Goldilocks Vehicles

  • July 25, 2023

An interesting thing about electric vehicles is that they are also Goldilocks Vehicles – in that they need conditions to be just right in order for them to work right.

Or at least, as well as they are able.

If it’s cold out – and especially if it is very cold – EVs shed range faster than any “gas hog” drains its tank. Even when the EV is parked – if it is left unplugged. In the very cold, it is not unusual to lose 10-20 miles of range overnight that way – just from sitting in the cold.

And it takes forever to refill the energy hog’s “tank” – because the colder it is, the longer it takes to recharge its batteries. Especially at home, where the electricity burned keeping the battery warm in the cold eats up the electricity being “pumped” into the battery via the house.

It’s kind of like trying to fill up a sieve.

Word about all of this got out to the general public last winter – which was the first winter during which more than a relative handful of EVs (which even now are only about 6 percent of all new cars sold) were in use in places other than places where it doesn’t get very cold, such as Los Angeles, CA. Most people – having never owned or even driven an EV – did not about the cold weather-variability of charge (and range) because people were only told about how EVs perform under optimum conditions, in the goldilocks zone.

They now know how the effect of cold weather on EV battery performance – many of them from first-hand experience.

This may be part of the reason why EV sales after last winter took a dive. Inventories of unsold new EVs have been stacking up all summer – and now word is getting out about the effect of warm (and very hot) weather on EV performance.

“Significant declines” in range have been reported – as much as 31 percent when the EV was subjected to 100 degree heat. And that loss is more than it sounds like it is, when it comes to EVs – whether it’s very hot or very cold outside – because most EVs come standard with less than 300 miles of range when driven in goldilocks conditions. Not too cold – and not too hot. 

This includes even high-end luxury EVs such as the ’23 Mercedes EQE recently test-driven by this writer. The base ($79,050) EQE 350 comes standard with just 253 miles of best-case range, under goldilocks conditions.

The loss of 31 percent of that range in less-than-ideal conditions (because the heat is drawing power from the battery to keep it – and you – cool) would leave the owner with only about 175 miles of range, about a quarter of a tank for a typical non-electric car. And that is less than it sounds like it is, because if you run out of range in an EV, you cannot just roll into the nearest gas station to fill ‘er up. You’ll be stuck waiting at a “fast” charger, which you may not have time for.

Assuming you make it there.

So, it’s necessary to always keep enough charge in reserve to make sure you can make it to where you have the time to recharge – whether at home or on the way there. If that means never letting the remaining charge drop below say 10 percent – especially when conditions are less-than-ideal and that 10 percent may get burned through 31 percent faster. Thus, even a putative “300 mile range” is functionally 10 percent less than that – or 270 miles. And that latter might be 31 percent optimistic, in which case you’ve only got about 190 miles of realistic range in less-than-ideal conditions.

This assumes, of course, that you had 300 miles of range under best-case conditions.

Most EVs with MSRPs under $50,000 don’t. They have best-case ranges in the range of 230-280 miles. For example, the ’23 Ford Mustang Mach E – which lists for $42,995 – comes standard with just 247 miles of range (224, if you opt for the available dual-motor set-up and all-wheel-drive). You have to spend $7,000 extra to get the “extended range” battery – which gives you 303 miles of range.

Maybe. If it’s not too cold – or too hot. If you don’t use the AC – or the heat – much. Even the soyest of boys are acknowledging this, while also apologizing for this.

Well, what is 31 percent less than a fully-charged 247 miles? It is 171 miles. Now subtract another 10 percent from that, so you’ll have enough range (hopefully) to make it to a place where you can charge – and have the time to wait. That’s about 154 miles of range – which is not very far when you have places to go and don’t have time to wait.

And if you only started out with 50 percent charge – because you didn’t have time to wait for a full charge – you might only be able to go 85 miles, if you shed 31 percent of the 123 putative, best-case miles you thought you had with a 50 percent charge. Less the 10 percent of that you’d probably want to not burn through and keep in reserve.

Is it any wonder there aren’t people waiting to get EVs?

This column – and even the “mainstream” – media have noted that EV inventories are piling up like boxes of unused Face Diapers. The reason for this – in both cases – is essentially the same. People are cluing in to the fraud – and no are longer buying into what they’ve been lied to about.

What is the point of wearing a “mask” that doesn’t work? Assuming the point isn’t to trick people into believing that it “works”? And what is the point of tryin to trick people into believing that an EV will work just like the vehicles they’re used to . . . ?

Unless of course that is the point.

The good news is more and more people are cluing in to these tricks – and a point arrives after which it becomes much harder to trick them again, for they have shed their trust and now assume they’re being lied to.

This is salutary. It is healthy. When people are more careful, they’re less likely to be taken for a ride.

Or left to walk.

. . .

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