Posts: 137
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:43 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Winter Driving

Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:38 pm

Hello to all. Although I live in the San Antonio, TX, some of my friends and I are curious about performance in the harsh winter climates of our northern states and Canada. Specifically, I am curious on the RR after a full charge to 16 bars. Could you respond in this manner: typical RR in spring/summer compared to typical RR in the winter. This might give all of us a more specific feel as to cold weather effects on our MiEV's. Thanks. Bill.

Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:50 am
Location: Latham, NY

Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:22 pm

I'm in upstate NY and so far there hasn't been a single day that I would call "harsh winter". However, during our mild winter days I have been very liberal running the heater and the seat warmer and so far I'd say the RR has dropped from 70-75 miles during the spring/summer to about 50-55. I have no idea how much more that will drop when we finally get some really cold days and nights - and some slippery stuff on the ground. I think just like summer driving where some of us were getting ranges in the 70's, some in the 80's and some in the 90's we're going to see a lot of variability based on driving habits, heat usage and outdoor conditions. I don't know that we'll end up with a "typical" number.

Posts: 529
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:31 am
Location: NYC

Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:23 pm

In the summer, with almost no A/C use, I was averaging low 90s RR on a full charge. Although we have not yet hit the heart of winter here in NYC, I am using heater/defroster and my RRs have dropped to 75-85. Probably going to get a little worse with lower temperatures. My car is outdoors overnight where I charge it in the driveway.

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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:20 pm

Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:14 pm

The RR is highly dependent on recent driving patterns: I live on a hill so my RR is always skewed by the climb which takes about 1kWh. When I head out, my RR estimate shoots up at least a few miles as I descend the hill. Furthermore, I usually don't charge to 100% unless I'm planning to use it for the sake of allowing maximum regenerative braking on the way down the hill. This saves on the brake wear and keeping the battery charge away from maximum voltage extends it's life, too.

Winter range is interesting: lower temperatures will reduce battery efficiency but quick charging will increase battery temperature and keep it closer to the optimal range. On the other hand, driving with traction tires will reduce range.

I recently did some mountain driving in my i-MiEV. You can see the trip report for further details.

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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:45 pm
Location: Rockford, IL
Contact: Website

Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:52 am

I've been keeping track of my mileage per kWh pretty meticulously so far.
Since August, the average has been around 4.0 miles per kWh. Typical driving conditions are speeds below 45 MPH, no A/C use, and using Eco mode for accelerating and B mode to slow down for maximum regen (and some coasting in Neutral). And also an average of 10 miles driven per day.

We just got our first snow storm of the year. 2 inches at my location, but the surrounding areas had up to 12 inches. Luckily it was warmer that morning because we had 1.2 inches of rain before it got cold enough to turn to snow on the way down.

So, no true "winter" driving on unplowed streets yet. But in using the defroster (on the two lowest fan speeds) the early indications are miles per kWh dropping to 3.6. There have been a couple weeks of morning commutes where the "outside air temperature warning indicator" has come on. This is the 'snowflake' that appears in the same window as the odometer display. In reviewing the owners manual, it does not appear to change any functions in the behavior of the car that would effect range, it only serves to warn that the roads may be icy. (page 3-67)

As it gets colder, I suspect I'll be using the heater for comfort and not just keeping the window clear. I really need to keep the seat warmer option in mind since that hasn't been considered yet. But there will be updates to my range as the season progresses.
Owner since 8/22/2012

Posts: 387
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:10 pm
Location: Montreal Quebec.....

Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:58 pm

Hi All,

Winter range is one of the things that I was most worried about for an EV up here in Montreal. Winter is starting to really kick in and things have been good so far. One thing that I do is keep the car in the home garage and this makes a big difference in the morning drive in. With my other ICE cars I would leave them outside all winter and of course they would pile up with snow and cold soak but since it'a an ICE that's no problem. I would use a remote starter and warm the car up for 10 minutes to get the defrost going as usual. For the imiev I wanted to keep it inside mainly to spare the battery the cold soak overnight. But what I am noting is that keeping the car in the garage just makes getting out in the winter so much more pleasent. No cleaning off the car, no defrosting. Preheating in the garage makes it warm and toasty for the ride in. It's actually nicer driving the EV to work in the morning after a snowfall then going out and cleaning the ICE off and driving that one in.

As for range at about 1-2 Deg C keeping the fan on 1 click and the heat on one click with an already warm car is fine and produces about 70-80 KM of range no problem.

