Friday, March 21, 2014

"If I had some film I'd take a picture if I had a camera"

That title probably makes good sense to an electric car engineer.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) has done tests to determine the effects of heat and cold on the battery life of electric cars, and the results might make a thinking person wonder, "Why bother?" 

Electric plug-in type cars, with the exception of Tesla, have a range of between 38 and 87 miles, or at least that's what their manufacturers claim.  

But according to the AAA test, if the battery is in a cold climate, that number drops by an average of 57%, to a range of 16-50 miles.  In a hot climate the range is degraded by an average of 33%, to just 25-58 miles.  Which I guess isn't so bad if everywhere you go is downhill.

And it gets better: Two of the cars tested, the Mitsubishi and the Ford, had a dedicated "battery temperature maintenance system" (to heat or cool the battery) which in theory should enable the cars to maintain their original range estimate, right?  WRONG!

Researchers found that with only one source of power in the car....the power the temperature maintenance system, the energy the system sucks from the battery to heat/cool the battery reduces the charge of the battery which....wait for it....shortens the range of the car.  Well DUH!  It's like watching a dog chase his tail.

Here's to you, electric car engineers.*  You rock!  :)

Happy Weekend everyone!

* I'm sure they're brilliant.  It's just that their theoretical world hasn't caught up with the REAL world.  (I think Tesla snapped up the few that "get it".) 


  1. Yeah an electric car would not do me much good. We're still in that first adopter stage. It seems a good, user-friendly electric car is still a ways off.

  2. Electric cars for someone with money to burn and will only use it for a five mile trip to the market. Doesn't work for me.

  3. Did you read about the new NASA experiment?
    Several managers were given electric cars ( do not know selection process, but would guess distance and attitude for project). NASA installed charging stations for each of the cars at work and they get power from solar farm ( 12Gig Watt on sunny day ) and local grid. Now the experiment is to see how much electricity is consumed ( precise measuring equipment on charge cable) and if workers easily adapt to the cars and of course do they make it to work each day. Sounds like the government at work.

  4. The majority of electric seems to be confined to local commuters. Even with Tesla the variables (heat, cool, speed, operation) determine distance. Any trip out in the sticks would take some planning - unless you strap a generator on the back.

  5. I'm glad they're pursuing energy sources other than fossil fuels, but they obviously have a long way to go. And how are these batteries disposed of? I understand there's no way to get rid of them.

    1. I suppose the same way as other car/ computer batteries are . I really don't know for sure.

  6. It would be great if it worked well. We apparently have imaginary people pushing imaginary technology to people with imaginary life styles in an imaginary world, except there are a select few making real dollars at the expense of not so imaginary taxpayers and companies. CA governor is in that group---they don't call him Moonbeam for nothing

  7. Your title reminds me of an expression my wife's father used to use: If we had some eggs I would make us some bacon and eggs if we had any bacon."

  8. The thing is, if American electrical car engineers don't work on this, research it, and perfect it, then German engineers (or Chinese, or Indian) will do it. And once the technology has been refined, perfected, and made affordable then...well, you think about it.

  9. I don't think I like all those variables - especially with my 40 mile commute! I need to just start working on my long distance biking ability :)