Tesla Model 3 owner Dan Kanninen writes, “I'm grateful that I was driving my EV when I got stuck on I-95.” We appreciate his precise use of words since it's not just Tesla's vehicles that will fare better than gas cars in such a situation, but virtually all electric cars.
Several media publications have published recent reports about people being stranded on Virginia's I-95 freeway. Following the reports, some people started a misinformation campaign stating that if EV owners had been stuck on the freeway, they would have been "left out in the cold" when the battery quickly died.
We've already published an article debunking such nonsense. In addition, several people in the Tesla and EV community have put out articles and videos to prove that the misinformation isn't just wrong, but the exact opposite is actually true.
A gas-powered car will almost certainly run out of gas sooner than an EV will die from its battery fully discharging, though there are obviously many variables involved, such as how much gas is in the tank, the EV battery's state of charge, etc. Regardless, as the ICE owner sits and waits in their car, they're parked on top of dangerous exhaust fumes, which could cause health issues. Kanninen shared:
"No, the recent nightmare on Virginia’s I-95 would not have been worse if everyone had been driving electric vehicles instead of gas-powered vehicles. In fact, everyone would have had a far better experience if they had been driving an EV."
Kanninen points to the recent Washington Post op-ed that claims EVs may "have littered the highway for miles” if everyone was driving electric cars during such a traffic backup. However, Kanninen was stuck on I-95 for 14 hours in his Model 3 Standard Range as he watched ICE drivers burning gas to keep the cars running. Meanwhile, his Model 3 wasn't really "running" per se, but just using the battery pack to keep the cabin warm.
When an EV is parked, it doesn't "run" or idle like a gas car. It's similar to when you turn a gas car off but leave the accessories on so you can listen to music. However, in a gas car, leaving the accessories on doesn't typically provide heat to the cabin. The engine must be running to do that, and while it's running, it's cranking out toxic exhaust fumes, which are supposed to be left behind the car as it moves.
If a gas car isn't moving, those fumes tend to collect around the car and it can begin to smell inside the vehicle. If you can smell the fumes, you'd better bet they're entering your body and causing potential health problems. Sadly, if you're an EV owner stranded near a bunch of idling gas cars, you're also subject to those same noxious fumes, but that's beside the point here. If all the cars were EVs, that problem would cease to exist.
Kanninen goes on to share that he didn't have to worry about wondering when he might run out of gas. Instead, he had a clear indication at all times of how much battery capacity was remaining. He also noted that since he charges his car at home, he hit the road with a full charge.
There's a very good chance many gas-powered cars didn't get stuck in the situation with a topped-off tank of gas. While it's quite common to charge an EV often and keep the state of charge on the higher side, especially in colder weather, gas car owners commonly wait to fill up their tanks until they're getting low on fuel. In other words, it would arguably be uncommon for a gas car owner to pull into a gas station every day after each commute to make sure their car is topped off.
As an aside, the Model 3 owner also wrote about the long lines at gas stations after the incident was over, as well as the fact that EVs can handle flood conditions much better than gas cars. To read Kanninen's article in its entirety, follow the source link below.