EVs love the cold weather climates and for good reason.

If you’ve noticed there’s been a fair share of negative publicity about electric vehicles this winter season. We’re in one of the coldest winters in recent memory and it’s starting to affect all of our lifestyles not just our mobility. I wanted to write an article this week about electric vehicle cold weather management and dispel some of the myths we’re hearing and reading about that can deter those interested in learning more about EVs.

As most of you know we have had an electric vehicle in our family for over 10 years. I have personally owned two and currently have a Tesla M3P.  Over that time, we’ve seen advancements in range, charging speeds, and infrastructure but we still have a long way to go.

That being said, the limitations of electric vehicles are well known so the onus to learn and educate falls on the manufacturer, then the dealer, and finally the owner. There is plenty of blaming as of late but very little personal accountability of EV ownership. Let’s bring clarity to that disruptive chaos and dispel a few myths making headlines today.

Myth #1: The cold weather climate is horrible for electric vehicles.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Having spent the last few years in EV battery life cycle management, I understand the architecture and chemistry of batteries well. The cold weather climate is very good for EV battery longevity and health. It’s the hot weather climates that accelerate the dendrites formation. That is when lithium ions move from the cathode to the anode during charging, attaching to the surface of the anode in a process called plating. The more heat, the more accelerated this process becomes. The bottom line is batteries love cold weather. Now, they do need to be warmed to operate well. Because of that, the car has to generate heat by preconditioning the battery, and that heating process takes energy away from the battery that is used for range.

Myth #2: You can’t own an EV in colder climates because the range is horrible. 

There’s no question that you can lose from 20 to 40% of your EV battery range for the reasons we’ve outlined above. However, most EVs have ranges from 240 miles to 450 miles. According to the BLS, the average American drives 29 miles a day. That suggests that even with the most affordable EVs, there’s plenty of range for people in cold climates to enjoy the EV lifestyle with very little adjustment.

Myth #3: Driving your EV in cold climates will leave you stranded on the side of the road.

This is just as false as saying your fuel tank will leave you stranded on the side of the road when you don’t keep an eye on the fuel gauge. It’s not the EV or its battery that’s leaving these stranded just like it is not the lack of fuel in your gasoline tank. It’s the lack of planning, preparation, and attentiveness to the vehicle that you’re driving that leaves you stranded.

Myth #4: If you don’t have a home charger then you can’t own an EV in the cold weather climate.

This has about as much truth as saying you can’t have an ice engine in cold weather climate if if you have to plug in your heater to start the vehicle. Guess what, many times you do. If you live in a cold weather climate you know this to be true. With an EV you can even use the same regular 110 outlet you do for this engine electric heater to keep you EV battery warm and charging for better range and reliability. There is no difference.

Summary:

I could go on and on with these but the longer this article becomes the less of your attention I will keep. I think it’s safe to say, that all the negative PR you’re reading about electric vehicles and cold weather climate is more emotion than fact. It’s like blaming the fork for making you eat.

Again, the responsibility for education and transparency falls on the OEM, then on the dealer who educates and prepares their buyers. The dealers need to begin developing EV experts in their organization to hold confident qualifying conversations with curious EV shoppers before determining if an EV is right for them. If there is a fit, then the dealer needs to have a program in place for pre-sale and post-sale training on all aspects of EV ownership.

Above everything, we tell our dealers the worst thing they can do is sell an EV to a nonqualified EV shopper. It is the quickest way to erode hard-earned brand loyalty, lose repeat customers, and create an overall negative atmosphere in your dealerships. Reach out to our team at BEVEverything to learn about how you can begin to prepare your automotive retail operations for the electric powertrain future.

John Ellis CEO & Founder of The Automotive Advisor Team, LLC

Author: John Ellis

Founder & CEO The Automotive Advisor Team, Inc. BEVEveryting, Inc. Double E Consulting, Inc.

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