice the 46 miles back to Milford. It was a different story at 8:30 the next morning. The thermometer read 10 degrees and the display showed 25 miles of remaining range — the electrical equivalent of someone having siphoned off more than two-thirds of the fuel that was in the tank when I parked. 
I called Tesla in California, and [was told] I needed to “condition” the battery pack to restore the lost energy. That meant sitting in the car for half an hour with the heat on a low setting. . . .  
After completing the battery conditioning process, the estimated range reading was 19 miles; no way would I make it back to Milford. . . .
UPDATE: "Tesla CEO accuses New York Times of printing 'fake' car review"

UPDATE: Apparently Tesla can monitor driver's behavior in unnerving detail.
. . . The most interesting tweet to me was the one captured above, where Musk refers to Tesla’s ability to monitor everything that a driver does in one of its cars — at least when it comes to the car’s operation.  “Tesla data logging is only turned on with explicit written permission from customers,” tweeted Musk. “But after Top Gear BS, we always keep it on for media.” 
(“Top Gear BS” refers to a 2008 BBC review of a Tesla car that the company also disputed and eventually sued over.) 
Thanks to more and more of our belongings being “smart” — or “tethered” as Jonathan Zittrain calls them — they’re constantly capturing data about us and in some cases reporting back to the companies that made them how we’re using them. It means your car might keep a log of how you drove it or that your Xbox might be tracking every person in the room and watching their facial expressions to decide which ads to show them. 
Tesla says it always asks for customers’ permission before doing this –even if that’s not made clear in the owner’s manual — but journalists taking a car for a free spin don’t get that same courtesy. . . . 

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5 Comments:

Blogger JoeFromSidney said...

You ought to read the original TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC CAR, published way back when. Tom is always stopping to recharge his car. Electrics disappeared because they couldn't compete with gasoline engines, and they still can't.

2/12/2013 7:20 PM  
Blogger Stephen Barrett said...

I think Mazda's capacitor technology is an interesting use of technology. I doubt battery cars will ever be much good. The same people that want the cars protest the Rare Earth processing needed for electric car's batteries.

2/13/2013 2:05 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

I can see it now. Engineer comes up with the brilliant idea of keeping the battery warm by using an electric heater powered by the autos battery!

2/13/2013 11:42 AM  
Blogger FZ said...

So, apparently anyone who thinks a Tesla vehicle isn't the gosh darn most wonderful vehicle on Earth is a liar?

How do they know it's not their tracking system that's wrong? Nothing else works on electric cars, why should we believe their monitoring devices do?

2/14/2013 2:53 PM  
Blogger Jeff Philandar said...

Tips on buying car batteries at cheap prices and advices on car battery charger. Information in motorcycle and golf cart batteries. vehiclebattery.com

2/28/2013 3:49 AM  

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