Survey. Electromobility in winter?

NEVS focuses on the electric drive at Saab. The first all-electric Saab will celebrate its world premiere in Beijing in April. Reason enough to deal with the topic and to ask the readers for their opinion. Because a problem of vehicles with batteries is the sinking range in winter. The Car media Portal has written an article that makes me think:

Saab ePower
Saab ePower

Winter brings electric cars to the edge of usability. This is not a surprising finding, because their batteries need to provide more consumers in winter, but their chemistry is less efficient because of the low temperatures. What can realistically be expected from a battery-electric car today is shown by the result of the "Auto Bild" cold test of five E-models. In winter conditions, the BMW i3, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV had to prove themselves in seven disciplines: braking, traction, handling, heating, range, safety equipment and price. In particular, the range test showed some dramatic limitations.

In four out of five test candidates, the range dropped below 70 kilometers. Only the Tesla achieved more than 85 kilometers due to its massive 200 kWh battery. When Renault Zoe the battery was enough even for 58,9 kilometers. Commuting to work on cold winter days can be a risky arithmetic example, especially when commuter traffic jams or detours threaten. Overall, the range in cold break, compared with information on the websites of the manufacturer by about 60 to 70 percent:

Tesla Model S, 85 kWh battery, official range 502 km, in winter test 206 km
Nissan Leaf, 24 kMh battery, official range 199 km, in the winter test 69,1 km
BMW i3, 21,6 kWh battery, range 130 to 160 km, in winter test 61,4 km
Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 16 k / h battery, range 150 km, in winter test 61,3 km
Renault Zoe, 22 kWh battery, range 100 to 150 km, in winter test 58,9 km.

Source: (ampnet / Sm)

The problem is not new. Already 2011 had similar tests, both from the Dekra and Auto Motor Sport. The result is similar to the current numbers. If the temperature drops to minus 5 degrees, the range on average decreases by 47%. That was 2011 like that, 2013 has not changed. The progress is missing.

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The journey to work - a risk in winter

In the winter, I would drive from Spessart to Eschborn to the Saab Tower with an electric vehicle like the BMW i3, from time to time setting up the branch of the former Saab Automobile Parts AB to visit, I would probably stop short of the finish. Which would be little amusing. Rush hour traffic, departure Eschborn, the battery is empty! Then recharge in the underground garage if you can find a free socket and the tour back home would also be an adventure. Detours in order to get the suit from the cleaning shop or quickly get some rolls ... a risk. So a battery vehicle is just a car for mild temperatures?

Saab 9-3 EV
Saab 9-3 EV

In principle, BMW uses Lithium Iron Phosphate technology (LiFePO4) on the same basis as Saab batteries. With the difference that BMW has to buy, Saab with Beijing National Battery technology has the technology suppliers in its own group. The Saab 9-3 EV should in the first variant have a range of 200 kilometers. This should be increased continuously over the model runtime. Remained, theoretically, at minus 5 degrees still good 100 kilometers range left. Enough to drive to Eschborn and enough reserve to make a traffic jam not a problem. Nevertheless, a skeptical feeling remains.

Because even the model Tesla loses a good half of its range with its lithium ion batteries. What happens in winter when everything is on the highway? Not unusual in low mountain regions. A night on the highway - almost always on our doorstep. The battery is then quickly empty, the heating stops operating, the load stops and the passenger freezes.

Alternatively a vehicle with range extender?

Black E with a green background. In the future the symbol for SAAB electromobility
Black E with a green background. In the future the symbol for SAAB electromobility

Electromobility is in its infancy, at least with regard to winter operation. Maybe an electric car is more useful than a car sharing model and only for metropolitan areas. Maybe we have to be patient. Or Saab does it under NEVS direction, as Fisker and BMW have shown. The Fisker Karma was a 2 liter turbo direct injection, we know it from the 9-3 Griffin and the 9-5 II, as a stationary engine with under the hood. If required, it delivered the desired energy to the battery in the favorable speed range. An engine could be optionally purchased from the BMW i3. With NEVS-Saab, on the other hand, everything comes down to a pure battery vehicle. Brave - maybe due to the Chinese market and its expectations. I would prefer a vehicle with a range extender as a backup, so to speak.

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The Saab 9-3 EV should be fun to drive like a turbo Saab. We are promised that and I like to believe that. Because electric cars have impressive acceleration values, almost noiseless driving has its charm. The perception of electric cars is currently changing. A Tesla S is a nice looking car, the Fisker Karma (was it) also. The Saab 9-3 would fit into the desirable cars category. An electric car that just looks like a car should look like, not a strangely styled battery vehicle. But how do we see the problem in winter operation? Is the electric car suitable as a first vehicle, or is it a natural second or third car? Or, with the current state of technology, does an electric car only work with an additional combustion engine?

