Cold Weather, Electric Cars and Regular Cars

Tesla cars and other electric vehicles are having trouble with the cold weather hitting much of the United States.

However, Canadians deal with cold weather every winter and Canadian Tesla owners did not have more problems than regular car owners.

Both gasoline and electric vehicles become less fuel efficient at colder temperatures, cutting the distance they can travel using the energy they carry.

EV Need to Be Programmed so Battery and Car is Warmed and Regular Car Owners Need to Plug in a Block Heater

Electric vehicles (EV) can use electricity from the grid to warm and condition the battery while charging overnight. Cara Clairman, president and CEO of Plug’n Drive, told CBC News that EV owners can program their vehicles to warm the interior so that more battery power can be dedicated to moving the car.

Extreme cold does have one noticeable effect on EVs: a dramatic drop in range. When the temperature is -20 C or colder then the EV range can drop by 40%.

EV owners can extend their range by using the seat and steering wheel heaters instead of warming up the entire cabin.

Electric cars with battery issues cannot be boosted. An electric vehicle needs to be charged, not boosted.

Cold Weather Problems for All Cars

Problems that all electric and regular cars have.
* Window wipers can get frozen in place.
* Door handles can get frozen
* Windows can get frozen
* Doors can get frozen
* Warming up the car can take time

I have lived through over 20 Canadian winters. When temperatures get below -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) then freezing problems become issues and can become challenging.

If your regular car does not have a block heater or was not in a heated garage then it will not start. If there is a lot of blowing snow then snow and ice can cover the side(s) of a car and get into openings to seal windows, doors and keyholes.

You can break off the ice on the windows with good scrapers.

Frozen Doors

The tips on dealing with frozen doors and windows are:
* prevent freezing by getting the car into a garage overnight. Ideally it should be a heated garage
* try another door and then try to open the frozen door(s). You have more leverage.
* Use scrapers
* Use a long extension cord and a hair dryer
* pour warm water onto and into the door and windows. This can take many trips.

I have poured warm water into it to get rid of the ice. Never use hot water to clear a frosted windshield, as it could crack the window.

How to Open a Frozen Car Door

Seats and Tires Freezing

Materials can change under extreme cold. I was in Northern Manitoba one year and went into an old school bus in below -40 temperatures. Minus 40 is the same in Celsius and Fahrenheit. It is where they cross over. The school bus benches were frozen into a half dome shape and sitting on the frozen plastic was like sitting on a hard block of ice.

The rubber compound in all-season tires hardens when temperatures drop below minus 7C, causing them to lose grip, whereas winter tires stay soft and stick to the road in sub-zero temperatures.

Colder temperatures will cause tire pressure to drop about 1 psi for every 6°C/10°F drop in air temperature.

At -40° Celsius (which is the same as -40 Fahrenheit) the air will deflate in the tires of a parked vehicle causing the rubber against the ground to go flat and then freeze solid. If you manage to get the vehicle started and in motion, then you will experience what some Canadians refer to as square tires. The frozen, flattened side will cause a very bumpy ride. It may take about 100 meters (110 yards) of driving for the rubber tires to soften up enough to become somewhat round again although they will remain underinflated.

Many materials and fluids are generally not rated for minus 40 or less. Record temperatures in Canada have gone to minus 50 to even minus 61 Celsius. When I was in Canada it was usually a once or at most twice a winter thing to get to near or below minus 40.

Block Heaters are Standard in All Cars in Canada

Lubricating oil freezes in cold temperatures. Block heaters are used to prevent this.

Block heaters are pretty much standard in all cars in places with cold winters such as the northern United States, Canada, Russia and Scandinavia. The most common type of block heater an electric heating element in the cylinder block, connected through a power cord often routed through the vehicle’s grille. In colder climates, block heaters are often standard equipment in new vehicles. In cold climates, electrical outlets are found in public or private parking lots.

Electric Motors don’t require lubrication from conventional oil. However, they do require a minimal amount of grease for the bearings inside the motor.

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