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Old 08-25-2013, 12:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What do the EV guys do in the winter?

Hello everyone.

First let me say that I think EV's are neat and cool but I'm not sure I could afford even a beer budget build at this point in my life. I am more looking to learn about EV's and how they function.

I understand the mechanics of the driveline somewhat. Things like direct drive or using the donor transmission and the basic idea of batteries supplying the power through a controller and then to the motor.

One of the questions I have always had is...what do EV owners do in the winter? IIRC batteries are really inefficient in the cold and I would think that extreme cold could damage them. But also don't batteries like being charged and discharged to keep them "limber"? If the cold is harmful to them how do you keep them "limber" if you don't drive? I would be afraid to take an EV out even to the store only to have it go dead or have to limp home at a rate that discharges the batteries too far. (Depth of discharge?)

I suppose you could keep them on a trickle charge, let them naturally discharge, and then charge them again with the trickle charger. But I really don't know.

In reality I would love to have an EV for all those short trips I have to make in town. The bank, the store, Menards, etc. Our area is pretty small and it doesn't take more than about a 4-5 mile round trip to reach the fatherst points. Most short trips are only 2 miles round trip. But I digress.

So...What is the "plan" for cold winter weather?

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Old 08-25-2013, 12:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you run out of gasoline in the winter just because your gas car uses more fuel in the winter?

It's not a guessing game, we know how much capacity each chemistry of battery looses as it gets colder so we know how your range is going to decrease, there are also battery warming pads that can be installed and temperature probes.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am likely going to need a warmer for my LiFePO4 packs.
They really do not like the cold.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I figured there had to be something. I knew Ryland would have an answer being from WI. I just wondered how much the cold affected the physical condition of the batteries. I would assume that you need a heated garage to help stave off any further damage?
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I just drove my 81 c-car into work year round, mine was FLA though. Never much mattered, just couldn't drive as fast or far.

I did sometimes pour boiling hot water on the windshield or run a small space heater in the car 15 minutes
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Running a space heater before you get in the car is my favorite way to heat an electric car, mine also has a small heater made out of an old toaster.
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My EV is a bike so I'd park it anyway.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm... um... erm... I'm gonna get my sanity judged b'cause of this for sure lol

48v 1000w hub, 15ah LiFePO4 pack, my all season commuter, Maine;



There seems to be a lot of answers when it comes to LiFePO4 cold environment operation, not even the manufacturers seem to agree on what the parameters are. Yet while I don't store the bike outside overnight, I've not noticed any significant preformance effect riding even the extent of my range in sub-zero temperatures, even after parked outside for hours while I work/errands/whathaveyou.

The switch from street slicks to knobby tires does w/o a doubt lol & I'm not saying the battery is impervious to the cold - all I know is I've of yet not found their temperature limit & I ride regardless of the weather;



Not to infer it always goes as planned though


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Old 08-26-2013, 12:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh, I'd ride, and I do ride bikes in the winter but around here they have to be sacrificial beater bikes cuz the road salt will eat 'em up in one year.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
Oh, I'd ride, and I do ride bikes in the winter but around here they have to be sacrificial beater bikes cuz the road salt will eat 'em up in one year.
Yea, there is that - the devil's brew of salt & calcium chloride is particularly bad, here's an example of a cassette after two winters of use, then a summer sitting in the corner of the shop (different bike) and yes, I do oil the things heh;



After the first summer riding the ebike I loved it so much that odd as it may sound I decided to try and "test to destruction" by dismissing all cautions, riding all season despite the caustic & galvanic corrosion concerns, potentially worse with an electric vehicle.

It's no better or worse really, basically amounting to I should clean it more often than I do, which may be true of all things

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