It turns out, an electric car can be an asset in frigid winter weather.
Yes, EVs lose range in cold climates. Yes, we've reported on many owner problems with some electric cars in freezing temperatures. However, as CBC reports, some Yukon-based EV owners are very satisfied with their electric vehicles, despite frigid temps and difficult conditions. Regardless of expected range loss, these cars start immediately and easily, as well as offering enough range to suffice for many drivers.
CBC talked to Tesla Model 3 owner Mike Simon. He lives in the Yukon and deals with temps as low as -40C. While there are no dealerships in the Yukon that sell EVs, interested candidates can travel to areas like Vancouver to buy them. Simon shared:
I am quite pleased with it. It has started and it runs in all temperatures. You don't get any ugly engine noises in the morning, it just starts rolling.
I'd recommend to get a battery that is twice the range of your daily commute just to be on the safe side. For me, it's more than I need for my daily commute for sure.
If you live in an area with a relatively cold climate and can't splurge for a Model 3, the Nissan LEAF may be a good option. Of course, it doesn't have active thermal management. However, that's an issue that impacts owners in warm climates. For this reason, the LEAF is known to be a fantastic and inexpensive EV option for those that don't deal with really hot temperatures.
The new 2018 Nissan LEAF offers a respectable range (151 miles), and a longer range version is on the way with a 226-mile range. However, Yukon-based owner Shane Andre owns a used 2012 LEAF. Its range of about 80 km in cold weather is still adequate for his needs, and the car is reliable. He tells CBC:
... you might not go out to the hot springs on a cold day. I do have to drive it every day. It needs to be able to get me to work and I need to be able to pick up my kids from school.
It starts fine. As long as it's plugged in overnight, it'll charge the battery. I also have a timer that warms up the interior of the car before I leave, so it's nice and toasty.
There are only 12 battery-electric vehicles registered in Yukon, and the area offers only two charging stations. So, it makes sense that some people in the region have decided to purchase hybrids and PHEVs. CBC talked to the Gilgans -- a retired couple in Whitehorse -- who own a 2018 Toyota Prius Prime. Its 40 km range works just fine for their needs, even when reduced by cold weather. Gordon Gilgan said:
We've driven the car just over 1,600 kilometres and we've put no gas in it.
Because we're travelling in the winter, we always wear outdoor clothing. There's no need to heat the cabin to room temperature. All we need is to make sure the windows are clear for winter driving. The heated seats and steering wheel do make it comfortable for winter driving.
In the end, all the contention about electric vehicles and cold weather is disproved by these cases. Sure, as with any car, it has to suit your lifestyle. It must offer enough range for your daily commute, etc. But, in the end, to say that an EV is not suitable for anyone in cold climates is pure hogwash.