This Crazy Test Figured Out How EVs Perform in the Cold

Can an EV handle extreme cold weather? This man set out to discover the truth!
Written by Alex Healey
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The Mustang Mach-E in a factory for press photos.
Electric vehicles
have a lot going for them, but they are not considered the
best cars for winter driving
. In freezing temperatures, extra power is needed to keep the battery warm, and this causes a reduction in the car’s range.
Critics have long claimed this makes them unsuitable for cold weather. After all,
winter driving is dangerous
enough, without the added threat of losing battery power and getting stranded halfway to your destination.
However, EVs have come a long way in the last few years, and advocates say the notion that they are unreliable in cold weather is outdated. Do they really fare worse than their gas-powered counterparts?
It sounds like a job for the MythBusters, but reporter Alex Lauer beat them to it. He decided to test the winter range of a Mustang Mach-E, with interesting results.

Background to the experiment

Earlier this month, a cold snap led to a 24 hour standstill on Interstate 95. Many commentators said it was fortunate there were no EVs on the road, as they wouldn’t have the battery power to stay the course. 
E&E News
explains that Lauer wanted to challenge this supposition. He was able to borrow a pre-production Mustang Mach-E from Ford, with the sole intention of letting it idle in his driveway on a cold winter’s day.
Upon receiving the car at his Minnesota home, Lauer drove it to Starbucks, and then in order to simulate being stranded, he just sat in his driveway, for 12 hours straight!
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How did the EV handle the cold weather?

Lauer noted the Mustang Mach-E was fully charged when he received it, just before 6 a.m. on a bitterly cold winter’s morning.
  • By 9 a.m. the outside temperature was 14 degrees, and the battery was down to 92%.
  • By 12 p.m. the outside temperature was 18 degrees, and the battery was down to 87%.
  • By 6 p.m. the outside temperature was 24 degrees, and the battery was down to 75%.
At this point, he decided to end the experiment. In total, he had managed to keep the car warm for 12 hours, while using just 25% of its battery power. It stands to reason that if he had needed to stay for 24 hours, the battery would have dropped by 50%.
It was a simple experiment, but the results show that a modern EV trapped on I-95 during the winter storm would have been just fine.
It’s true, range is negatively affected by cold weather, but gas cars have reduced mileage during cold weather too, and EV batteries are getting better all the time.

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