When it's -5 Deg C heat has to be up a knotch and Range seem to drop down to 50-70 KM area.

It gets more complicated to think about range in winter because so many things affect it.

I have noted that driving to work with several inchs of snow fall and unplowed streets seems to take about 50% more energy. Thats including heat at a temp of 1-2 deg C.

Of course you can always do a worst case scenario and come up with a really low range number somewhere around 50 KM or less. But I think that's a little unrealistic.

Generally when it's cloudy and it snows temps tend to rise so there is a little give and take with temp vs snowy conditions. Also when it gets colder on very clear days there tends to be more sunlight and the sun heats the interior really well even when it's cold so again a little give and take.

To have a little backup I also bought a 1500 BTU catalytic propane heater that I keep in a utility box behind the back seat. That's my winter range extender. I've never really had to use it up to now other then testing but I may use it in Jan and Feb on really cold days. My real secret weapon are heated insoles for my boots. They really help keep the chill away and use very very little electric energy.

All in all Up to now I have not had any issues with the winter weather and the iMiev. The traction computer in the car makes winter driving completely simple and safe. It's really impressive. I use the heat and defrost with A/C as i normally would and things are fine for my short daily driving which is about 30-50 KM.


Posts: 284
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:26 am
Location: Bergstrasse, Germany

Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:11 pm

We did have -15C = 5F one night. Not too much snow but uncomfortable. I have just begun learning how to operate A/C and heater to defrost and defog and getting it warm inside. Putting everything on automatic does not help.

RR got down from 164 / 107 kilometers (100 / 66 miles) to 80 / 50 kilometers (50 / 30 miles). We have actually been driving a little more than 100 kilometers with the turtle giving us a fit. Reading the charge gauge indicates not so much change. The cold did get us a little more careful but I guess I still could travel more than 80 km or 50 miles.
Peter and Karin Dambier, DL2FBA,

Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:52 am
Location: Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada

Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:32 am

I'm seeing the same results as DonDakin. We haven't hit the really cold temperatures yet in the Niagara Region. The lowest I've seen the temperature go according to the instruments, is -3C. With careful drivinig and heat on notch 1, I'm seeing a loss of 1 or 2 bars off my daily 43km commute. In the summer, I can make it to Buffalo on 5-6 bars off the power meter in the winter its between 7-8 at 0C. I'm going to get a heated autoblanket and see how that goes. Because, anything above 2 notches on the heater causes my power meter to drain quickly.

Like Dylan...I went electric.

  • Purchased: June 29th, 2012
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Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:36 pm

We haven't had much cold weather here either - One overnight got us down to about the freezing point . . . . it's 70 degrees here today

So far, my experience with the heater is that it consumes more energy and range than the A/C does, and this surprised me a bit, but I guess it shouldn't have. When you're air conditioning, you're trying to change the temp in the car by 20 or 25 degrees - it's 95 outside and you'd like it to be 75 inside, but we ask much more of the heater than that - It's 30 outside and you'd like it to be 75 inside

As to what cold weather does to the battery pack with regard to energy/range loss - That will be a harder thing to figure out. Someone will have to make several 50 mile trips in 30 degree temps using no heat of any kind so they can compare that with what they were getting in the summertime when they were making the same trips with no A/C at all

2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
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Re: Winter Driving In The 2012-2013 Driving Season

Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:09 am

We've been on the road for the holidays visiting family

24 Dec - 134 km , no heat , only heated seats, and car blanket on our lap and legs , dressed with gloves, hats and warm boots. Charged at several location while visiting family and shopping, modified level 1, & level 2.

24-25 Dec - car outside, had charged with modified level 1 for more than 12 hours in temps -13. Day time temps warmed up to -8c.
Left with full charge for 92 km trip. Had to stop and charge level 2 for 45 minutes to make it home , 4 km left on the RR guage - again no heating other than seats and lap blanket.

Conclusion so far, we added heated cushion for passenger and a electric car blanket for the legs.
For temps down to -10c, this is just enough not to run the main heating system. at the lower temps the RR does suffer 10-15 %

Waiting on colder temps to further evaluate., Last night Dec 25-26 temps were down to -18 C, car was garaged,
Propane heater is on standby for further testing, and will start plugging in the electric car blanket.
Tesla Model 3 SR+, 2019
Previous EVs
Puey Bluey 2014 Miev
200,000 km , 124.000 miles.
Blackie - 2012 ES Miev 2 years - 67,000 km / (41,630 miles)

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