Electric car mobile in winter - yes or no?

Our question: Is the short range acceptable for the daily drive to work in winter, does it fit into our daily movement schedule? Or is only a solution with an additional range extender conceivable? Or is the electric car simply not an option at its current stage of development? The opinion of our readers is in demand!

Electric car in winter, is that possible?

  • Yes, but only with Range Extender (58% 232 Votes)
  • No, do not feel like adventures (27% 109 Votes)
  • Yes, no problem - my ways are short enough (15% 59 Votes)

Total Voters: 400

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Images: (2), Beijing National Battery Technology (1)



23 thoughts on "Survey. Electromobility in winter?"

  • This Autobild cold test cannot be taken 100% seriously because the test conditions are not mentioned anywhere. Whether the test was carried out at -5 or -20 degrees should play a significant role, as well as whether the test was taken away from the socket or whether the batteries were completely cold at the beginning ... well.
    That electric mobility in the current state of development (and in this country) can not replace a first car with conventional drive should actually be clear. The more I wonder that in some comments on the e-cars is knocked.
    As mentioned above, there are fortunately still the long-lived Alt-SAABs, which are on long journeys anyway at home.

    • @MMB

      It is exactly like that. For my daily journeys, today's electric car is definitely enough and on long journeys there is nothing like an old SAAB - we probably all have them here.
      In addition, you do not have to burn the Alt-SAABs on short distances, but an electric car that does not need to be warmed up is much better.

  • On vehicles with battery operation many questions are still unresolved. The directly visible are still reach and load time, plus other open points. This is how the catalog looks like:
    - Range
    - loading time
    - Peripheral infrastructure (stations / maintenance)
    - Lifespan
    - Disposal
    - Supply for manufacturing (raw materials)
    - Providing enough electricity

    So today you can still use an electric car very limited and the benefits to the environment is no better than in today's technically good vehicles. Therefore, NEVS is doing well with their strategy of offering both engine variants. Just what the market demands.

  • Hello Lukas ,
    I've already thought of such a Twizy. Is not synonymous of the purchase more expensive than other small cars. But can you drive in the winter at all if the thing has no heating, blower for the windows or Other things you just need in winter? I think so far I've never seen a Twizy that has doors, that's just that temple. A little more weather protection would surely be helpful.

    • Hello Peter
      In addition to the purchase, the operation is also very cheap. There is no fan or the like. In order to prevent the windscreen from misting up, however, a window heater (with fine "heating wires") is installed. This only runs for a short time and is very efficient. The half wing doors are optional, but recommended. Retrofittable "side windows" are available as accessories. After we went through the first winter without windows (it was really cold, but NOT wet), such windows were purchased for this winter. The benefit is very great. Thanks to the good weight distribution, the handling is ok even in snow (it can be easily “caught” again if it breaks away).

  • Electromobility - that's my topic again, as the official "E-Mobility Project Manager" at KViP mbH:

    We can also confirm from our electric buses that cold weather performance is lower. But we could not say that the difference is so dramatic!
    But that may also be due to the combination with a very effective air conditioning heating system:
    Our buses have a heat pump system that cools very effectively in summer and provides very good heating in winter. By the way, our battery system is the same as with SAAB!
    Lithium iron phosphate - these batteries have the advantage that they do not require additional cooling, as they are always a maximum of 10 ° C warmer than their ambient temperature.

    I still think the electric mobility is brilliant, but would always prefer a variant with range extender for the variability, in order to be able to drive longer distances,

    Because if I drive electric SAAB at some point, then I would like to do that on vacation!
    On the way stop with range extender and at the resort then again electrically.

    Going on vacation with any other make would not be so good ...

  • We have been driving a Renault Twizy for the second year now. This for commuting to work (approx. 50km). In winter it does not lose much of its range because it has no heating or other consumers. So it is a good 60 km with a sporty driving style. Although this is not a brilliant achievement, it is completely okay for a “city car”.
    In my opinion, electric drives have mainly made sense in small, light vehicles so far. So if you don't need a fully-fledged “first car”, you can drive well with the Twizy. The comfortable SAAB driving is all the more fun afterwards. 🙂

  • It is my great concern that NEVS will spoil itself and come onto the market too early. Even at normal temperatures, the Tesla range only applies to extremely cautious driving and drops below 200 km when driving at high speed. In fact, the battery technology is simply not enough. I have now intentionally left out the “still” that I would have added earlier, because in the 6 years since I've been pursuing the topic there have been a lot of research approaches and interesting technological ideas, but nothing has happened in the product area. And as long as there are no breakthroughs there, it will remain a niche product that may still be left behind by fuel cell vehicles. They currently seem to be ahead in the research area. NEVS definitely has to remain flexible and should also keep an eye on plug-in hybrids such as the Ampera.

    • I agree with you - maybe they are planning a hybrid solution for the next generation of models - I would be for it 😉

      • Regarding the “Phoenix” generation, I'm excited anyway. It is supposed to consist of flexible modules, like the Scania trucks. But does that also include the possibility of storing large numbers of batteries? It was not without reason that Tesla used a sandwich base to cleverly distribute the batteries.

  • Electric cars where they fit.
    Short stretches in the city area with manageable loading times.

    Otherwise: a purely electric 93 or even 95 with the weight and the assistance systems: Spielkram !!

    Fisker does what he can do (technically, not priced).

    By the way: develop well diligently, dear battery industry. And politicians should finally stop blowing hot air. They really do not want electromobility at all. Petroleum tax (and toll) is a cool business. !!!

    Well - let's see what is in 20 years…. ;-))

    • Oh, do not worry, there comes in time for a mobility flow tax.

  • An electric car is at least as a first (main) car for me in the summer and winter unimaginable. The range in winter is ridiculous and not much better in summer. I booked before Christmas and will go on vacation in the summer with my 9-3 station wagon to Corsica. With such a Akkuschlürfer unimaginable. My commute is 1,5 Km. Since that would be something else but there are then other much cheaper alternative for the city as an expensive Tesla or Saab. But regret has to happen to me very much in order to get excited about electric mobility.

  • So at the moment I think all the e-mobiles are a first approach, but only for a limited circle of users. Since you have to think about the purchase really well. (eg within or outskirts) with low driving profile.

    But I think that in some years, especially in the field of batteries, there are still some improvements that will significantly improve the problem and then I think in winter times ne range of 200 km (at minus temperatures) can achieve. If I then extrapolated for the summer I think so 400 to 500 km range and would be so then I think for 90% quite useful.

    I see the problem rather in our thorough bureaucracy, which can not even put up signs for e-filling stations on the highway, because there is still no uniform symbol. E-gas stations on the street may be parked because not regulated. I think the problems are easier, but the elimination is probably much more complicated.

    Greeting Ded2

  • An electric SAAB cabriolet, that might be it. Or a sonnet, Tesla used to do that on Lotus. But commuting daily is not possible and the uncertainty factor would be too high for me. Bring us a convertible, dear Swedes, and I think about it

    • we think at the moment too, an e-cab for the local and fun traffic. For overland, there is still the gasoline or LPG Saabe. Maybe you should not think so black and white! There are regions in the world where it's never below 0 degrees and the sun shines longer and more intense. But for me the concept of Fisker and BMW would be better because safer Varinate. And in 5-10 years, we'll see where the development went.

  • I trust on NEVS. The rush hour traffic in Beijing is not without. I think they know what they are doing.
    But they also provide an e-charging station network ... wait and see

  • As long as no ranges are possible as in normal combustion cars and summer and winter it is not an option for me. I live in the countryside and do not want to search all 50km for a socket where I have to load 4 hours. Range Extender is already more burners like electric.

  • Take a normal e-car with a reasonable battery air conditioning, cooling in summer heat in winter, one operates the heating not electrically, but maybe with a small very effective burner, on E85 or E100 basis, et voila, most winter problems are snow of Yesterday. In a traffic jam, the engine consumes nothing and so an alcohol burner can endure a few hours with an 5l tank.

    I am surprised that the Zoé concludes so badly, where the Kangoo in Austria is supplied with auxiliary heating (maybe as an extra).

    Electric vehicles will never replace 100% combustion engines, but we will have to narrow down our limitless private transport.

    • It's funny that this simple solution doesn't play a role in the public discussion, but also in the construction. Almost every house is "operated" with electricity as well as with a liquid fuel.

      • AFAIK, engineers would offer these simple solutions, but the marketing departments are currently defending themselves, according to the motto; Customers do not want to go to the (traditional) gas station with an e-car.

        • Yes, why the small heaters are so ignored by the e-car industry so far, I do not understand. In the yacht and camping area, the things are running and many diesel also have additional heaters. Electric heating from the battery is not very effective.
          The fuel (E100) could also be purchased in canisters, without gas station.
          Then an electric car in traffic would have minimal power consumption.

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